SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) – October 2004


Message from the President – Grace Sheldon-Williams, President
Be an Advocate…for Yourself!

In the world of choral music education, there are many organizations whose very purpose is to assist and support us in the important task we perform each day.  Since you are busy DOING the work of teaching choral music, why not join one or more of these organizations and put them to work for you?  The benefits include conferences, workshops, resources, information, publications, performance opportunities, awards, scholarships, networking opportunities, job listings, and much more!  Particularly in these troubling budgetary times, I believe the following professional organizations are worthy of your consideration:

SCVA, of course, is the local organization designed to advance vocal music at all grade levels in the schools of Southern California.

American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), which was actually modeled after SCVA, is the premier organization for choral conductors nationwide.

Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and California Music Educators Association (CMEA) are geared toward school choral, instrumental and general music programs. and

The California Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE), part of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network,  is a significant, effective arts advocacy organization. and

The websites mentioned above have links to other sites that you may want to investigate.  Also, if you know of other outstanding professional organizations that should be recommended to our membership, just let me know!

Part II – Musical Offerings
If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for good new repertoire or good old repertoire that’s new to you!  I’d like to start featuring members’ favorite selections in future issues of the newsletter.  Let’s start with music appropriate for treble choirs (Unison, 2-part, SA/SSA, etc.)  Please e-mail me with your top 5 pieces in this category and I’ll publish a list in the next “Musical Offerings.”  Please include title, composer/arranger, publisher, octavo #, voicing, who the piece is appropriate for (e.g., high school, middle school, elementary) and any other comments you think would be helpful.


Fall In-Service – Mark Henson, Past President
Greetings all!  I'm excited to tell you about the upcoming Fall In-Service and I hope that many of you are planning to attend.  This year's event includes a variety of presentations which will be beneficial to all.

Dr. Iris Levine of Cal Poly Pomona, and director of the well-known Vox Femina Master Chorale, will present a  choral reading session featuring pieces  that "every choral director should know."  Many of our members have requested a reading session including "tried and true" repertoire as opposed to simply offering literature which is newly published.  New teachers will experience a variety of great pieces, and veterans will enjoy getting reacquainted with several choral favorites.

SCVA Board Member and Vocal Jazz Specialist Matt Falker will present a session on starting and building a Vocal Jazz ensemble in your choral program.  The session will feature a performance by the Fullerton Jazz Singers of Cal State Fullerton under Matt's direction.  Techniques for encouraging Jazz interest among your students, choosing appropriate repertoire, teaching Jazz style, etc. will be presented.  The session will include a packet of Vocal Jazz arrangements, warm-ups, and stylistic tips.

Lori Marie Rios will conduct the La Caņada High School Men's Chorus and share the techniques that led to her success in building a large men's choral group at her school.  Those of us who conduct all-male choirs know what a rewarding experience it can be, and what an asset a men's choir can be to your choral program.

Members who are wishing to be-come certified SCVA adjudicators will receive an introduction to the adjudication process and will then complete sample adjudications of our special guest groups - Travis Ranch Middle School Vocal Ensemble under the direction of Erin Girard and the La Caņada High School Chamber Singers under the direction of Lori Marie Rios.  Whether or not you are going through the certification process, I'm sure you will enjoy the performances of these fine choirs. If you are interested in becoming an SCVA Certified Adjudicator or just want to sit in and observe how the process works, please check the appropriate box on the registration form that follows.

Certified Alexander Instructor Debby Jay will present an introduction to Alexander Technique which deals with body awareness, alignment and relaxation for singers, instrumentalists, and conductors.  You will come away with several techniques which you can begin using immediately to create a more relaxed rehearsal and performance environment for you and your students, and to decrease the tension and strain which often accompanies a full day of choral teaching.

Interest sessions will include level-specific teacher roundtables where everything from fundraising to transportation to recruiting to repertoire will be discussed.  Come with lots of questions and lots of success stories to share!

