SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) - September 2001

President's Message - Kenneth Tuttle
I want to welcome you to the new school year, and to the new year of opportunities that SCVA will be offering you and your students! Our organization enters this new year financially sound and stable! And last year our membership swelled to over 400 members! That's awesome and exciting! Awesome that you are supporting a worthwhile organization; and exciting that so many students in Southern California are being given the opportunities to be in honor choirs, perform at festivals in choirs or as a soloist, and to hear quality choral music and share their own quality choral music!

I welcome several new professionals to our volunteer board this year! All of the board is excited about the plans for this year. Our new 'jazzman' is Michael D'Spain, who has put together an exciting fall jazz workshop/festival you won't want to miss! Betsy Hanger will be organizing some great opportunities for our friends in elementary choral music! Randi Carp will add her experience and talent to help Grace Sheldon-Williams product superior High School Honor Choir(s) this year! Mark Henson is assuming a new position as Executive Vice-President, and will be arranging the adjudicators for this year's choral events. Erin Crowe moves to the Show Choir position, and will be letting us know soon about the Show Choir Extravaganza planned for 2002. The returning board (Mary, Grace, Lori Marie, Taryn and Jason) has been hard at work planning their respective events. And my trusted cohorts (Kathy, Sheri and Shawn) continue to provide leadership in keeping our organization growing and thriving! (Well, heck, then Tuttle, what is it exactly that you do then?) Well, gee, folks, I'm running out of space here....

Pay attention to the articles, applications, and deadlines found here within this newsletter! I'm looking forward to seeing you at several of our events this year!


Fall In-Service - Mary Purdy, Past President
Another great fall in-service is being planned for you! Don't you hate going to most school in-service days? Many of us attend the school in-service just to get a good lunch, because nothing else pertains to teaching music!! Well, the SCVA fall in-service is different. It is my hope that there will be something for everyone this year.

On October 26th, we will, once again, meet at Pasadena City College. We'll assemble at Harbeson Hall where Dr. Donald Brinegar, PCC choral director and SCVA's 2000 Mixed Honor Choir Director, will inspire us to make our choirs resemble an honor choir. In addition, Karen Garrett, choral director at Santiago High School, will present more sight-reading techniques for all levels. Mark Freedkin, local SPEBSQSA representative, will help us attract more boys to our program through barbershop music. There will be performances by the Advanced Women's Ensemble from Redlands East Valley High School, directed by Joe Modica and the Lincoln Middle School Concert Choir, directed by Jeffery Huls. Added to the performances, each director has selected some outstanding choral works for us to sight read in our reading workshop. These are just some of the events for the day.

Save the date-October 26th. This will be a great day where you learn something, visit with colleagues, and gather some new ideas. Look for more information in the October newsletter. Fill out the registration application found in this newsletter and send it to me as soon as you can. Please note that all registrations must be returned by October 6th, 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 you did!!

Click here for a registration form


Senior High Honor Choir - Grace Sheldon-Williams, Vice-President
Welcome back to a new school year! I hope you have had a restful summer and are recharged and ready to begin the new year. The SCVA High School Honor Choir is quickly approaching, so please read the following information carefully, and make note of important dates and deadlines. I also hope you will encourage your students to audition for this great opportunity!

What is Regional Honor Choir?
After more than 500 students from all over Southern California audition, 200 will be selected to sing in either the Women's or the Mixed Honor Choir. They will receive a packet of music and a study tape and will meet for one rehearsal (Oct. 27) before Honor Choir Weekend. Then, with music memorized, the students will come together on Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17 for two intense rehearsal days and a concert Saturday evening.

Application Procedure:
Students may audition for the Southern California Honor Choirs and the California All-State Choir at the same time. This newsletter contains the application that must be used. DO NOT USE THE ACDA APPLICATION. Students fill out only one application for SCVA and mark the appropriate box if they wish to be considered for All-State. There is only ONE fee and ONE audition for the regional and all-state choir auditions.

