SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) – October 2007


Message from the President – Mark Henson

I hope you are all enjoying an exciting and smooth start of the choral year. I look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming Fall In-service and invite you to spread the word to your colleagues.  Don’t miss this opportunity to exchange ideas, discover new techniques, and to become acquainted with others in our profession.

High School Honor Choir registration is complete and auditions are now underway.  It appears that our new online registration process is a success and will definitely help to streamline the management of this large event.  Thank you to everyone for making this transition with us, as well as for encouraging your students to take advantage of this meaningful opportunity.  We anticipate another outstanding Honor Choir concert.

Best wishes as we continue into the holiday season.  As always, please feel free to contact me or any member of the Executive Board if we may be of help to you.

Quotations from grade school essays on Classical music:
“Agnus Dei was a woman composer famous for her church music.”
“A virtuoso is a musician with real high morals.”
“Refrain means don’t do it.  A refrain in music is the part you better not try to sing.”
“I know what a sextet is, but I’d rather not say.”
“My very best liked piece is the bronze lullaby.”
“Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English.  He was rather large.”
“Probably the most marvelous fugue was between the Hatfields and the McCoys.”
“Music sung by two people at the same time is called a duel.”
“Henry Purcell is a well-known composer few people have ever heard of.”
“A harp is a nude piano.”
“Anyone who can read all the notes at the same time gets to be the conductor.”


Vocal Jazz – Jamie Shew, VP, Jazz Choir
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 workshops on a variety of topics.  This year, the SCVA Fall Vocal Jazz Festival will be held in the Wilshire Auditorium at Fullerton College on December 1st.  This all-day event will end with a very special concert featuring Fullerton College’s premiere Vocal Jazz Ensemble, “J Train,” “VJ2”, and a variety of aspiring jazz vocalists from the Advanced Vocal Styling class.  Please put this date on your calendar!!!  The festival is open to all levels, novice through advanced.  The fee is a minimal $150 and festival participants will enjoy FREE admission to the evening concert as well as daytime improvisation and vocal styling workshops with our outstanding vocal jazz clinicians. Festival registration forms are available for printing on the SCVA website.

If you have any question regarding the festival and concert, have some parenting advise (I’m a new mom as of July 25th!), or you just want to chat, please contact Jamie at

More California 2007-2008 Vocal Jazz Festivals/Workshops to consider……….
*November 1, 2007 – Fullerton HS Vocal Jazz Festival, Fullerton, CA
*November 2-3—Cuesta College Vocal Jazz Workshop, San Luis Obispo, CA
*December 1—SVCA Vocal Jazz Festival at Fullerton College, Fullerton, CA
*January 26 – Folsom Jazz Festival, Folsom, CA
*March 7-8 – Columbia College Vocal Jazz Festival, Sonora, CA
*March 14-15 – Oceanside Jazz Festival (Mira Costa College), Oceanside, CA
*March 28—Val Verde Jazz Festival at Rancho Verde H.S., Riverside, CA
*April 4-5—Fullerton College Jazz Festival, Fullerton, CA
(Sorry for my shameless plug!!!  We are continuing the 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!)
*April 19—Royal HS Vocal Jazz Festival

Don’t forget about the CMEA/IAJE All-State Jazz Honor Choir Auditions – log onto and click on honor groups.
Deadline is October 31st!!!!!!

Vocal Jazz Festival Application


2007 Fall In-Service – Grace Sheldon-Williams, Past President

You won’t want to miss the annual SCVA Fall In-Service at Placentia Presbyterian Church on Friday, October 26, beginning at 9 a.m.  This year’s workshop will feature several valuable sessions, including an Adjudicator Certification Workshop.  The workshop will include a clinic led by an experienced adjudicator who will walk prospective adjudicators through the process before they are asked complete an adjudication sheet for certification.   Once again, if you are interested in becoming an SCVA festival adjudicator, this workshop is the first step in that process.  Our two outstanding guest choirs are from Jordan Middle School in Burbank (Christine DeMore, director) and Crescenta Valley High School in La Crescenta (Tammi Alderman, director.)

Also not to be missed is our headliner, Dr. Joshua Haberman from San Francisco State University.  Josh is a wonderful conductor and clinician (and awesome person) who will offer us insights into teaching choral music along with a selection of usable literature.

The workshop will also feature a session on training the adolescent voice led by Charlotte Smurthwaite.  Charlotte will focus on techniques and materials particularly appropriate for elementary and middle school singers.  In addition, our SCVA Vocal Jazz VP, Jamie Shew, will lead us in a session on Vocal Jazz choirs.  Finally, I will lead a reading session of quality literature in various voicings for developing choirs.

