SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) – September 2004


Message from the President – Grace Sheldon-Williams, President
Greetings to you all!  I hope you had a restful summer and are now ready to dive into a new school year with energy and enthusiasm.  In 1939, SCVA was founded with the purpose of advancing vocal music at all grade levels in the schools of Southern California.  65 years later, this outstanding organization is still here to serve you and your students.  I encourage you to take advantage of the many wonderful events and opportunities SCVA has to offer.  Here are a few ways you can get involved:

 - Attend the annual SCVA Fall In-Service workshop—this is a great time to network with colleagues and get new ideas and materials
 - Host a festival!  The benefits are many (see article in this newsletter)
 - Prepare your students to audition for honor choir (note the deadlines & important details)

Other events will be featured and explained in the SCVA newsletter throughout the year.  I wish to extend a special thank you to Karen Bluel, our newsletter editor, as well as all of the executive board members, who volunteer countless hours to enhance our art. 

I wish you a wonderful year, and, oh yes...don’t forget to renew your membership!


SCVA High School Honor Choir – Kathy Cobb-Woll, Vice President, HS Honor Choir
All deadlines are firm and WILL NOT be extended and the guidelines CANNOT be altered.  Keeping strict deadlines allows your students and our staff the greatest amount of time to prepare for the Honor Choir rehearsals and performance.

Regional Honor Choir
After more than 900 students from all over Southern California audition, 240 will be selected to sing in one of three groups: Women’s, Men’s or Mixed Honor Choir.  They will receive a packet of music,  meet for one rehearsal (October 30th) before the Honor Choir weekend, and then (with music memorized) come together on Friday and Saturday, November 19 & 20 for two days of intense rehearsal and a Saturday evening concert with some of the most distinguished conductors in our field.

All-State Honor Choir
Students interested in being considered for the California All-State Honor Choir need only mark the appropriate box on their SCVA application.   There is no additional audition or fee. They may be asked at their auditions to reconfirm their interest in All-State. The All-State Honor Choir will be March 17-19, 2005 in Pasadena.

Please Note:
Check your availability for all dates BEFORE auditioning.  Being accepted into a choir and then not participating will prohibit your school from participation in the Honor Choirs for one year.  Please see: Honor Choir Guidelines and Policies.

All students auditioning for Regional and State Honor Choirs must be members in good standing of their school choral program and their conductors must be paid members of SCVA.  Teachers may pay their dues by contacting Shawn Taylor at or via PayPal at

All students in Southern California should use the attached application.  DO NOT use the ACDA application.

Regional Honor Choir Conductors
We are proud to announce this year’s conductors for the Regional Honor Choirs.  Dr. Jocelyn Jensen, from UNLV, will conduct the Mixed Choir; Dr. Iris Levine, from Cal Poly Pomona University, will conduct the Women’s Choir; and Peter Rutenberg, conductor for the Los Angeles Chamber Singers and Cappella, will lead the Men’s Choir.

Important Dates:
Audition Application Postmark Deadline:
            Wednesday, September 17, 2004

Audition Dates:
            Saturday, October 2, 2004   9am – Noon
            Saturday, October 9, 2004   1 – 4pm

First Rehearsal:
            Saturday, October 30, 2004   9:30am – 4pm
            Santa Ana High School, Santa Ana, CA

Honor Choir Weekend:
            Friday & Saturday, November 19 & 20

Honor Choir Performance:
            Saturday, November 20 at 7:30pm
            Venice High School, Venice, CA

California All-State Honor Choir:
            March 17-19, 2005, Pasadena, CA

$$$  New Way to Pay!!!  $$$
SCVA is proud to add a NEW, more convenient way to pay many SCVA fees through PayPal.  For more information, see Mark Freedkin’s article later in this newsletter or visit Remember to print out a confirmation sheet and either send it in the mail or email it with your application.  REMEMBER: All monies must be paid by either PayPal, a school check, a booster check or money order.  NO PERSONAL CHECKS from directors, students or parents will be accepted.

