SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) – June 2006


Message from the President – Grace Sheldon-Williams, President
It has been my pleasure and privilege to serve as your President.  I am extremely grateful for all the wonderful, hard-working individuals who have volunteered their time and expertise to make our organization run smoothly for the benefit of all of us (and our students!).  My sincere thanks to:

Past President Mark Henson, for being my role model and mentor.  (Thanks for the all great notebooks telling me how to do everything!)

Executive Vice-President Chris Hall, for your cheerfulness.  Chris also wins the prize for driving the farthest to board meetings and most other SCVA events.

Secretary Veronica Rosales, for being an AWESOME first-year teacher and SCVA Board Member at the same time.  Very impressive!!

Newsletter Editor Karen Bluel, for your invaluable support--I couldn’t have done this job without you.  Karen also served as secretary before Veronica came on board.

Treasurer Carolyn Kelley, for stepping up to the plate in magnificent fashion…you are a God-send!  Thanks also to Randi Carp, who served as treasurer prior to Carolyn.

Membership Chair Shawn Taylor, who wins the prize for being on the board longer than anyone, even me!  Thanks for all your years of service, Shawn.

Sr. High Honor Choir Co-Chair Kathy Cobb-Woll, for working tirelessly on a very difficult, time-consuming and often thankless job.  Kathy was also secretary in a prior life (are you beginning to see a pattern here?).  We’ll miss your smile, Kathy, but we know you’ll enjoy your retirement!

Sr. High Honor Choir Co-Chair Rich Brunner, for diving into the job with energy, great skill, and—perhaps most importantly—a sense of humor.  Thank goodness you’re still going to be around!

Jr. High/Middle School Honor Choir Chair Tony Azeltine, who has also done an outstanding job.  Thank you for ALL you have done for SCVA over the years, Tony.  Thank you also to Past President Debbie Montpas, who returned to the board to chair this event, bringing on Charlene Archibeque to  conduct, no less!!

Sr. High Festival Chair Jennifer Stanley, the most persistent person I know.  I think everyone should join the SCVA board just so they can experience Jennifer’s wit.  Thanks for your inimitable sense of humor, skill and tirelessness, Jennifer.

Jr. High Festival Chairs Linda Nason and Laurie Hancock.  Laurie took over the job from Linda, who was secretary for awhile.  Then Laurie moved and Linda took the festival job back.  Thanks to you both for your hard work and cheerful outlook, even during festival season!

Young Men’s Clinic Chair Ron Soderwall, who has revitalized this event and always contributes eloquently to our meetings.

Vocal Solo Competition Chair Rodger Guerrero, who is a superb addition to our board.  I truly admire Rodger’s “grace under fire” (and I should know!).  Thanks also to Rodger’s predecessor Colleen Kennedy.

Show Choir Festival Chair Tammi Alderman, who brings fabulous new energy and insight to the board.  Tammi is one of my heroes (even though she’s MUCH younger than I am!).  Thanks also to Erin Terreri, who capably handled this event before Tammi.

Jazz Choir Chair Matt Falker, who was a real “find” for us.  Thank you, Matt, for organizing two outstanding Jazz Festivals while juggling multiple teaching jobs at both the collegiate and high school level!

Webmaster/SPEBSQSA Liaison Mark Freedkin, who always responds to e-mails faster than anyone!  Our deep thanks for ALL you have done and continue to do for SCVA, Mark, with both the Young Men’s Clinic/Festival and with our many tech needs.

Add to these current board members all of the other amazing people I have worked with and learned from during my 10 years on the board.  All I can say is…THANK YOU, EVERYONE!!


Rich Brunner, VP of High School Choirs

In an effort to get the information to your kids for over the summer and to help prepare your school calendar, the following information is confirmed for next fall’s High School Honor Choir:

Audition, Rehearsal & Performance Dates
September 15, 2006 (Friday)                           Deadline for Applications; THIS IS A HARD DEADLINE!
                                                                        The application will be available on line as of August 15th

September 30, 2006 (Saturday)                        First Audition Day (locations TBA)

October 7, 2006 (Saturday)                             Second Audition Day (locations TBA)

October 16, 2006 (Monday)                            Students Notified of Acceptance

October 28, 2006 (Saturday)                           First REHEARSAL (location TBA)

November 17 & 18, 2006 (Fri & Sat)              HONOR CHOIR WEEKEND (all day both days)

Mixed Honor Choir Director                             Dr. Jonathan Talberg CSU-Long Beach

Women’s Honor Choir Director                        Dr. Anne Hamre CSU-Fresno

Men’s Honor Choir                                          Dr. David Weiller University of Nevada Las Vegas

Currently, what is not confirmed is the location of the First Rehearsal and the Honor Choir weekend.  The November 17 & 18 concert weekend is tentatively set for Alhambra High School in Alhambra.