1. Directors: please print clearly all school data and director's information before duplicating applications for your students. Important! Please double check that all blanks are filled and that the school address is complete, so that we may communicate the necessary information to you and your students.
2. The new application fee is $10. Directors should collect all fees from the students and send one school check, booster check or money order for the total. Do not send cash or a personal check.
3. Staple one check to all the applications from your school and send them to:
Grace Sheldon-Williams SCVA Honor Choir c/o Glendale High School 1440 East Broadway Glendale, CA 91205

Important Dates!
- Application Postmark Deadline: Friday, Sept. 14
- Auditions Dates: Saturday, Sept. 29 & Saturday, Oct. 6
- First Rehearsal: Saturday, Oct. 27
- Honor Choir Weekend: November 16 & 17
- Honor Choir Performance: Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Glendale HS

Audition Requirements
1. SOLO: Prepare a song from Twenty-four Italian Songs and Arias (G. Schirmer) or equivalent art song book, in Italian, with accompaniment. This solo must be from memory, emphasizing tone quality, diction, pronunciation, musical sensitivity and appropriate range.
2. TONAL MEMORY: Demonstrate tonal memory skills (4-5 note passages sung on any syllable).
3. SIGHT-READING: Demonstrate rhythmic and melodic sight-reading skills with a single line, unaccompanied melody (sung on any syllable).
4. SCALES/TRIADS: Be prepared to sing a Major Scale, Chromatic Scale, Major Triad & Minor Triad (sung on any syllable).
You must provide your own accompaniment: tape, CD or live. If several students from the same school are auditioning at the same site, we request that each student have his/her own tape, since they may be auditioning in different rooms at the same time.

Audition Sites
Please see the Audition Application in this newsletter for dates and sites. Students are to select the school site where they will audition. To minimize waiting, students will be given an arrival time. Audition times, with the exception of Granite Hills HS and Cal State Fullerton, will range between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Students participating in the Cal State Fullerton Choir Festival will audition in the morning; those not participating in the festival who select Cal State Fullerton as their site will audition in the afternoon.

Acceptance Notice & Fees
Those selected for the Mixed or Women's Southern California Honor Choir will be notified, through their directors, sometime the week of Oct. 15. The fee, due at the Oct. 27 rehearsal, is $50. This includes music, rehearsal tapes, facilities, conductors and accompanists. Please bring your payment of $50 to the Oct. 27 rehearsal in cash, school check, booster check or money order.

All-State Information
Students interested in being considered for the California All-State Choir need only mark the box on the SCVA application. There is no additional audition fee. (There is, however, an additional participation fee should they be accepted.) The All-State Choir is March 14-16, 2002 in Sacramento. Students should not check the All-State box if there is ANY DOUBT about their ability to participate. If they are chosen, they will be expected to participate and pay the additional All-State fee, which covers the cost of music, rehearsal tapes, facilities, conductor, accompanist, two nights' lodging, meals and transportation at the site. Students must provide their own transportation to Sacramento. Students must remain in good standing with their own choir program and with the SCVA Honor Choirs to be considered for acceptance into the California All-State Honor Choir.

Director's Membership and Involvement
Directors must be current members of SCVA, having paid their 2001-02 membership dues, in order for their students to participate in the honor choir. A membership application can be found elsewhere in this newsletter. Also, any director who has three or more students in either honor choir, is expected to volunteer to help before or during the honor choir event in some capacity. We need your help to make this event a success for your students!!

Honor Choir Drop Policy
(Directors, please photocopy this policy for all auditioning students)
On June 17, 1995, the SCVA Executive Board adopted the following policy:
Students who must, of necessity, drop honor choir are required to immediately provide a written note from their parents and from their home school choral teacher stating the reason for the drop. The note must be sent immediately to the honor choir coordinator by mail or hand-delivered by the student or home teacher as soon as the need for dropping is discovered.

Acceptable reasons for dropping:
- Death in the family just before the concert.
- A serious medical problem that precludes the student's continued participation in the honor choir.
- Other matters of a similarly serious nature.

Unacceptable reasons for dropping:
- The sudden discovery of a schedule conflict that should have been anticipated before the student auditioned.
- The student gets a job that conflicts with the honor choir schedule.
- The student decides that he/she doesn't like the rehearsal, the music or the conductor.

If a student drops for a reason other than those stated above, a panel of members from the SCVA Board will consider the reason given for the drop and decide whether it is an acceptable or an unacceptable reason.


Home school teachers are responsible for remaining informed about their students' continued participation in the honor choir.

A student must be enrolled in his/her school's choral program in order to be eligible to participate in the Honor Choir. Therefore, if a student drops out of his/her home school choral program, he/she will be dropped from the Honor Choir. No sanctions will be imposed on the school.

Don't forget to mail your application by Friday, September 14. Let's have a great 2001 Honor Choir! Good luck to all who audition!

Directors - Please volunteer your time to help with Honor Choir. The event won't be successful without your help!

Honor Choir Application Form


Show Choir Festival - Erin Crowe, Show Choir Vice-President
Yes, that's right. I am no longer the Vocal Jazz VP! I have changed hats to become the Show Choir VP. Due to the fact that there has been little or no interest in a Vocal Jazz festival for the last three years, the board decided that we would discontinue this festival and I would finish out my position doing the Show Choir Festival. I would like to thank Ron Soderwall for doing such a fantastic job with the Show Choir Festival the last two years. I hope I can live up to such organizational skills!