The In-Service officially begins at 9 a.m. but you'll want to arrive early for check-in and coffee-juice-pastry social time.  There will be a lunch break of slightly more than an hour, and we expect to conclude by 3:30 p.m.  The venue for the day will be Placentia Presbyterian Church located at 849 N. Bradford Avenue in Placentia.

Does this sound great?  YES!  Come to be inspired and motivated!  The registration form follows.  I plan to send final confirmation, schedule, directions, etc. via email, so be sure to include this information.  Please complete and return your registration by October 12.  Copy the form and pass it on to a friend so you can introduce your colleagues to our organization - the only one dedicated to supporting choral music education in Southern California for over 60 years!  I look forward to seeing you on October 22.

In-Service Registration Form


Vocal Jazz Festival – Matt Falker, VP – Jazz Choir

I am excited to be the new Vocal Jazz Rep for SCVA! I currently direct vocal jazz ensembles at Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, and also Orange County High School of the Arts. I have a Bachelor’s in Jazz Piano from Western Michigan and a Master’s in Jazz Voice from USC. My goals as Vocal Jazz Rep are to encourage high school vocal jazz educators to network, provide resources to directors (especially for those just starting their choir or wanting to start one!), and to resurrect the Fall Vocal Jazz Festival.

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 also presenting clinics on relevant topics. This year’s Fall Vocal Jazz Festival will be Friday, November 5th at the Orange County High School of the Arts in Santa Ana. The festival is open to all levels; novice through advanced. Performance times will be approximately 25 minutes in length, including set up and sound check. We recommend 10-15 minutes of singing and the remainder of your time will be used for an on-stage clinic. An application follows on the next page of this newsletter.

Time:                9:30am – 2:30pm (may change slightly based on number of groups participating)
Location:          Orange County High School of the Arts, 101 N Main Street, Santa Ana
Equipment        18 microphones
provided:          Piano
                        Drumset and cymbals
                        Bass amp
                        Rhythm section players (if you don’t have your own)
Deadline to Apply:        October 20, 2004
Cost:    $75.00 First Choir; $25.00 Additional Choirs
Please note: No cash or personal checks accepted.
Payment may be made by school/booster club check, money order or PayPay.  If paying using PayPal, please include your confirmation slip with your application.

I will be conducting a vocal jazz clinic at the October 22 SCVA Fall In-Service. I will focus on how to start that vocal jazz ensemble you’ve wanted to add to your program as well as how to develop your young ensemble once you’ve started. The session will feature a performance by the Fullerton Jazz Singers from Cal State Fullerton, an ensemble in its fifth year of existence. Other topics covered will be: where to get vocal jazz music, how to address issues of equipment and a rhythm section, the technical alterations needed to sing jazz and recommended listening. I hope to see you there!


2004 VOCAL SOLO COMPETITION – Colleen Kennedy, VP Vocal Solo Competition

Congratulations to this year’s SCVA Vocal Solo Competition winners, who performed at the Jr High/Middle School Honor Choir concert on Sunday May 16, 2004:

Jr High/Middle School Winner
Madelyn Ross, John Adams Middle School

High School Winners
6th place – Jennifer Lehmer, Tesoro High School
5th place – Ryan Antal, Fountain Valley High School
4th place – Katherine Pynoos, Harvard-Westlake School
3rd place – Katherine Cole, Harvard-Westlake School
2nd place – Ryan Crane, Lutheran High School of Orange County
1st place – Karina White, Fullerton Union High School

I want to thank our colleagues who hosted the preliminary round at their sites, without whom this event would not be possible: Jennifer Stanley, Arroyo High School; Mary Purdy, Canyon High School; Scott Hedgecock, Fullerton Union High School; Patricia Trevor, Goddard Middle School; Rodger Guerrero, Harvard-Westlake School; John Byun, Murrieta Valley High School; and Brenda Nowak, Yorba Middle School. I was particularly pleased to see a couple of middle schools get in on the action. Kudos to Patricia and Brenda! Also, special thanks go to Chapman University for providing facilities for the semi-final round. Finally, thank you to Debbie Montpas, VP for the Jr High/Middle School Honor Choir, for organizing the performance for the finalists on May 16, and to Cecile Blanchard who hosted the event at John Adams Middle School.

