AVA: Fall Updates and Reminders

Greetings!

I hope you all have had a wonderful summer and have enjoyed some time to rest and prepare for this year. I enjoyed seeing many of you in July at the ACDA Summer Conference in Tuscaloosa. I especially enjoyed connecting again with this past year’s All-State Middle School Mixed choir clinician, Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, and hearing everything he had to share with us. I left the conference refreshed and ready to jump head-first into the school year. If you have never attended this conference, I encourage you to do so in the future. It always gets me back in “school mode” and excited to start back. Thank you to the Alabama ACDA leadership for organizing and providing great sessions and social events.

NAfME Membership

If you have not already done so, please renew your NAfME membership. In order to log onto the website to register for AVA events, your membership must be current.

AVA Mailing List Sign-Up

In addition to having a current NAfME membership, the AVA also requires annual sign-up on the AVA mailing list in order to receive communications. All directors must complete this even if there have been no changes since the previous school year. The link to sign up for the mailing list is on the AVA website at www.myamea.org/ava. Please make sure to complete this as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss any important information.

Summer Board Decisions and Changes for 2019-2020

The AVA had another productive meeting this summer to plan for this year. I will be talking in more detail at Fall Workshop about some of the decisions that were made, but here are a few highlights:

● We will continue with our usual in-person auditions for this year’s All-State auditions. No changes will be made at this time, though we are still considering moving to recorded auditions in the future.

● The All-State Festival registration fee was increased to $35 to account for increased costs due to moving our festival to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

● The All-State Show Choir Festival will be held during the AMEA Conference this year and will not perform during the All-State Choral Festival. As decided by the membership at our All-State General Membership Meeting, ASSC students are no longer required to audition for the All-State Choral Festival.

● The SCPA Adjudication Rubric was reevaluated and the point spread for each rating was adjusted slightly. The new point range for a superior rating is 74-88.

● The SPCA Adjudication Form was changed to include the Auxiliary Information Form. Each directorwill now complete the auxiliary form as part of the adjudication form in order to provide the adjudicators with background information about the choirs.

● The Sight-Reading Rubric was changed in order to include a dotted-quarter note at the Advanced Middle School/ Intermediate High School levels.

2019-2020 AVA Events

Please visit the AVA website to find the dates for all events for the year. Be aware now of all registration deadlines and plan ahead to avoid paying any late fees.

Fall Workshop

Our next event will be the Fall Workshop at Huntingdon College on Friday, September 6. I am so excited that this past year’s High School All-State Choir clinician, Derrick Fox from the University of Nebraska- Omaha, will be joining us. We will also have All-State music information sessions, mini break-out sessions, and our General Membership Meeting. Registration is now open on the AVA website. I hope to see you all there!

Thank you for taking the time to read about our organization. I would like to encourage you not only to read but to also “jump in” and serve where you are able. We all bring different areas of strength to this organization and are all needed in order to best function. As I begin my final year as AVA President and sixth year on the board, I can truly say that serving our organization is worthwhile, rewarding, and fun. Thank you to everyone who has helped out, even in ways that may seem insignificant. I can assure you that no task is too small or not appreciated.

Please let me know if I can be of service to you in any way or if you have any questions or suggestions about our organization. You may email me at meg.jones.ava@gmail.com.

I wish you all the best for the starts of your school year and I look forward to seeing you all at the Fall Workshop!

Sincerely,

Meg Jones

AVA: News From AVA

All-State
Thank you again to everyone who contributed to making this year’s All-State Choral Festival a success. This event would not be possible without so many of you being willing to serve. I hope the festival was a wonderful experience for your students and that they brought their enthusiasm back to your choir rooms.
Thank you also to Eric Mathis and Kenny Gannon for their help in hosting us at Samford University again this year. We have loved our years of All-State on their beautiful campus.