Please spread the word about this exciting day to your colleagues.  We also encourage college Music Ed. majors to attend, so we urge you to contact any students who are on their way to becoming future choral educators.  The Fall In-Service has something for everyone at all levels.

News Flash!  You can register and pay online or do it the old-fashioned way and send in the form below with your check.  No purchase orders, please.

On-Line Fall In-Service Application


Hosting a Festival is a Great Experience
Jennifer Stanley, VP of High School Festivals
Maria Fritts, VP of Junior High/Middle School 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


Vocal Solo Competition – Colleen Kennedy, VP - Vocal Solo Competition

After a two-year absence, I’m pleased to be back on the SCVA Board organizing this year’s Vocal Solo Competition. My thanks to Rodger Guerrero and Robbie Riddle for stepping up and running the competition during that time.

I believe very strongly in the benefits of solo performance. I have found that in my ensembles, solo singing by individual chorus members improves the sound of my whole group. Singers who prepare solos become more independent as musicians. They also become more aware of their own tone quality and the effort required to maintain consistently beautiful tone. And last, but not least, successful solo singing builds confidence.

Let me tell you about Julian Hicks (with his parents’ permission). Julian was a high school senior who had never really sung before. A teacher heard him sing and suggested that he apply for the SCVA Vocal Solo Competition, so on a lark, he prepared a song and was selected to continue on to the final round. He performed so well at the finals that he was ultimately selected as one of the 2006-07 high-school finalists. Now he’s thinking about studying voice in college, all because of our competition! And Julian isn’t the only one. I’ve heard from other directors over the years about singers who have blossomed as a result of their solo competition experiences. I’ve seen it with my own students.

The emphasis of the solo competition is on learning. The adjudicators focus on the master-class aspect of the competition, working with each singer individually and offering helpful, encouraging feedback. The atmosphere is relaxed, friendly and supportive. All ability levels are welcome. If your students need a more tangible reason to participate, SCVA awards scholarships to the six high school finalists and the junior high/middle school winner.

Participation in this competition can be a life-altering experience for these singers. Please encourage your students to participate. Don’t let them miss out on this incredible event.

Application Info
Participation is open to students in both junior high/middle school (grades 6 – 8) and high school (grades 9 – 12), although the two levels do not compete against each other. The non-refundable application fee remains $20. Applications must be accompanied by a school check or money order payable to SCVA. You can also pay online by visiting and selecting e-Payments. Include the e-Payment receipt with your application. Please, no purchase orders, personal checks or cash. Each applicant should also include a self-addressed envelope with the application for notification.

Participants must be active members of a choral group. Religious and community choruses meet this requirement. The application must be signed by the choral director to confirm chorus membership. If the choral director is not a member of SCVA, then both the choral director and an SCVA member/sponsor must sign the application. Directors or sponsors must be current members of SCVA, having paid their 2007-08 dues, in order for their students to participate. If your membership isn’t current, complete the membership application included in this SCVA newsletter, or complete the online membership application.

New This Year
 - Applicants can choose from among twelve preliminary round sites throughout Southern California.
 - NOTE: There may be an additional site in south Orange County – to be confirmed

Performance Info
Each participant will sing one classical piece (art song or aria). Selections should be appropriate to the singer’s experience level. Participants will have a total of 8 minutes to perform and work with the adjudicator. Singers must provide their own skilled accompanists for the preliminary and final rounds. (Keep costs down by sharing an accompanist.)

The preliminary and final rounds are in master-class format, lasting 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. Singers arriving and leaving throughout the class can be extremely disruptive.

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

Dates to Remember:
 - Applications submitted/postmarked no later than Saturday December 8, 2007
 - Preliminary rounds (various sites, see application): 9:00am – 1:00pm, Saturday January 12, 2008
 - Final round (site TBD): 9am – 2:00pm, Saturday March 8, 2008
 - Finalists perform at the Jr. High/Middle School Honor Choir concert Sunday May 4, 2008

Mail applications to: Colleen Kennedy, SCVA Vocal Solo Competition, 3425 Jasmine Ave  #1, Los Angeles, CA  90034

On-Line Vocal Solo Competition Application (under construction)


Honor Choirs Need Your Help – Rodger Guerrero, VP - High School Honor Choirs

Approximately 250 students will be descending on Valencia High School in Placentia for the High School Honor Choirs rehearsal on Saturday, October 27th.   And on November 16th and 17th, Honor Choir Weekend, they will once again gather at Santa Monica High School for two days of intense rehearsal which will culminate in another spectacular SCVA Honor Choirs Concert on Saturday evening.  They will bring so many parents, siblings, friends and classmates with them that the concert hall will be absolutely packed!