Audition Locations Needed!
I have confirmed a number of locations for the auditions, but I still need another school or two in Southern Orange County and one more along the “west bank” between Long Beach and Santa Monica.  Please contact me ASAP if you can fill a void for me.

Adjudicators Needed!
I will need approximately 85 adjudicators for the two audition weekends.  I have confirmations for about a dozen directors who have agreed to adjudicate and I would love to hear from 73 more by the end of June.  Email me or call me ASAP to tell me which weekend works for you.  I promise to get you to an audition site as close to your home as possible!

Several years ago I put together this sheet to help prepare my students for the Honor Choir Auditions.  I give it to my singers in June WITH A COPY OF ONE OF THE 24 ITALIAN SONGS AND ARIAS before they leave for the summer and mail it to them, again, in late August before school starts.  Obviously, you can use whatever language works for you, but the point is to demystify the information for them and not expect them to process it all in the two or three weeks between when school starts and when the auditions occur.

HONOR CHOIR AUDITIONEES - Please read this carefully.

Here is the breakdown of what you need to know for Honor Choir auditions:


1. The judges will ask you to vocalize (when you do this, sing fully and don’t apologize if your voice cracks, etc…)  They are only trying to determine whether you are a SI or SII, AI or AII,  TI or TII, BI or BII.

2. You will sing your song accompanied by a tape, cd or a live accompanist you provide.  What they are looking for a is performance, so sing fully and warmly and use some facial expression when you sing.  Often that makes a big difference for the judges.  Again, don’t apologize if you make a mistake, just keep going.

3. The judges will give you a note and ask you to sing:
A MAJOR SCALE starting on that note.  Sopranos and Tenors will get an Eb; Altos and Basses will get a C.  You can use Do Re Mi Fa…or 1 2 3 4…or just sing doo doo doo…
A MAJOR TRIAD starting on that note.  Use Do Mi Sol Mi Do
A MINOR TRIAD starting on that note.  Use Do Meh Sol Meh Do
A CHROMATIC SCALE starting on that note.  Use solfege or “Ma-ry had a lit-tle lamb….”

4. The judges will play five notes for you and you will sing them back on a neutral syllable.
I have attached some examples for practice, though you will not get to see what you’re singing at the audition.

5. They will give you a sheet to look at with some sight reading.
They will give you the first note and the tonic triad and give you 2 minutes to look at it.
USE THE TIME!  No extra points are awarded for going fast!
As you review the sheet, look for triads, patterns and accidentals.
There will be one in a higher key for Sopranos and Tenor and a lower one for Altos and Basses
Use solfege, numbers, doo doo doo…whatever is comfortable.
I attached a few examples for practice.



Jennifer Stanley, VP of High School Festivals

“Hosting a festival is so easy, I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner!”
            Joel Whisler, El Monte HS Choral Director

It is never too early to start planning for festival season!  We have been working to make the festival process easier for everyone, especially festival hosts.  Whether you are the director of an elementary, middle school or high school choir, there are many reasons to consider hosting a festival:

- The registration form is easy.
- You get free festival registration for one of your choirs at each festival you host.
- You don’t have to get a bus to go to festival.
- You provide schools in your area a quality performance opportunity.
- You and your students get to see other choirs and hear quality literature.
- Your students have the comfort and familiarity of performing in their regular auditorium (home court advantage!).
- Students enjoy the responsibility of assisting in the running of the festival.
- You get excellent networking opportunities with other directors in the festival, and with the adjudicators.
- SCVA will provide for each festival host
- A list of participating choirs with contact information for each director
- Plaques delivered to your school for each participating ensemble
- Certified adjudicators scheduled for each festival by SCVA

A regular festival has eight participating choirs and two adjudicators. One adjudicator tapes his/her comments, and the other writes comments on the score sheet.  Both adjudicators’ scores are averaged to determine the rating (if desired by each director).  If you would like to host a clinic festival, please indicate that on your form; a clinic festival has a maximum of six participating choirs and one adjudicator.  After each choir performs, the adjudicator works with the ensemble onstage.  SCVA may convert a regular festival to a clinic festival if there is low enrollment.

If you are interested in hosting an ELEMENTARY FESTIVAL, or if you have questions about elementary festivals, please email me!

Festival Host Application


Mark Freedkin – Barbershop Harmony Society Liaison

Over 200 young men from 26 high schools, junior high schools and middle schools participated in the sixth annual Young Men’s Harmony Festival at Orange Coast College, sponsored by the Masters of Harmony and the Barbershop Harmony Society (SPEBSQSA).  Although the songs selected for this year’s festival were a little more challenging than previous years, the young men worked hard and put on a great performance.  Based on feedback from the choral directors who attended the event, we will make some minor refinements to ensure that future festivals continue to provide a peak musical experience for your young male singers.  We have not yet identified a date or location for next year’s young men’s festival, but that information should be available soon.