At this time, I have slated the SCVA Show Choir Spectacular for Friday, March 8, 2002 at the Don Wash Auditorium at Garden Grove High School. The venue seats 1200 people and is a professionally run theatre. There is a possibility the venue may change if I can find one that is available on a Saturday, so as not to be disruptive to the Garden Grove students during the school day.

I plan to keep the same format as in past festivals. Depending upon the entries I receive, the groups will compete in divisions with trophy and plaque awards given after the completion of each group of show choirs' performance. This format allows you to attend, perform, and receive awards without spending the entire day at the competition location. Of course, if you wish to stay you may!

As of press time the adjudicators have not been chosen. Watch your future newsletter and check out the S.C.V.A. web site for festival updates and the application form. I hope you all enjoyed your summer with an abundance of rest and relaxation. Take care and welcome back!


Junior High/Middle School Festivals - Taryn Koch, Jr. High/Middle School Festival Coordinator
Hello! I hope that you have each had a restful and refreshing summer break!

The 2000-2001 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 2001-2002 season, we are now looking for directors who are willing to host a festival. Why not consider hosting a 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 will receive one free entry for your choir.
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 and return it by October 26th. Be sure to check your school's testing dates as you plan your festival! 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!

Taryn Koch
2040 Heywood St., Simi Valley, CA 93065
Phone: (hm)805 527-6854 (wk)805 378-6302

Festival Host Application


Vocal Jazz Festival - Michael D'Spain
Howdy!  I hope everyone had a relaxing summer.  I hope your ready for a great year.

I would like to take the time to introduce myself.  My name is Michael DıSpain and I teach at Long Beach Polytechnic High School.  I have been at my current position going on three years and came to Long Beach from Baylor University in Waco, Texas with a degree in Music Education (vocal emphasis).

I know in past years it has been hard to schedule a festival in the second semester due the amount of festivals offered and scheduling conflicts.  I think that our best bet would be a non-competitive festival during the first semester, NOV. 6th, with recorded and written comments from three adjudicators.  Another issue is the cost of jazz festivals.  This festival will be $50 for the first choir and $25 for any additional choirs.  I want to keep the cost down so as many schools can participate as possible.  This festival is open to all levels; novice through advanced.

LOCATION: Long Beach Polytechnic High School Auditorium
   1600 Atlantic Ave.
   Long Beach, CA 90813

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2001  9:00 AM

COST:  $50.00 First Choir
    $25.00 Additional Choir  

 October 6, 2001
 Please send application and check to:
 ATTN:  Michael DıSpain
 1600 Atlantic Ave.
 Long Beach, CA 90813

Equipment provided:  18 Shure SM58 microphones
     Drumset and cymbals
     Bass amp

Jazz Festival Application


XTREME COLLABORATION - Mary Purdy, Vice President of CMEA
Xtreme Collaboration?? I'm sure you are wondering what in the world that is! Frankly, I don't know, but I think it got you to read this article. You wanted to see what kind of crazy new fad this is. What else can go "extreme"? Or you are thinking, "Oh no, not another article about how to have collaborative learning groups in our classrooms!!" Rest assured, I am not going to tell you how to add collaborative learning to your classroom.

Everything today seems to be extreme!! Isn't it interesting to see how we have added new meaning to an otherwise ordinary adjective? We have extreme skiing, extreme skateboarding, extreme football, extreme motor sports, to name a few extreme things. Most things that are "extreme" are done by a single person-not as a group. Why not extreme musical collaboration?

One of the definitions of "extreme" in the dictionary is "very great; intense". Given that as a definition, I'd like to share a reminiscence of an extreme collaboration. Last May 11th and 12th my choir students had an "extreme collaboration" with the Northridge Singers and Orchestra of California State University, Northridge. These groups collaborated in a performance of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, under the baton of Jorge Mester. It was "very great" and "intense".

The idea was the brainchild of Dr. Paul Smith, director of choral activities at CSUN. In May of 2000, we had each attended the senior recital of one of my former (his current) students. As we were chatting, I shared my vision of outreach from CSUN to the local high schools. Paul mentioned that he and Gary Pratt, the CSUN orchestra director, had been interested in performing Carmina Burana. He asked if I would be interested in having my students join together in this performance. Who wouldn't be interested in that kind of collaboration?? He said that we would talk about it further during the summer. However, I thought that it wouldn't really happen. I thought it would be too hard to do-too much work, too many logistics to overcome for everyone!! I did, though, keep my hopes up!

