SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) - June 2002

President's Message - Kenneth Tuttle
Another year has somehow passed by, and it hardly seems possible! Have we really already had all those concerts, attended all those festivals and competitions, gone on all those trips, and learned all that music? Whew! Our sense of accomplishment and success is tempered by the fact that we are saying goodbye to students, fellow faculty members, and to colleagues. Sometimes it's to all three. I'm having one of those 'generational' shifts in the choral program at Redlands HS this year. I'm bidding a fond farewell to many seniors this year, most of who have been in the program for three or four years. It's hard to realize these kids are moving on to the next phase of their lives. I hope they remember their love of singing, and keep at it in some form or another. I'm saying goodbye to our band director and drama teacher this year as well, as they make positive choices for the next phase of their lives. Other teachers are retiring as well, changing the landscape at our school. After 24 years in secondary choral music education, I am used to these changes happening, but each year, when they do happen, I am still saddened to say goodbye. I know that is a selfish emotion. For the students, I am excited they are going on to become the great adults I can see in their potential. For the fellow teachers, I'm excited that new opportunities have presented themselves to them. But it is hard to say goodbye to people that you care about, who have become your extended family. Whether it is our school choir family (singers and booster parents), or our faculty community family, it's hard to say goodbye. I wish them all God's speed into the future.

It's also hard to say goodbye to colleagues who have worked along side me to serve the Southern California Vocal Association these last two years. We have all striven to do our best in serving our greater choral music family, and, mostly, we have come through with flying colors! We all owe a debt of gratitude to Grace, Randi, and Mark for great honor choirs this year; to Michael and Erin for great competitions; to Taryn and Lori Mari for a great slate of festivals to attend; to Mark for coordinating our great adjudicators; to Scott for stepping in and running a great solo competition; Jason for a great men's clinic; and to Mary for a great fall in-service! These volunteers have provided us all with opportunities to give to our students valuable choral music experiences. THANK YOU! They could not have succeeded without the help and volunteering of scores of our membership colleagues, who provided venues, audition expertise, and in other ways served our community. THANK YOU TOO!

Special thanks are extended to Sheri Nelson, who stepped in last year to bring our financial house to order. Thanks to Mark Freedkin for his enthusiastic contribution and web-wizardry! Thanks to Kathy and Shawn for their work. And major personal thanks to Mary Purdy, for her advice and wisdom, and for the many years of service she has given to SCVA. She is leaving the board, but I know she will still be participating in SCVA activities and being a positive part of the SoCal choral community.

My tenure as president comes to an end this spring as well. What a privilege it has been to represent the SoCal choral community and family! I am humbled by the great people I have gotten to know and work with. When there seemed to be no one else ready or willing, I fearlessly stepped into the leadership of this organization two years ago. I have learned a lot, not only from my board colleagues, but also from the imput of the general membership. I have done my best to continue the mission of SCVA, that is, to help provide service and opportunity to students and teachers, and to promote the growth of choral music education here in our greater community. Thank you to everyone for your support and patience! I am so proud to be a part of this great SoCal choral community!

Your new executive board, under the leadership of Mark Henson, looks to be an unbeatable team of talented professionals who will enhance and improve the role of SCVA in the coming year. Mark, we all know, is incredibly organized. His talented groups reflect his own gifted musical abilities and sense of humor! With your imput and support, he will be an awesome leader for our organization!

Finally, I assume the role of Past President, which means I will be organizing the Fall In-service in October. If you have any suggestions as to possible interest sessions to offer, or would like to have your ensemble perform in an interest session, please contact me. Have a great and relaxing summer! See you in the fall!


Senior High School Festivals - Lori Marie Rios
As I write my very last journal letter I am reminded about how fast time goes by. It has been a wonderful and stressful two years as Festival Coordinator of SCVA. I have established some wonderful and new friendships with colleagues that I truly respect. My hope is that through the experience of seeing our peers, not only our kids' peers, but ours as well, we discover a sense that we all still have a lot to learn. There is always someone's work that I would applaud and acknowledge as great work. So, thank you all for being vulnerable to put you and your choirs on stage.