For questions about SCVA Honor Choir, to volunteer, or to act as an adjudicator, contact Kathy Cobb-Woll at or Dr. Rich Brunner at

Audition Procedures
all audtionees will prepare and sing a solo from the Twenty-four Italian Songs and Arias (G. Schirmer) or equivalent art song book.  The solo MUST be memorized, sung in Italian and accompanied by tape, cd or an accompanist supplied by the auditonee.  Adjudicators will be listening for tone quality, diction, pronunciation, musical sensitivity and appropriate vocal range.

Range: all audtionees will demonstrate their vocal range through a short series of warm-up exercises.

Tonal Memory: all auditionees will demonstrate tonal memory skills by singing back a 4-5 note passage played by one of the adjudicators.  You may sing back on any neutral syllable.

Scales/Triads: all auditionees will prepare and sing a major and minor triad, a major scale and a chromatic scale on any neutral syllable.

Sight-Reading: all auditionees will demonstrate rhythmic and melodic sight-reading skills by singing a single, unaccompanied melodic line on any neutral syllable.

NOTE: Students must provide their own accompanist or an accompanying CD or tape IN THE PROPER KEY!

Acceptance Notice and Fees
Those accepted for the Mixed, Men’s or Women’s Honor Choir will be notified by their directors sometime during the week of October 11th.  A $50.00 fee will be collected at the first rehearsal on October 30th.  The fee provides for music, accompanists, directors and facilities.  ONLY PayPal verification, a school check, booster check or money order will be accepted.  NO PERSONAL CHECKS WILL BE ACCEPTED from students, parents or teachers!!

Honor Choir Guidelines and Policies
A student must be enrolled in his/her school’s choral program in order to be eligible for participation in Honor Choir.  If a student drops out of the school program, he/she will be dropped from Honor Choir as well.  No sanctions will be imposed on the school in this case.

However, when a student drops out of an SCVA Honor Choir, the student’s school may not be allowed to participate in Honor Choir the following school year.  Given our time constraints, when a student drops out of Honor Choir it is impossible for us to fill their vacancy.  Therefore, when a student drops out, another deserving student misses out on this wonderful opportunity.

Students who must, out of extreme necessity, drop out of Honor Choir after being accepted are required to provide a signed, written note from their parents and from their school choral director stating the reasons for the drop out.  The note MUST be sent immediately to the Honor Choir coordinator by mail or hand-delivered by the student, parent or director as soon as possible.

Acceptable reasons for dropping Honor Choir:
Death in the family just before the concert
 - Serious medical problem
 - Other matters of an equally serious nature

Unacceptable reasons for dropping Honor Choir:
Schedule conflicts of any kind.
 - Student deciding he/she would rather not participate, doesn’t like the music, or doesn’t want to work with a particular conductor.

If a student drops for any reason, a panel of members from the SCVA Board will consider the reason given and decide whether it is an unacceptable or acceptable reason.

Choral directors are responsible for remaining informed about their students’ continued participation in the Honor Choir.

Honor Choir Application


PayPal Has Arrived! – Mark Freedkin, Web Communications
We are pleased to announce a new capability for making electronic payments through the SCVA website to pay for membership renewals, festival registrations and other SCVA event fees, as an alternative to sending school checks, booster checks, cashier checks or money orders. A new page allows you to electronically pay for those items using any major credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover or American Express). This new capability is managed through PayPal (which is owned and operated by e-Bay) and it will help to ensure timely and secure payment for those items.

To use this new feature select the "e-Payments" item from the navigation menu of the SCVA website at You will then see a list of items that you can purchase. Click on the "Buy Now" button for the item you wish to purchase. You will then be taken to the PayPal website to process your payment. You should select the "Click Here" button next to the line that reads "If you do not currently have a PayPal account.

After that, you should enter your credit card type, account number, expiration date, e-mail address and mailing address, as well as any event-specific information (such as "School Name and Singer's Name"). If you continue, your credit card will be billed and you will be returned to the SCVA website. You will also receive a separate confirmation e-mail message, which you should print out and submit with your application for the SCVA activity. When you receive your credit card bill, the charge will appear as "PayPal -- Southern California Vocal Association".

Note that a $1.00 processing fee is added to each purchase made through the SCVA website.