Fall Workshop
We had a wonderful time this past year at Huntingdon College and we are so excited to return there this fall! We are also so thrilled to have Dr. Derrick Fox, who conducted the SATB choir at this year’s All-State, return to Alabama as our Fall Workshop clinician. I enjoyed getting to watch Dr. Fox work with our students and I believe he will bring some great insight and motivation to us this fall. Please go ahead and mark your calendars for September 6 and make plans to join us!

In my follow-up email from All-State, I mentioned that we are interested in continuing our mini break-out sessions at Fall Workshop. If you have anything you would like to present or if you have ideas for sessions, please let me know.

AMEA
We will be returning to Montgomery for this year’s AMEA Professional Development Conference. Our guest clinician will be Dr. Tim Seelig who serves as Artistic Direction or the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. Dr. Seelig is also the author of The Perfect Blend, The Perfect Rehearsal, The Perfect Choral Workbook, The Music Within and Quick Fixes. I’m looking forward to hear what Dr. Seelig has in store for us!

Please consider submitting to present a session or to have your choir perform at the conference. The deadline to apply is June 1 and the application may be found on the AMEA website under the “Conference” tab under “Information.” We have continued including recordings of your SCPA performances for you to use for the performance application.

Honor Choir
During this year’s AMEA Professional Development Conference, we will have our Honor Choir Festival for 10th-12th grade students. Dr. Deanna Joseph from the Georgia State School of Music will be joining us as our clinician. Instead of selecting students based on district screenings on the Honor Choir music, students will be selected on their sight-reading ability, as this year’s choir will be a sight-reading choir. Directors may nominate up to two balanced quartets consisting of their best sight-readers.

ASSC
Thank you so much to you all for your input and thoughtful consideration about the future of All-State Show Choir. At All-State, the membership voted to remove the requirement that ASSC students participate in the All-State Choral Festival. We will continue to evaluate the purpose and effectiveness of this event in the future. Thank you to Jane Powell who has graciously served as our Show Choir Coordinator for numerous years. We are so very grateful to her and her efforts in making ASSC a meaningful and memorable experience for our students! For 2020, Ginny Coleman will be assuming the role of Show Choir Coordinator. Please contact Ginny if you would like to assist or serve in any capacity with the ASSC festival.

Summer Board
This year’s Summer Board meeting will be held on June 3-5. If you have feedback or any items you would like me to add to our agenda for discussion and review during our meeting, please provide that to me through written feedback prior to June 1. You may do that by emailing me at presidentofava@gmail.com or by completing the membership survey that was sent out during and after All-State.

I hope you all have a wonderful summer and are able to find some time to reflect on this school year and to rest and refocus for this coming fall. If I can be of help to you in any way, please let me know.

I look forward to seeing you all at Fall Workshop!

Meg

AVA: News and Updates

AMEA Conference

It was so great to see so many of you at the AMEA Conference. While I always love going to concerts and sessions, some of my favorite moments of our conferences and workshops are in conversations with my colleagues. It’s always a time for me to reconnect and remind myself that I am not in this alone. Being the only teachers of our disciplines at our schools can feel like being on an island, so coming together with other choral directors always leaves me encouraged and renewed.

Congratulations and thank you to all of this year’s performing ensembles. It was obvious that there were tremendous amounts of hard work and thoughtful planning behind all of the performances. Your choirs made me smile, moved me to tears, and inspired me. Thank you for going above and beyond to share your music with all of us.

Also, thank you to our session presenters. We had a great variety of topics and it was great to have several of our own AVA directors presenting in addition to our invited clinician, Dr. Lori Hetzel. Please consider applying to present a session next year. You all are doing great things in your classrooms and we can all benefit from learning from each other!

Next year, the AMEA conference will be returning to Montgomery. We are exploring some great options for our concert sessions and so we hope you will apply to perform. We are again providing recordings of your SCPA performances as part of your registration and we hope you will take advantage of this and submit a performance application to AMEA.

All-State Auditions

Thank you to everyone for helping us test Acceptd as a potential platform for conducting auditions in the future. Before the All-State General Membership Meeting, please take a few minutes to reflect on the process. Ginny Coleman, Vice-President, will be sharing a survey with you all during the festival to gather your feedback. We would love to hear any of your thoughts and concerns.