Although working with and managing the three choirs during rehearsals is great fun, it is also incredibly challenging.  With the singer to teacher ratio anywhere from 1:50 to 1:100, the odds are daunting that we can manage to remain sane throughout the weekend!  Honestly, a great deal of help is needed.  Tammi and I so much appreciate all of the help teachers give us with the adjudication process, and we don’t want to overtax your goodwill.  But to those of you who have students audition for the Honor Choirs (even if they don’t make it)…HELP!  Even if it’s only for an hour or so, we still need you.  It’s not glamorous work (and some of it isn’t pretty) but it all needs to get done.

We especially look forward to accepting help from directors whose students audition successfully for one or more of the choirs.  We realize how thankful you are and know that you want to show your students how much it means to you that they are there. We are confident that you will contact one of us and ask how you can help!   Please give us some of your time.

Thank you so much, in advance!


Call For New Adjudicators - Chris Hall, Executive Vice President


Would you like to become an adjudicator?  The Fall Workshop has a session for all interested teachers and college professors who would like to be certified as future festival adjudicators.  Even if you’re not sure about adjudicating, the session gives valuable information and training for choral directors regarding what the adjudicators are looking and listening for in choral festivals.

Do you know of someone you feel would make an outstanding adjudicator?  Email their name and any other contact information you have for them to me and I’ll contact them.  Good adjudication assists our students and directors in furthering strong and valuable music education in Southern California.  Thank you for helping SCVA help you.


Junior High Honor Choir – Tony Azeltine, VP - JR/MS Honor Choir

Mark your calendars with the Junior High Honor Choir events:
January 19 and 26, Saturdays:  Honor Choir Auditions
April 12, 26 and May 3:           Honor Choir Rehearsals
May 4:                                     Honor Choir Concert
                                                3:30 PM at Alhambra High School

We are pleased to announce that this year’s conductor will be Dr. Ricardo Soto of Orange Coast College!

Please encourage your 9th graders to audition for the Junior High Honor Choir 2008. Their presence makes the difference!

If you would you consider hosting or adjudicating for the Junior High Honor Choir auditions, please email or call me. We could sure use the help!


Men and Women Singers – Ron Soderwall, VP – Young Men's Clinic

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 2008 at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.  Be sure to mark you calendar now with these dates:

  Young Women in Harmony "Diva Day" Festival - February 2, 2008
Young Men's Harmony Festival
- February 23, 2008

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 multiplies 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 November issue of the SCVA newsletter 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?

For additional information, please contact Karen Ridout ( for the Women's festival or Mark Freedkin ( for the Men's festival.


Website Update - Mark Freedkin, SCVA Webmaster

Honor Choir Audition Applications
We successfully completed the first on-line application process for High School Honor Choir auditions.  Despite a few minor technical glitches, we were able to receive and process 480 applications with much greater speed and accuracy than had ever been possible in the past.

The most challenging problem that we faced was related to the transmission of the automated e-mail message that allowed each director to approve the audition application from one or more of his or her students.  In some cases, multiple e-mail addresses were used for each director, which resulted in some mis-matches and duplication of information that needed to be entered.  This can be solved in the future by having our directors standardize on a single e-mail address for all of their students to use.  In other cases, the e-mail servers at some school districts incorrectly filtered the automated e-mail messages as suspected SPAM (unsolicited junk e-mail) and prevented the proper delivery of those messages.  This can be solved in the future by asking your computer network administrators to allow any e-mail message from (or having a return address of to be delivered without filtering.  In still other cases, some students incorrectly typed their director's e-mail address, which prevented those messages from being delivered at all.  I was able to intercept those errors, update the database and re-send the messages from my own e-mail account.  Since the director's e-mail address is such a vital link in the on-line application process, please encourage your students to be extra diligent when entering that information in the future.

How to Save Money When Using PayPal
When using PayPal to pay the application or participation fees for multiple students, you can minimize the processing fees by adding the desired item to your Shopping Cart only one time, and then specify a quantity larger than one for that one item.  You should not add the same item to your Shopping Cart multiple times (once for each student), since that will result in a larger processing fee added to you total transaction.

Going Forward
We will continue to improve the services that are available through our website, including additional on-line registration mechanisms for various SCVA events.  If you have any comments, questions or problems with any of the pages on our website, please contact Mark Freedkin at


Other Important Information
On-Line SCVA Membership Application