SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) – September 2006


Message from the President – Mark Henson, President
A Time of Opportunities

Greetings to all as we plunge into another season of making wonderful sounds together!  I always find this time of year exciting:  Planning concerts and other events, selecting repertoire, looking at the calendar where everything seems to fit so nicely in place, and getting together with colleagues to share summer stories as well as plans for the coming year.  We are so fortunate as educators to have the chance to start fresh each year.  Our minds are filled with great ideas, the mistakes of the past year are now stored as valuable lessons, and our students are energized and anxious for a great year ahead.

It is my pleasure to serve once again as SCVA President.  The members of the Executive Board and I are looking forward to an exciting and successful year.  We have many new faces on the board, and we're off and running with events and preparations for the months ahead. 

You'll want to make plans to attend the upcoming Fall In-Service.  Grace is organizing a wonderful slate of events for the day.  Details and registration form are inside this newsletter.  I'm a firm believer in networking and including as many people as possible in our successes.  Our organization is the perfect place for new directors and seasoned veterans to come together in a friendly, supportive environment. 

Senior High Honor Choir plans are well underway.  What a wonderful opportunity for our students!  Look for the application materials inside.  More information is available on the SCVA website. 

Remember, subsequent newsletters will be sent only to SCVA members, so I urge you to complete the application on the back of this issue and send it today to begin or renew your membership.  The Executive Board is anticipating a wonderful year.  Let us know how we can support you!

Best wishes for a sensational Fall.


SCVA High School Honor Choir – Dr. Rich Brunner, Vice President, HS Honor Choir

Please Read Carefully…
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 28th) before the Honor Choir weekend, and then (with music memorized) come together on Friday and Saturday, November 17 & 18 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 15-17 in Ontario, CA.

Please Note:
Check your availability for all dates BEFORE auditioning.  Being accepted into a choir and then not participating will exempt 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 with their school choral program and their conductors must be paid members of SCVA.  Teachers may pay their dues by contacting Sheri Nelson 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. Jonathan Talberg, from Cal State University Long Beach, will conduct the Mixed Choir; Dr. Anna Hamre, from Cal State University Fresno, will conduct the Women's Choir; and Dr. David Weiller, from University of Nevada, Las Vegas will lead the Men's Choir.

Important Dates:
Audition Application Postmark Deadline:
            Friday, September 15, 2006
Audition Dates:
            Saturday, September 30, 2006
            Saturday, October 7, 2006
First Rehearsal:
            Saturday, October 28, 2006   9:30am – 4pm
            Rehearsal Site TBA
Honor Choir Weekend:
            Friday & Saturday, November 17 & 18
            Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica
            Concert:  November 18   7:30pm
California All-State Honor Choir:
            March 15-17, 2007, Ontario, CA

$$$     Pay with PAYPAL!!!      $$$
SCVA has been using PayPal now for the past two years to great success.  It's the convenient way to pay audition fees, SCVA dues, Honor Choir fees, Festival fees, etc.  If you have never used it before and want more information go to our website. Click on the e-Payments page.  You may use any major credit card for a $1.00 processing fee.  Print out a confirmation sheet and either send it in the mail or email 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 Dr. Rich Brunner at or Rodger Guerrero at

Audition Procedures
All auditionees 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 auditionee.  Adjudicators will be listening for tone quality, diction, pronunciation, musical sensitivity and appropriate vocal range.

Range: All auditionees 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 during the week of October 9th.  A $65.00 fee will be collected at the first rehearsal on October 28th.  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


Fall In-Service - Grace Sheldon-Williams, Past-President
Greetings!  The annual SCVA Fall In-Service Workshop will be held Friday, October 27, beginning at 9 a.m.  This year's workshop will feature several valuable sessions, including our bi-annual Adjudicator Certification Workshop.  If you are interested in becoming an SCVA festival adjudicator, this workshop is the first step in that process.  The demonstration choirs for the workshop will be the Wilson Middle School Choir (Charlotte Smurthwaite, director) and the Glendale Adventist Academy Chorale (Brenda Mohr, director).  Even if you don't plan to become certified as an adjudicator, it will be worth your time hearing these wonderful choirs perform!

