SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) - September 2000

President's Message
Kenneth Tuttle

Welcome to SCVA for 2000-2001! I am honored to be president of this great organization for the next two years! As we enter the 21st century, I am pleased to report to you that SCVA is in sound shape! Last season's activities, from the honor choirs to solo festivals to the choral festivals and clinics, were very successful, and touched many students’ lives (and some director's, too!). We are financially sound as an organization. Membership is up. Sincere thanks to last year's SCVA Board for your hard work and dedication. We all owe Mary Purdy a debt of gratitude for her countless hours of work on behalf of us all through her service to SCVA as president. THANK YOU Mary!

What a super group of people we have on this new SCVA Board! What a variety of talents and experiences they bring to service! They are enthusiastic and positive about their responsibilities and projects. They will provide the organizational skill and know-how needed to present this year's schedule of events. What they need from us is our enthusiastic participation and positive support!

This newsletter contains all of the reasons one would need to be a member of SCVA. Senior High Honor Choirs information immediately needs attention to. Sheri Nelson has provided the guidelines for being involved in this year's wonderful choirs. Our Fall In-Service Workshop looks to be a day of professional growth and camaraderie. Festival Season and the Show-Choir and Jazz Competitions are just ahead around the corner. Please note and save the enclosed calendar of SCVA events for this year! And don't forget that this year's state music teacher's convention, the CMEA/ACDA/SCVA Convention March 8-10, 2001 in Ontario! SCVA continues to be a leader in supporting the working, teaching vocal music educator with great events to experience with other great colleagues, all for our great kids! With your participation, we are all winners! Send in your membership application today!

Finally, I know the entire board will appreciate hearing from the membership for input concerning our organization and its activities. The directory on the back of this newsletter provides the ways to be in touch with us.

I would again like to welcome you to SCVA 2000-2001! I hope to see you at some of our events this year.

High School Honor Choir
Sheri Nelson, Senior High Mixed Honor Choir VP

{still under construction}

Fall In-Service 2000
Mary Purdy, Past President

The Fall In-Service is going to be GREAT!!! I'm very excited about what has been planned! Given your responses to last year's survey, it has been our goal to meet those requests. Practicality is the rule of the day, because I think we all detest going to in-services that have no application to what we do on a daily basis. This in-service is designed to leave you with things that you will be able to use immediately in your classroom. There will be something for every level, including elementary teachers.

On October 20th, we will assemble in the Recital Hall at California State University Northridge. The first item of the day will be a discussion of tone quality in the choral rehearsal. Dr. Ron Kean, former ACDA Western Division President, will be presenting a pertinent (don't forget practical) session. From there, we will be divided into groups to rotate to three separate interest sessions. Karen Garrett, former SCVA Honor Choir Vice President, will present a workshop on sight-reading in the choral classroom. Dr. Dan Hosken, computer teacher and guru at Cal-State University Northridge, will present a "hands-on" computer workshop designed for many different computer skills. The third session will highlight students from CSUN who will present their version of the "Backpack Opera". Under the supervision of Mary Schliff, these students will demonstrate how an opera can be created using only things found in a backpack. Performances by the CSUN Northridge Singers and an SPEBSQSA barbershop quartet will also highlight the day. The final session of the day will be an adjudicator's certification workshop to qualify perspective festival adjudicators.

Be sure to save the date of October 20th. This will be a day of learning, visiting with peers, and gathering new ideas for your choirs. Look for more information in the October Newsletter. Send in your registration now. Please note that all registrations must be returned by October 5th, so that we can plan accordingly. Remember to renew your membership, because only current members may attend. No on-site registrations will be accepted. Come to the Fall In-Service! You will be glad that you did.

Show Choir Festival 2001
Ron Soderwall, Show Choir Vice-President

Mark your calendar now so that you'll have the date of March 24, 2001 open for the SCVA SHOW CHOIR SPECTACULAR. Our Show Choir festival/competition will be held in the beautiful and new Northwood High School Theater located in Irvine, California. With a format limited to just 36 choirs, you'll want to have your application and fee in as soon as the official entry form is published in the newsletter.

This year our adjudicators will be Brent Pierce of Fullerton College, and Dina Humble of Riverside Community College. A third judge has yet to be confirmed. These judges are recognized for their outstanding work in the choral field in all areas of repertoire, composition, arranging, directing and adjudication.

As always, we will format the festival into divisions with trophy and plaque awards given after the completion of each group of show choirs perform. This format works well -- making it possible for you to attend, perform, and receive awards without spending the entire day at the competition location!