I must also thank the wonderful adjudicators who shared their talent and wisdom with our young singers. Preliminary round: Dr. Nicole Baker, Alvin Brightbill, Rhonda Dillon, Suzanne Harmon, Dr. Susan Kane, Timothy MacDougall and Donna Nesheim. Semi-final round: Peter Atherton and Margaret Dehning.

Some members expressed disappointment that there wasn’t a site more convenient for their singers. This year, please volunteer to host! We’re all very busy in January, wrapping up the fall semester and recuperating from the busy holiday season, but hosting the solo competition is a cinch. All you need to do is make your choir room available for a few hours on a Saturday morning, shuffle a few papers, and the rest is done for you. I call it “competition in a bag.”

Also keep in mind that we need at least 20 singers at each site in order to cover the price of adjudicators, scholarships and other operational costs. Contact colleagues in your area and urge them to get their students involved so that we can provide a site closer to your students. We could especially use more sites (and participants!) in the far south, far north, South Bay and West L.A. areas. Why let everyone else have all the fun (not to mention the scholarship money for your students)?!?

Please pass along an extra-special thank you to all of your singers who participated last year, some of whom drove hours just for the chance to compete. These young people epitomize the dedication to learning and commitment to excellence that we hope to instill in all of our students.

Application Information
Participation is open to both junior high/middle school and high school students, though the two levels do not compete against each other. The application fee remains at $20. This fee is non-refundable. Applications must be accompanied by a school check or money order payable to SCVA. Please, no purchase orders, personal checks, or cash. If you prefer, you can now pay online by visiting and selecting e-Payments. Make sure that applicants note the title and composer of the piece on each application. If it becomes necessary to change the selection, they can notify the site host. Each applicant needs to include with his application a self-addressed envelope for notification. Participants must be active members in a choral ensemble. Church, temple, and community groups meet this requirement. Finally, directors/ teachers must be current members of SCVA, having paid their 2004-05 dues, in order for their students to participate. If you aren’t, please contact Shawn Taylor, complete the membership application included in the SCVA newsletter, or visit

Performance Information
Each participant will sing one selection of a classical nature (art song or aria). Singers will be given a total of 8 minutes to perform and work with the adjudicator. I can’t emphasize this enough - singers must provide their own skilled accompanists for the preliminary and final rounds. An accompanist will only be provided for the final concert performance. The preliminary and final rounds will take the form of master classes, which will last approximately 3 to 4 hours, including breaks. Participants are expected to check in before the master class starts and remain until the end to receive their certificates and adjudication forms. Please remind participants to make sure that they are available for all dates and times before completing the application. Also, please either avoid scheduling a gig for your choir on the same day that any of your students is slated to sing in the competition, or excuse those students from the gig. Singers arriving and leaving throughout the class can be distracting.

Up to five finalists may be selected from each preliminary site at the high school level, with one junior high/middle school finalist to be selected from each site. NB: Singers selected to continue to the final round may either perform their selection from the preliminary round or prepare another. At the final round, the judges will select six high school winners and one junior high/middle school winner. The high school winners will consist of the two best female singers, the two best male singers, and the next two best singers at the judges’ discretion. Final placement of the high school winners will be announced at the Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir concert.

Dates to Remember
- Applications postmarked no later than Saturday December 11, 2004
- Preliminary rounds (various sites): 9am - 1:30pm, Saturday January 15, 2005
- Final round (site TBD): 9am - 2:30pm, Saturday March 5, 2005
- Scholarships awarded after final performances at the Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir concert, Sunday May 15, 2005 (time TBD)
- Mail applications to: Colleen Kennedy, Vocal Solo Competition, 3425 Jasmine Ave  #1, Los Angeles, CA  90034

Vocal Solo Competition Application


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). 