All-State

This year’s All-State Festival is going to feature some wonderful music and clinicians. Please take a moment to read about the clinicians in this issue of the Ala Breve. You may also visit the AVA website to view the official All-State correspondence which contains rehearsal duties, the schedule, and more details. Thank you so much to all of you who have volunteered to serve in various capacities throughout the festival. It is a huge event and could not happen without your service.

All-State Show Choir

In the past several years, we have been modifying the ASSC festival and auditions in different ways in an effort to raise participation numbers. We have moved the festival date so as to not coincide with show choir season, have included 9th-grade students, and have conducted auditions by video to prevent schools from having to travel and miss school. Despite all of these efforts, our All-State Show Choir participation has not increased. I plan to make a motion at this year’s All-State General Membership Meeting to remove the requirement that ASSC students also make a traditional All-State Choir. Due to feedback on recent surveys, I know that our AVA members are split in their opinions regarding this requirement. Therefore, we anticipate needing to take a vote by ballot during the meeting. Please make every effort to attend the meeting to cast your vote.

SCPA

As SCPA approaches, please take a few minutes to read through the new guidelines and rubric. We are very excited about the new levels of sight reading that will hopefully encourage schools that have previously been hesitant about SCPA to participate. In addition to the new level guidelines, we also changed the Standing Rules to allow directors to establish tonality once at any time during the 5-minute study period. This will allow choirs who use audiation during the study period to audiate in the key of the sight-reading example.

Looking Ahead

During the All-State Festival, we will share a survey regarding event dates for next year. This survey was a great help to the District Chairmen last year in their planning. Please take some time before the festival to view your school calendar for next year and to prepare to share your requests with your District Chairman through the survey.

As always, we welcome any and all feedback from the membership. The AVA Board seeks to be transparent and to serve you all as best as we are able. Please contact me at presidentofava@gmail.com with any thoughts, concerns, or questions. I look forward to seeing you all in March!

Sincerely,

Meg Jones

AVA: Updates and Coming Events

Thank you to everyone who came to this year’s Fall Workshop, and thank you to Dr. Damion Womack and Huntingdon College for hosting us. I hope that you all were able to leave with some new strategies and ideas to use with your choirs and that you were able to enjoy some time visiting with your colleagues.

BYLAW CHANGE

At Fall Workshop, the membership voted to change the eligibility requirements for the Pat Blackwell Music Education Award to make them align with the Outstanding Choral Student requirements. Article XV, Section 15.2 of the AVA Bylaws now states:

In addition to the general eligibility requirements for AVA events listed in Article IV, each nominee for the Pat Blackwell Music Education Award must:

A. Have been a performing member of an All-State choir (SATB, TTBB, SSAA) the preceding year. B. Have been selected for the current year’s All-State choir.
C. Be a senior with an overall C average or above
D. Be in good standing with his/her school and choral department

E. Intend to major in choral music education in college. NEW SIGHT-READING GUIDELINES

AVA Vice-President Ginny Coleman proposed in 2016 that we reevaluate our sight-reading requirements to allow for varying levels of choirs. She appointed me to work with a committee to research other states’ guidelines and to involve the membership in creating new guidelines for us. The AVA board felt this was necessary because other disciplines are tested on various levels based on student

experience. The sight-reading committee chose to adopt the guidelines for levels Ginny had created, and with the help of the sight-reading committee, we created a chart that shows what will be expected of each level. In addition, we chose to allow beginning groups to read one voice-split less than their stage voicings. For example, a beginning SAB choir may choose to read a 2-pt example or a beginning TTB group may read a TB example. We just ask that each director write a rationale for the need on the judge’s sheet so that the judge will understand the necessity. For example, a 20-person beginning SAB group with only a few baritones might choose to read 2-pt. and would write on the form that they are reading 2-pt. due to the size of the choir, small number of baritones, and their level of experience.

