SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) – October 2003


Fall In-Service – Ken Tuttle, Past President

The Fall In-Service is just around the corner, and this year promises to deliver something for everyone in choral music education!  The beautiful campus of Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa will be this year's venue.  Our presenters bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the day's topic:  The connection of our classroom activities to the California State Framework and Standards in Music.


Dr. Ricardo Soto has extensive choral teaching experience at both the high school and collegiate levels and is a well-known clinician and director.  He currently directs the choral ensembles and orchestra at Orange Coast College.  After a special performance by the Irvine High School Chamber Singers, directed by Rich Messenger, Dr. Soto will present a open clinic with the singers, making, connections between rehearsal technique and the standards.


Famed composer Eric Whitacre will speak to us about his choral music, and his new opera premiering in Long Beach next year.  Greg Ellis, a well-known and respected music educator, will speak to the specific needs of middle school teachers, and the incorporation of the standards at that level.


Our friends at Pepper of Los Angeles will present Bruce Munson from Sibelius, with an exciting new program designed for elementary music educators.  In addition, there will be sessions on music for the special needs student, a guide to hosting a festival , question and answer time with all clinicians, and a performance and clinic by a middle school choir yet to be selected.


A great day is planned for all, so come to be inspired and motivated!  Network with colleagues and friends and support your professional organization - the only one dedicated to supporting choral music education in Southern California for over 60 years!  I look forward to seeing you there.


Schedule for Friday, October 24, 2003:

        8:30    Check-in, Continental Breakfast

        9:00    Welcome, Announcements

        9:10    Irvine HS Chamber Singers

        9:25    Dr. Ricardo Soto

        10:30  Break

        10:45  Eric Whitacre

        11:45  Lunch Break

        1:00    Middle School Performance

        1:15    Greg Ellis

        2:00    Break

        2:15    Interest Sessions:

        3:00    In-Service Concludes


Elementary News – Patti MacLeod, Vice President, Elementary Festivals

Greetings from Torrance Unified School District.  I teach elementary vocal music at two schools in Torrance and am pleased to be representing those of you who direct elementary school choirs. My gratitude goes out to Betsy Hanger for helping educate me into this position, as well as for coordinating a successful elementary season last year.


If your elementary choir has not yet performed in a festival, I encourage you to introduce your students to this unique learning opportunity.   SCVA elementary festivals have been set up for choral students to hear other southern California performing groups in a non-competitive festival setting. All levels of groups, from those who meet before or after school once a week, to others who rehearse three or four times a week during the school day, are invited to participate.  Each festival is designed to last around two hours, with all participants present for performances and clinician's remarks. You will be amazed at what your students will learn by hearing and seeing their peers perform!


Finally, any of you who are interested in hosting an elementary festival at your school, please contact me. Besides giving your students an invaluable, musical learning experience, hosting schools are invited to participate in the festival without paying the entrance fee. The requirements are simply a performance space (theater, auditorium, cafeteria), risers, a tuned piano, warm-up room, a few volunteers (parents, teachers, etc.) to act as hosts, and a drop-off/pick-up area for buses.


An Outstanding Men's Event! – Ron Soderwall, Vice President, Young Men's Clinic

With so many opportunities for performance and clinic during the school year, we have decided to combine the Young Men's Choral Clinic and the SPEBSQSA Young Men's Harmony Festival into one grand men's event.  On that day, over 250 men join together to become a large men's choir and are proctored by the men of the "Masters of Harmony."  This eventful day concludes with a gigantic concert featuring the high school men's chorus and the Masters of Harmony chorus.


The question that is usually asked is, "Do the boys that I send to the event have to be enrolled in a men's chorus at school?  The answer is, "no".  You may send any interested male singers from your program.


This event will not only reinforce the good vocal technique you teach in your classroom, but will inspire your singers to be even more involved in choir.  In fact, if you talk to Lori Marie Rios (La Canada High School), having three of her boys participate in this event a few years back became the base for the start of her wonderful men's chorus.   (If you haven't heard them, sign up for a festival where they are singing!)  Personally, I send about 20-30 of my men from different choirs so that they will gain the experience of singing with other men and learn what an exceptional male sound is like.  Don't wait to send in your application!


Young Men’s Barbershop Harmony Festival – Mark Freedkin, SPEBSQSA Liaison

We are pleased to announce another unique opportunity for your young male singers which we hope will provide a positive boost for choral music at your school and throughout Southern California.  To build on our successful choral programs during the past five years, the local chapters of SPEBSQSA and the Southern California Vocal Association (SCVA) are organizing a Young Men’s Harmony Festival starting at 10:00am on Saturday, February 21, 2004 at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.  The day-long event will consist of a morning and afternoon clinic and rehearsal, followed by a public performance in the evening with the Masters of Harmony, five-time International Barbershop Chorus Champions.  In addition to providing an outstanding musical experience for your singers, all of the proceeds from this event will go to support choral music education programs in our schools.


About four weeks prior to the event, we will provide sheet music and voice-dominant practice tapes for several songs arranged in the Barbershop style.


The cost is only $20 per singer.  Local Barbershop sponsors will cover the remaining costs for sheet music, practice tapes, rehearsal facilities, guest clinicians, and special performance costumes.  A commemorative T-shirt will be provided to each singer.  We will also provide lunch and dinner for the singers, as well as a catered dinner for any music educators who attend the rehearsal and clinic.  We also request that you or a parent accompany your singers at the event to help maintain discipline during the long day.


Please complete the enclosed application and parental consent/medical form for each singer and send payment by cash, check or money order payable to “Masters of Harmony” to the address below NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 20, 2003.  Any male student who is currently enrolled in a school choral music program is eligible to participate.  There is no limit to the number of students you can nominate from your choral program.  We request that you select your better singers to represent your school.  We can accommodate a maximum of 250 singers, so don’t delay!


The Barbershop Harmony Society is dedicated to preserving and encouraging vocal music of all kinds in our schools and our communities, through financial support and by being strong advocates for the arts.  In partnership with the Music Educators National Conference (MENC), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and other organizations, the Society is actively involved in the effort to help revitalize music education and to “Get America Singing...Again”.  Support from local Barbershop harmony programs has earned the enthusiastic endorsement of the SCVA.


We look forward to receiving your applications.  Please contact me if you have any questions about the Young Men’s Harmony Festival or any of our Young Men In Harmony programs.

Barbershop Harmony Festival Application Form


Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir – Debbie Montpas, Vice President, Jr. High/Middle School Honor Choir

Now is a great time to start preparing your singers for the Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir auditions.  We're looking for students who have beautiful voices as well as good musical skills.  Practicing with your students every day for just a few minutes will foster good habits and develop their skills to the level the Honor Choir demands.


Our goal is to form a balanced SATB choir. Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth grade members of your choral programs are eligible to audition.  (Sixth graders who are part of junior high/middle school program may also audition.)  Ninth grade Tenors and Baritones are especially encouraged to audition.  These singers are often the backbone of the Honor Choir.  (Note of clarification:  All ninth grade singers, whether part of a four-year high school program or a middle school program which includes grade nine, are eligible to audition.)


Your next SCVA Newsletter will have the specific audition sites and dates listed.  Your students will select a site and date that works for their schedule.  They should look at the rehearsal and performance dates very carefully!





The application fee is $5 (Cash or money order only, please.)



The participation fee for students who are selected for the Honor Choir will again be $35.  This fee covers the cost of the students' music and folder, the guest conductor, pianist, rehearsal/performance facilities, and incidentals.


Other Important Information
SCVA Membership Application
Festival Host Application Form