Festivals are a great way for our choirs to learn from each other. This year we had 130 choirs participate in a Southern California Vocal Association Festivals.

I would like to thank the following hosts for the 2002 festival season.

Dean Aamodt - Temecula Valley High School
Dr. Sheridan Ball - Cypress College
Kelley Bell - Fallbrook High School
Randi Carp - Los Alamitos High School
Dr. Tamara Craver - Cal. State Univ. San Bernardino
Karen Garrett - Santiago High School
William Moore - Duarte High School
Melva Morrison - Jurupa Valley High School
Mike Reisig - Thousand Oaks High School
Joseph Schubert - Western High School
Nancy Schwartz - Montebello High School
Grace Sheldon-Williams - Glendale High School
Richard Steffan - Riverside Poly High School

I would like to ask that if you have done your calendars for the 2002/2003-auditorium season that you schedule and send and festival host forms to me this summer. That way we can start getting festival information out sooner.
This will also help the person taking over the new position an easier transition. If you have any ideas about making the festival season run more smoothly please send me a letter this summer with your ideas.

Once again, it has been a true pleasure working for SVCA. I have learned so much and have made new lasting friendships.

Have a great summer! Relax and Rejuvinate!


SCVA Junior High / Middle School Festivals - Taryn Koch, JH/MS Festival VP

Thank you to each of the many hosts and participants of this year's JH/MS festivals! So far (we're still in the midst of the season), you've provided each other's students with fabulous musical experiences. Your dedication and hard work pay off!

I also want to thank each and every one of you who participated in a sight-singing workshop. This is a new component to the SCVA JH/MS festivals. It is simply meant to be a fun way to encourage sight singing in our middle schools - especially since it is part of some high school festival adjudications! I hope you had an opportunity to enjoy one of these workshops. As with any new idea, there are always ways to build on and improve a concept. If your festival offered a sight-singing workshop, please let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement. I'm sure your feedback will prove invaluable!

As I reflect on this year's festival season, I want to encourage you to look forward to next year's season. This year, there was more demand for festivals than we were able to meet. However, March and April festival dates were hard to book while May dates were in high demand. Of course, the influencing factor was testing. My principal recently announced that, once again, the state has given us a window of time during which all testing has to take place for the 2002-2003 school year. Since now is the time that many of us are calendaring next year's events, why not consider hosting an SCVA festival and getting it on the school calendar early? There are many advantages - no bus fees…one group sings for free…. Just remember to look into your school's testing dates as you plan ahead.

Finally, I want to thank you for allowing me to serve as the JH/MS festival coordinator for the last two years. I've enjoyed my tenure - especially as I've been able to get to know so many you. You are an incredible and inspiring group of music educators. I know that my job never would have been completed if it hadn't been for your expertise and hard work! Thank you!


Mixed Honor Choir - Randi Carp, Vice-President

Dear Colleagues,

As you are just beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, anticipating sandy beaches and lovely days of sleeping in, I'm going to bombard you with information for the fall! Feel free to set it aside or jump on it now, whichever you prefer. The important thing is to look at the following dates and make sure you and your students are aware of them so you don't inadvertently create any conflicts.

Here are the dates to put on your calendar:
AUDITIONS: Sat. Sept. 28th, Sat. Oct. 5th ((See application for sites)
FIRST REHEARSAL: Sat. Nov. 2nd, Los Alamitos HS, Los Alamitos, CA
HONOR CHOIR WEEKEND: Fri. Nov. 15th, Sat. Nov. 16th
HONOR CHOIR CONCERT: Sat. Nov. 16th, 8:00pm.

As of this moment, the venue has yet to be finalized. The guest director, however, are set in place. We are proud to announce that the Women's Honor Choir will be directed by Dr. Josh Haberman of San Francisco State University, and the Mixed Honor Choir will be directed by Dr. Bruce Mayhall, director of the Los Angeles Gay Men's Chorus.