FROM THE EDITOR – Karen Bluel, Editor/Co-Secretary
In order to avoid a two-year stint as the SCVA Treasurer (I do not even balance my own checkbook!), I volunteered to take over the production of this newsletter. Only time will tell if I made the right choice!

This newsletter is a work in progress and I will welcome any suggestions you may have. We now have the capability to include pictures, so if you have something wonderful from an SCVA event, please email it to me and I will see about including it and getting it up on the website!


2005 Show Choir Spectacular – Erin Terreri, Show Choir V.P.
I’d like to thank Sharon Galassi for doing a great job last year on the Show Choir Competition.  Even though she retired last year, she still was able to recruit her parent boosters and students to help out.  I was able to bring my groups this year and we were so impressed with the Travis Ranch students and their professionalism.

After some coercing, I agreed to take on the competition this year even after becoming a mom!  Her name is Emma Lynn Terreri and she was born on October 24th weighing in at 7lbs. 11 oz.  She is now almost 10 months old and is the greatest joy of our lives.  I never thought I could love someone so much!  I have enjoyed being a full time mom this summer and will regret having to go back to work and not being able to take care of her all day long.  However, going back to work is going to seem like a vacation compared to running after a 10 month old!  She definitely keeps me hopping!

I did not know I would be doing this event again until early July, therefore as of press time I have not nailed down any details for the competition.  I am planning on using Long Beach Poly HS again, however I cannot make any contacts until September.  I am looking at doing the competition much earlier this year.  I am waiting to find out when some of the other competitions are and then scheduling the event around them.  One thought I had was to make it the first Saturday in April, which is traditionally the same weekend as Fullerton Jazz Festival.  I would like some feedback on this date.

Last year there were several cancellations at the last minute and even some no shows.  It seems that by holding the competition in late April or in May there are too many conflicts like, proms, SAT tests, and Spring Concerts.  Would putting the SCVA Competition so close to the Fullerton Jazz Competition deter you from entering either one?  Please e-mail your thoughts and suggestions to by September 10th.  My goal is to make this competition accessible to SCVA members without having too many conflicts.  I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you.

Have a great year!


Exciting Times Ahead for Festival Hosts!
Jennifer Stanley, VP of High School Festivals
Laurie Hancock, VP of Junior High Festivals
Patti MacLeod, VP of Elementary Activities

It is never too early to start planning for festival season!  We have been working this summer 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 a 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 ensemble
 - Certified adjudicators scheduled for each festival by SCVA

When you fill out your festival host application, please indicate if you want your festival to be a clinic festival. A clinic festival has a maximum of six participating choirs and one adjudicator.  After each choir performs, the adjudicator comes up to work with the ensemble.  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). 

Sight-singing adjudication and sight-singing clinics will not be a part of this year’s SCVA festivals.

We’re off to a great year!  Please contact us with any questions you may have.

Festival Host Application Form


Fall In-Service – Mark Henson, Past President
Greetings and welcome back!  I hope this year brings you satisfaction and success! Mark your calendars for Friday, October 22, 2004 - The annual SCVA Fall In-Service, beginning at 9 a.m. As of this writing I am in the process of confirming our guest presenter, so details regarding the location and the slate of events for the day will be outlined in next month's newsletter as well as on our website.

Those of you who attended last year's Fall In-Service undoubtedly have fond memories of the wonderful day we spent together.  I encourage you to seek out directors who have not previously attended an SCVA In-Service and invite them to join our organization and attend with you!  We will be offering a variety of interest sessions on various topics and a chance for you to network with other choral professionals. Directors at all levels will find the event informative and fun. 

In addition, those interested in becoming certified as an SCVA adjudicator will want to participate in the Adjudicator Certification Workshop which is offered at the In-Service every two years.  A middle school and high school choral group will be selected to perform at the workshop.  We will discuss the adjudication process and, following each performance, prospective adjudicators will submit a sample adjudication.  Even if you don’t wish to become certified, participation in the workshop is a real insight toward understanding the adjudication process!

Reserve Friday, October 22, 2004 on your calendar now so you'll be able to attend!  This is a great way to see colleagues, share new and useful ideas, and hear some great choirs.  You can even register early!  See the application that follows or visit our website.

In-Service Registration Form


Other Important Information
SCVA Membership Application
Festival Host Application Form