 For the first time, young women also had their own event, sponsored by the Harborlites Chorus (2004-2005 Sweet Adelines International Chorus Champions).  The women’s event, known as “Diva Day 2006” was attended by over 180 young women, followed the structure of the young men’s event but adapted for young women (including full choreography for the song “When I’m Sixty-Four” adapted to the barbershop style).  The SCVA Executive Board approved making this event an official SCVA activity, and plans are already underway for next year’s festival on Saturday, February 3, 2007.

Be sure to check the SCVA website for more information about both of these festivals


Mark Freedkin – SCVA Webmaster

The PayPal interface on the SCVA website provides secure processing of electronic payments, as an alternative to getting a cashier's check or a school check. You can use this service to pay for any SCVA event, and that your private credit card account information is never divulged to me or any member of the SCVA leadership.  Instead, the only information we receive is your name, your e-mail address, the item that you purchased, the amount that you paid, the amount of the handling fee that is charged by PayPal, and any event-specific information (such as "School Name and Singer's Name").

Although the caption for that item appears as "Optional Message To Seller", always enter that event-specific information at the bottom of the page in which you enter your credit card account number and expiration date, below the visual "security measure" item.  Doing so will help us to maintain accurate accounting records when we transfer the funds electronically from PayPal into our bank account.

Please also be sure to print out and include the confirmation e-mail message along with your application for the SCVA event.

Please contact me if you ever have any questions or problems regarding the PayPal interface.


Rodger Guerroero, VP- Vocal Solo

Congratulations to this year’s Vocal Solo Competition winners, who performed at the Jr. High/Middle School Honor Choir Concert on Sunday May 7, 2006:

- Jr. High/Middle School Winner – Kara Sainz (8), James L. Day Middle School
- 6th place – Andrew Karl (10), Oak Park High School
- 5th place – Jake Rude (10), Fullerton Union High School
- 4th place – Alize Rozsnyai (11), Rancho Bernardo High School
- 3rd place – Cassandra Negrete (12), Fullerton Union High School
- 2nd place – Anna Schubert (11), Fullerton Union High School
- 1st place – Zach Appel (12), Harvard-Westlake School

It has been a distinct privilege finishing Colleen Kennedy’s term as the SCVA Vice President in charge of the Vocal Solo Competition this year.  I have learned much about scheduling and organizing, acquired a broader knowledge of the voice through my observation of the adjudicators, and most importantly, I have gained great respect and admiration for all of the participating singers!  Yet I could not have survived without the splendid help willingly offered by my H-W accompanist, Mark Hilt or the sage advice Colleen Kennedy provided throughout the process (as well as her invaluable help at the semi-finals!). Thanks to both of you!

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation to the preliminary round site hosts for their time and superb efforts: Melanie Alpert, Alta Loma School District (who hosted a double-site!); Tammi Alderman, Crescenta Valley High School; Sandra Cupp, Niguel Hills Middle School; Scott Hedgecock, Fullerton Union High School; and Heather Gold, Manhattan Beach Middle School.  Special thanks go to Mark Hilt (again!) and the Santa Monica First Presbyterian Church for providing the semi-final round facilities. Finally, thank you to Tony Azeltine, VP for the Jr High/Middle School Honor Choir, for organizing the performance for the finalists on May 7 and Alhambra High School for hosting the event.

I was extremely impressed by the work of our fine adjudicators!  I received many emails and letters confirming their informative and appropriate adjudication as well as their passion and enthusiasm.  These outstanding clinicians included: Monika Bruckner, Catherine Card, Rhonda Dillon, Gina Graziadio, Maria Lazarova, and Lori Marie Rios in the preliminary round; and Robin Frey-Monell and Christian Nova in the semi-final round.  Thanks to all of you!

Although my term is now finished, I will remain wholly dedicated to next year’s Vocal Solo Competition.  This is because I am confident that my students will continue to musically and educationally benefit from the experience.  I am positive that the growth incurred will continue to be significant for all of the participants and life-altering for many.  I know next year that new friends will be made, eyes opened, musical minds expanded, and hearts enriched.

My only regret this year is that many conductors and their students completely missed out on the above-described Vocal Solo Competition experience.  Every singer deserves this kind of learning opportunity.  It’s well worth the effort!  I can only hope that this year’s participants will spread the news about their positive experiences so that others will feel empowered to participate. 

So c’mon conductors, get involved!  Get your singers involved!  Believe me, you won’t regret it!


Mark Henson, Past President

It’s time to assemble the next SCVA Executive Board.  Serving the membership is a rewarding experience, and we are happy to welcome to new faces to the board.  Any member interested in a board position should call or email me by June 15.  Also, feel free to suggest members who you would like me to contact.  Once our slate of candidates is complete, we will present a ballot to the membership for your votes.

Thank you so much for your enthusiasm toward SCVA’s events.  I hope you are all looking forward to a relaxing summer!


Other Important Information
SCVA Membership Application