You will be receiving an Honor Choir newsletter early in the summer, similar to last year's packet. Please be sure to read it and refresh your memory regarding guidelines, rules, deadlines, preparation for auditions and dates. This will ensure a smooth audition process and a fulfilling experience for your students.

Finally, there are jobs to be filled! If you have any interest in 1) adjudicating auditions, 2) leading the rehearsal on Nov. 2nd, 3) accompanying a rehearsal, 4) leading a sectional, or 5) helping in any other way, please let me know! You can reach me anytime through e-mail at:


Elementary Festivals - Betsy Hanger, Vice-President

Thanks to the many of you who helped clarify the needs of elementary choirs during this school year; I enjoyed our phone calls and emails. Since it was my first year in this position, I needed a lot of guidance, about calendar, location, and the style of festivals that suit your needs. I apologize for the paucity of this past year's offerings in your geographic area: we are a very widespread group! For February, March, and April of 2003 I hope that SCVA will offer four elementary festivals, in the following key geographic areas:

West San Fernando Valley
San Gabriel Valley

I will need festival hosts in these areas to come forward this summer so we can coordinate well and early, avoiding test dates and spring vacations! My hope is that each elementary festival will have a clinician to work with the children; these are low-key, not adjudicated events. The children need to see themselves as singers, co-operating with one another, not in competition with other schools and ensembles. A clinician can offer you wonderful feedback and reinforce the concepts you want your singers to learn.

The one SCVA elementary festival held this spring, at Westridge School, was attended by Oakwood and Pasadena Polytechnic Schools, plus the host choir. Our clinician, Mrs. Janice Burgoyne from the Los Angeles Childrens' Chorus, offered excellent feedback to the groups.

Please contact me at, or at home (323) 254-5978, to help coordinate the festivals in your area. With your help, we can support each other in our work and help our singers grow. Have a restful and rejuvenating summer!


Barbershop News - Mark Freedkin, SPEBSQSA Representative

Earlier this year, over 200 young men from Southern California high schools gathered together at Servite High School in Anaheim for the second annual Young Men's Harmony Festival, jointly sponsored by SCVA and the Masters of Harmony. Sheet music and voice-dominant practice tapes were distributed a month before the event. On the day of the event, an all-star staff of experienced Barbershop coaches worked with the young men to polish the repertoire of songs arranged in four-part harmony. There were also some surprises along the way, including a rendition of "My Gal Sal" and "Sweet Rosie O'Grady" sung by eight choral directors, thus proving how easy the Barbershop style is to learn!! The young men were well behaved and remained focused on refining their craft throughout the entire day.

In the evening, the young men dressed in red and blue bow ties and cummerbunds (well, that's not all they were wearing...) and prepared to present the results of their efforts to an appreciative audience of parents, families and friends. Then, the Masters of Harmony (four-time International Chorus Champion) provided additional entertainment and demonstrated their craft and dedication to musical excellence. With members ranging in age from 14 to 76, they showed that singing can and should be a life-long recreational activity. Finally, the young men joined the Masters of Harmony on stage for in incredible finale, culminating with "God Bless America" and a standing ovation from the audience.

We were overwhelmed with the positive response that we received from choral directors. We are committed to providing peak musical experiences for young men, and we plan to offer this festival as an annual event. Please contact me if you would be interested in hosting this event in early March, 2003.

The local Barbershop organization will also be hosting our seventh annual "Youth Harmony Camp" on the weekend of June 21-23. This unique event includes an opportunity for young men to learn and sing a number of songs in the Barbershop style, and experience fellowship and camaraderie in a rustic campground setting in the San Bernardino mountains. All materials, accommodations and five meals are included in the cost of only $50 per student, with the balance being underwritten by the Barbershop Harmony Society. Music educators of either gender are also welcome to attend at absolutely no cost, and will learn about how to use the Barbershop style to attract more young men into their choral programs. For more information or to register for the camp, please see the flier at

For choral directors who would like to learn more, we will also be hosting a weekend training school called "Harmony College West" at the University of Redlands on the weekend of July 19-21, 2002. For more information, please contact me or visit