As of this writing, the following have been scheduled:

- Sight-singing, Solfege and the Standards -- Karen Garrett, presenter
- Middle School Repertoire and Other Relevant Stuff – Margie Brodeur, presenter
- Introduction to Vocal Jazz – Jill DeWeese, presenter

You can look forward to many nuggets of wisdom from these outstanding music educators.  The In-Service also provides an excellent opportunity to network with other choral directors.  Invite your colleagues!!  Please use the registration form below.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Fall In-Service Registration Form


CALLING ALL ADJUDICATORS! - Christinna Hall, Executive Vice President
In this high tech, ever changing world of ours, SCVA would like to update their adjudicators' list.  Last year, a number of email addresses came back "unable to deliver".  Even if you adjudicated for us last year or you've not adjudicated for several years, please take the time to send me an email with your email address, work and/or cell phone number and work address.  Remember that those of you who would like to become adjudicators can attend the session at our fall workshop for new adjudicators.  Adjudicating at festivals is a wonderful way to further music education in Southern California.




CALL FOR HONOR CHOIR ADJUDICATORS! - Rich Brunner, VP- High School Honor Choir
On Saturday, September 30th and Saturday, October 7th, I need a total of 75 adjudicators to listen to Honor Choir Auditions.

If you have never done it before, you should jump right in.  It's not complicated and you will get to work with an experienced judge from another school, so you won't be alone.

If you HAVE done it before, thank you!  And you should jump right in.  It's not complicated and you will get to work with an experienced judge from another school, so you won't be alone.

It's a three or four hour commitment and it pays $75.00 for your efforts.  I will even make sure that you are placed at an audition site that is close to your home.   The kids really appreciate that you are taking time out of your day for them and giving them the benefit of your musical knowledge and expertise.

Please email me, Rich Brunner, at and volunteer to adjudicate. 



Hosting a Festival is a Great Experience! - Jennifer Stanley, VP of High School Festivals & Maria Fritts, VP of JH/MS 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 Jennifer Stanley!

Festival Host Application Form


Vocal Jazz  - Jamie Shew, VP, Jazz Choir
I am thrilled to be the new Vocal Jazz Rep for SCVA!  I am the Director of Vocal Jazz Studies at Fullerton College and perform regularly around the greater Los Angeles area.  I have a Bachelor's in Music Education from Washington State University and Master's in Jazz Voice Performance from Western Michigan University.  As Vocal Jazz Rep, I look forward to meeting directors and to offer any assistance and resources, especially for those just starting their choir or wanting to start one.  I am also very excited to host the SCVA Fall Vocal Jazz Festival at Fullerton College

The fall semester is a great time to share your "works in progress" with each other in a non-competitive atmosphere with professional clinicians working with your students and providing clinics on a variety of topics.  This year, the festival will be held in the Campus Theatre at Fullerton College on December 2nd.  This all-day event will end with a very special concert featuring legendary jazz vocalist, Sunny Wilkinson, with the Fullerton College Big Band.  Fullerton College's premiere Vocal Jazz Ensemble, "The J Train" will also perform.  Please put this date on your calendar!!!  The festival is open to all levels, novice through advanced.  The fee is a minimal $150 plus an additional $5 per student participant for the concert (a 50% discount!!!).  Online information and festival registration forms will soon be available on the SCVA website.

If you have any question regarding the festival and concert, or you just want to chat, please contact Jamie at 714-992-7289 or