In the summer, Dr. Smith and I spoke again. At that time, he assured me that this was really going to happen. We talked over a few of the logistical things. Preparations were under way!

My first step was to talk to my principal to garner her support and to advise her what a great opportunity this would be for our students. Then, I approached my district to see if they could buy the music. Who has enough money in a budget to purchase 84 copies of a major work?

Many months later, preparations were well under way-my students were learning the music. Dr. Smith and I were planning again when he mentioned that there was going to be a guest conductor. I had figured that one of the college professors would conduct. However, each of them wanted the other to have that opportunity. Then the decision to have a well-known and respected professional conductor was made. I don't know what negotiations took place between CSUN personnel and the Pasadena Symphony's, Jorge Mester. But the next thing I knew, he was engaged to conduct our performances of Carmina Burana.

Finally, the day of the first rehearsal arrived. We had learned the music and I had given my students as much positive motivation as I could muster. "If you even move during this rehearsal, you'll die!" or something to that effect!! When we walked into the rehearsal hall at CSUN, my students, of course, were rather intimidated and a little nervous. Would the conductor be mean? Would he yell at us? Would the Northridge Singers be mean or conceited, because they had just come back from performing so well at the ACDA convention!? Did we know our music well enough?

Jorge Mester gave the downbeat and the piano rehearsal began. Every singer began to sing. It was amazing! My students looked around in wonder. What a huge sound!! They had never experienced such an incredible sound with only two choirs participating! Each young person was having a wonderful time singing. Maestro Mester was so kind and encouraging to the students, while still being exacting. My students were impressed with the professional attitude of the Northridge Singers. Because of that, they rose to the occasion and were professional too.

We had another day or two to rehearse and correct mistakes individually before we joined with the orchestra. The students came into the second rehearsal a different group! My students rarely get to perform with an orchestra, so that was an "exteme" treat for them. Watching Jorge Mester work with the instrumentalists and soloists was an exciting learning experience for my students. He expected all of the performers to be professional; so they were. He knew what he wanted from every participant and how every nuance should be performed. My students were awed by this day. Seeing how the whole piece fits together really added to their enjoyment. Meanwhile, Paul Smith, Gary Pratt, and I were nervously watching to see if our students would meet the expectations of this fine conductor.

Finally, the day of the first performance arrived. The stage was set; rehearsals were done; all of the preparations had come to fruition. As I walked out on the stage to perform the first part of the concert where my students would be featured, I knew that this was going to be a great evening…and it was! Each person who was in attendance or performing knew that this was a truly special event. The assistant superintendent of my district (along with many of the parents) was brought to tears by the quality of the performance. What a great collaboration! EXTREME!!

This collaborative effort was not merely a fantastic experience for my students, it was also a great recruiting tool, as both the students and their parents were exposed to the University's music department. I'd like to encourage other college professors to reach out to some of your local high schools in a performance similar to this. No one will regret or forget it!

(Reprinted from CMEA Magazine Fall 2001)


Barbershop News - Mark Freedkin, SPEBSQSA Representative
We are pleased to announce that we will be repeating our Young Men's Harmony Festival on Saturday, February 9th, 2002 (location is TBD). Last year, we have over 185 young men from high schools and middle schools from San Diego to Lancaster participated. The event was enormously successful, and the young men put on an incredible show. Then the Masters of Harmony (four-time International Chorus Champions) joined them young men for a double-chorus finale that blew out the back wall of the auditorium. Have you ever seen nearly 300 men on 11 sets of risers? Please be watching for a mailing to your school with an application, as well as this newsletter for more information.

Mark Freedkin
Home: (949) 559-9621
Work: (949) 856-7794


New Automated E-Mail List - Mark Freedkin, SCVA WebMaster
All organizations can benefit from timely communication, and SCVA is pleased to provide an automated e-mail service that will allow any of its members to communicate to all other members quickly and easily (and at absolutely no cost). Participation in the e-mail list is completely voluntary, although highly recommended. Once you are a subscriber, you can send an e-mail message to a special e-mail address, and it will be distributed automatically to all other subscribers. You can choose to receive each message as it is posted, or a singly message containing a daily summary ("digest") of all the messages posted during that day. You can also suspend your messages at any time, and of course, you can unsubscribe at any time. To join the "SCVA-net" mailing list, you can send a blank e-mail message to, or simply click on the link below. You can also visit

Click to subscribe to SCVAnet


Other Important Information
SCVA Membership Application
Fall In-Service Application Form
Honor Choir Application Form
Festival Host Application Form