Sightsinging adjudication and sightsinging 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


Holiday Harmony at the Shrine Auditorium - An Invitation To Sing
Mark Freedkin, SPEBSQSA Liason

The Southern California Chapters of the Barbershop Harmony Society (SPEBSQSA), in conjunction with the Al Malaikah Shrine Temple of Los Angeles, are pleased to present Holiday Harmony. On Sunday, Dec. 5th at 2:30 pm, this rather unique and special musical event will take place at the historic Shrine Auditorium near the campus of U.S.C.

This event has been made possible due to the generous donation of the venue that for years was the home of the Academy Awards presentations. It has the largest stage in the western United States, along with an auditorium that seats 6,000. The show is free to all attendees and will feature one of the largest all male choruses ever assembled, singing a selection of Yuletide favorites.

A unique feature of this a cappella musical event is the massed chorus made up of guest singers ranging in age from 8 to 80. Local Southern California Chapters of the Barbershop Harmony Society are inviting all male singers who would like to experience the excitement and joy of entertaining an audience, which could number up to 6,000, to be a part of this event.

All southern California vocal music educators are encouraged to extend this invitation to their male students. Nearby Barbershop Harmony Chapters will be holding a series of two or three rehearsals prior to the event so the guests can rehearse the four songs that they will sing as part of the giant chorus. All participants will also have the opportunity to be a part of the audience as they are entertained by five-time International Chorus Champion, the Masters of Harmony and two outstanding award winning quartets, The Perfect Gentlemen and Metropolis.

The songs that will be sung in four-part harmony by the massed chorus of guest singers and Barbershop Harmony Society members include: Jingle Bells, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, We Wish You A Merry Christmas and the two song medley Jolly Old St. Nicholas and Up On the House-Top. Practice tapes and sheet music is available for the guest singers. We hope that many of the music educators will also be there to sing along with their students. Student singers are encouraged to request free tickets for family and friends. This event promises to become an annual affair if the inaugural performance accomplishes its goal of presenting a vocal music gift to the southern California public.

Here's how you and your male students can  participate in this event:

Independent Rehearsals: You have interested male students sign up and commit to the rehearsals and performance. You contact Warren Willard by email,, requesting learning tapes and the songbook Yuletide Favorites containing the four songs. You arrange for rehearsals and audition and approve those singers who show reasonable skill in words and notes for the four songs being sung.

You should e-mail Warren Willard no later than Nov. 10th and advise how many singers will participate and how many tickets for audience members you need. Be sure to advise students that the tickets are free to all attendees. Singing students will not need tickets.

Rehearsals at Barbershop Harmony Society Chapters. Announce the event to your male singers and invite them to participate. Female singers are invited to be members of the audience. Select one or more of the Barbershop Harmony Chapters nearest your school and provide the contact information to your male students. Have an ap-pointed student leader communicate with the chosen contact at the preferred rehearsal site for rehearsal schedules and additional details. The student leader then passes on that information to the interested singers. The student leader handles all further communication to fellow singers regarding rehearsal times and locations and requests for tickets.  The student leader also checks in with Warren Willard by email so additional information may be communicated.


Chapter                       Contact                       Telephone                   Email                          
Dana Point                   Dick Dickey                 949-492-1498   
Irvine                            Bob Cossentine            949-586-0796   
Laguna Hills                  Warren Willard            949-369-7384   
Orange (City of)           Dave Gryvnak              714-288-0196   
Pomona Valley             Chuck Mason               909-983-7661   
Rancho Bernardo         James Larkin                858-578-2753   
San Fernando               Tom Raffety                 818-997-0468   
Santa Clarita                David Norman              661-259-6109   


Other Important Information
SCVA Membership Application
Festival Host Application Form