More 2006-2007 Vocal Jazz Festivals/Workshops…

Sat, October 14, 2006: Inland Empire Vocal Jazz Festival at Upland H.S (non-competitive), Upland, CA
Fri-Sat, November 3-4, 2006: Cuesta College Vocal Jazz Workshop (non-competitive), San Luis Obispo, CA
Sat, December 2, 2006: SCVA Vocal Jazz Festival at Fullerton College (non-competitive), Fullerton, CA
Wed-Sat, January 10-13, 2007: IAJE Conference in New York, NY
Wed-Sat, February 21-24, 2007: Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (competitive), Moscow, ID
Fri-Sat, March 2-3?, 2007: Columbia College Vocal Jazz Festival (non-competitive), Sonora, CA
Fri-Sat, March 2-3, 2007: Lynnwood Vocal Jazz Festval at Edmonds Community College (non-competitive), Lynnwood, WA
Fri, March 23, 2007: Val Verde Jazz Festival at Rancho Verde H.S., Riverside, CA
Fri-Sat, March 23-24, 2007: Fullerton College Jazz Festival (competitive), Fullerton, CA
(Sorry for my shameless plug!!!  We are adding a College/University component to the festival this year.  This is a great opportunity for your students to hear a variety of colleges and universities and possibly visit with the directors!  We'd love to see you all there!!!)
Thu-Sat, April 19-21, 2007: University of Northern Colorado Jazz Festival (competitive), Greeley, CO
Fri-Sat, April 20-21, 2007: Reno Jazz Festival at University of Nevada-Reno (competitive), Reno, NV
Sat, April 21, 2007: Columbia Basin College Jazz Unlimited (competitive), Pasco, WA
Fri-Sat, TBA: Monterey Jazz Festival (competitive), Monterey, CA


MEN AND WOMEN SINGERS - Ron Soderwall: VP Young Men's Clinics
It is never too early to plan for the Spring Young Men In Harmony and Young Women in Harmony workshop/festivals co-sponsored by SCVA and the Barbershop Harmony Society (SPEBSQSA) and Sweet Adelines International.  Both festivals are scheduled for February in 2007.  Be sure to mark you calendar now with these dates:

  Young Women in Harmony "Diva Day" Festival - February 3, 2007
  Young Men's Harmony Festival - February 17, 2007

Each year the Masters of Harmony and the Harborlites use their many years of 4-part singing to train our young men and women singers in a full day of workshops, rehearsals, concerts and great eating.  And, each year the number of junior high school, middle school and high school singers multiply and the excitement continues to grow.  This event has spawned many quartets and men's choirs in schools where none existed prior to the workshops.  All of the training is immediately transferable to your full repertoire for each of your choirs.  In addition, the day is just plain "FUN" in a working atmosphere of music-making at its best!

Watch your mail for the advance publicity and student applications in the upcoming SCVA Newsletters so that your singers won't be left out while the rest of us are having the "time of our lives" learning and performing in a non-judgmental and fast-paced atmosphere.  Literally hundreds of young men and women participate each year...why not have your singers join us?

 Remember the dates are:  Women's festival - Saturday, February 3, 2007 and the Men's festival - Saturday, February 17, 2007...all day!  For additional information, please contact Karen Ridout ( for the Women's festival or Mark Freedkin ( for the Men's festival.


PAYPAL UPDATE - Mark Freedkin, SCVA Webmaster
You can use the PayPal interface on our website to pay for membership renewals, festival registrations and other SCVA fees using a major credit card (such as MasterCard, Visa, Discover or American Express) as an alternative to sending school checks, booster checks, cashier checks or money orders.  PayPal, which is owned and operated by e-Bay, ensures timely and secure payment for those items.  And you don't need to have your own personal PayPal account in order to use this interface.

To use this feature, select the "e-Payments" item from the navigation menu of the SCVA website.  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.  Then select the "Click Here" button next to the line that reads "If you do not currently have a PayPal account."  Then enter your name, email address, credit card account number and expiration date. In addition, please be sure to enter the event-specific information (such as "School Name and Choir Name") at the bottom of that page.  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 * SCVACHORAL".

A modest processing fee is added to each purchase to cover our costs for using this service.  Your private credit card account information is protected and never divulged to anyone within the SCVA organization.

 If you already have your own personal PayPal account, please only use the "e-Payments" page to pay for various activities, rather than by-passing that page and creating your own independent e-check transfers. This will help us maintain accurate records of electronic payments that have been made.

 If you have any questions or problems, please contact Mark Freedkin at


Other Important Information
SCVA Membership Application