We will offer divisional areas for Mixed Advanced, Mixed Intermediate, Mixed Beginning, Women's Advanced, Women's Intermediate, Women's Beginning, Men's Advanced, Men's Intermediate, Men's Beginning for both Junior Hi/Middle School and High School Levels.

Watch your future SCVA Newsletters for additional details and the application form.

Junior High/Middle School Festivals
Taryn Koch, Jr. High/Middle School Festival Coordinator

Hello! My name is Taryn Koch and I am looking forward to serving as your festival coordinator this term!

The 1999-2000 festival season was an exciting and rewarding time for all participating choirs and directors. The opportunity to share our love of the choral art by performing for each other is an invaluable experience! I know that the festival my own choirs attended "opened the eyes" of many of my students as they learned more about the possibilities within this art form!

If you have ever attended a festival, you know it is a worthwhile endeavor that every choral student should be entitled to! In order to provide as many students as possible with a festival experience during our 2000-2001 season, we are now looking for directors who are willing to host a festival. Why not consider hosting an SCVA choir festival at your school this year? The benefits are many:

  1. You will provide schools in your surrounding area with a quality performance opportunity.
  2. You receive one free entry for your choir(s).
  3. No transportation costs
  4. You and your students will get to see other choirs, hear their music and observe different directors.
  5. Your choirs will be adjudicated in a "user-friendly" environment.
  6. Your students will enjoy hosting the festival -- they feel important!!!

If this sounds interesting to you, please fill out the form in this newsletter. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at home, school or by e-mail.

Let's have the best Jr. High/Middle School festival season ever!

Need Men? Here's How!
Ron Soderwall, SCVA VP Show Choirs, Woodbridge High School, Irvine, CA

Many of you reading this article are "blessed with a large male population in your choir program. This plethora of male singers honors you (or your predecessor) for the hard work and consistent recruiting which has been done on your campus and in the feed programs below. Yet, there are some of us who "beat the bush" annually for men singers, only to have the barest minimum joining the ranks of our mixed ensembles.

This summer, at my annual Summer Rehearsal Camp on campus, I introduced material (from the SPEBSQSA organization) which has literally "turned my department up-side-down" in a matter of the first four evenings of the camp. That's right! I witnessed 15 "new" male choir singers (this year is a building year for me having lost one-half of my top mixed group through graduation) get totally excited about singing TTBB music...and they did it almost without my assistance! They are now looking forward to singing for their peers on campus when school starts and enthused about recruiting more men into the choir program. Here's what happened:

SPEBSQSA is an organization that networks barbershop quartets and choruses throughout the world. They host national competitions that are so detailed and intense that outfits and choreography are adjudicated to the way your shoes are tied or the direction your foot is pointed and the singing would be comparable to the finest University choir you have ever heard. This organization is vitally interested in building the male population in the junior high and high school vocal music programs.

SPEBSQSA supplied me with TTBB and SSAA music along with "prepared rehearsal tapes" (now, you purists out there, don't turn me off before you read this whole article). On the first evening of my camp, I sent each of the men's sections to a different part of the campus with a tape player and one of the prepared tapes for their section of the choir. They were instructed to sing along with the tape for one-half hour and return to the choir room when that time was finished. Upon returning, I gave a downbeat, and the most glorious four-part male sound appeared which amazed not only the girl's section but also the male singers themselves. From there the enthusiasm kept building. The ladies section wanted to "sing like the men", so the next night I handed out SSAA music and prepared tapes from SPEBSQSA for the female voice. Same results!

[Editor's note: The women's tapes were actually prepared by the "Sweet Adelines International" organization -- we just happened to have a copy of their materials with us...]

Now, will I stop teaching sight-reading and theory to my choirs in the fall and just depend on prepared tapes? NONSENSE! But, the immediate gratification of a full TTBB sound combined with a fast learning curve has put an excited expectancy into my men singers (many who have little or no choir background at all). They are talking about when they can sing for the students on campus and whom they can recruit into the program. We are already planning a "Barbershop Chorus Club" which will meet once a month with a "bring a friend to the meeting/rehearsal" format.

Will it ultimately work? I don't know. But, I can tell you this: with the material available through SPEBSQSA why not give it a try. You've got everything to gain and nothing to lose! For more information contact Mark Freedkin at and ask him about it. I'll write more in future articles as I watch this area of my program implement the material and (hopefully) reap the results.