As to what is expected of each level, we created our chart using the old AVA guidelines, so for most of our choirs, the level of difficulty will seem about the same. However, we believe these new guidelines will allow more beginning high school choirs and 1-2 grade junior high and high schools to
participate. We also felt there was a need for an advanced level. Until now, we have had 9th-grade schools, 9th-12th-grade schools with no feeder programs, and 9th-12th-grade schools with 6th-8th- grade feeder programs reading at the same level of difficulty.

Lastly, we updated our sight-reading procedures to allow for tonality to be established once during the 5-minute study period and again before each singing of the example. We know that many directors have their students audiate during the study time and would prefer them to audiate in the correct key. The new standing rules state that “Tonality may be established by playing the tonic or chord once at any point during the study period.”

The new sight-reading guidelines may be found in the revised General Membership Handbook on the AVA website.

ALL-STATE AUDITIONS

All-State auditions are fast approaching. Please be sure to read the All-State Audition Standing Rules before your audition date. Make certain that each of your students has the All-State Adjudication Form F2.2 complete with parent signature and song titles listed in audition order. The lists of song titles in audition order may be found on the AVA website. Also, every student will sing an excerpt from Ed Robertson’s arrangement of “Alabama” as part of the audition. This piece is not included in All-State music packets, so make sure your students each have an original copy of this piece and have learned it. This year, we are also having all directors submit two of their All-State auditionees singing “Alabama” through Acceptd.com. This will allow each school to interact with the service and to discover any concerns we may have in regards to using them in the future. After All-State auditions, please email me any questions or concerns while they are fresh on your mind so that we can discuss them at AMEA.

ASSC AUDITIONS

For this year’s auditions, each student will submit four vocal videos and two dance videos through Acceptd. For the vocal videos, students will sing along with the Matthew Curtis accompaniment tracks. For the dance portion, the choreography video will be online on YouTube one week prior to the submission deadline. Each student must submit a front-view and a back-view video so that the judges can make sure the students have the dance memorized. Students will need to sing their parts while dancing.

AMEA CONFERENCE

The 2019 AMEA Conference will be held January 17-19 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham. Our guest clinician will be Dr. Lori Hetzel from the University of Kentucky. She will be presenting sessions entitled “Unleashing the Power and Beauty of the Female Voice in a Choral Ensemble” and “Empowering the Treble Chorus with Quality Repertoire.” J.W. Pepper will also be sponsoring a reading session of repertoire chosen by Dr. Hetzel. In addition, we will have some wonderful concerts and sessions by choral directors and choirs in our state. I hope to see you all there!

 

AVA: Funnel Vision: My Challenge to You

Greetings!

I would like to open with a special memory from this past summer and a challenge for us all for this year. This summer, I had the great privilege of having lunch with Dr. Frances Moss; Dr. Moss’ church accompanist and former student at Calhoun College, Michelle West; and Shelli Rimes, director at Madison Academy and of the Huntsville Community Chorus Youth Chorale. Dr. Moss has been a music educator since 1962 and has served as past-president of both AVA and AMEA. She currently serves as Minister of Music and Laity at Austinville United Methodist Church in Decatur. I first met Dr. Moss at Carl Davis’ final concert as director of Decatur High School. Carl had invited her as a special guest, and he shared during the concert about how she had greatly influenced him to become a choral director. Prior to this, I only knew Dr. Moss by name, as I had watched for years as highly respected choral directors in our state were granted the Frances P. Moss Award in her honor during the All-State Choir concert.

During our lunch, I attempted to get Dr. Moss to tell me her background, at which point I was quickly told by Michelle that I would be hard-pressed to get Dr. Moss to talk about herself, as “Doc,” as she loving referred to her, is far too humble for that. I quickly understood what she meant. Dr. Moss spent the entire meal instead asking about my and Shelli’s choral programs and pouring encouragement into us. She was genuinely interested in our backgrounds and our futures. There was never a laundry list of items given about her accomplishments, though her accomplishments are many. Instead, we heard stories about past times in AVA and even listened as she still had ideas on how to serve the organization. We heard how Dr. Moss had completely changed Michelle’s life while she was in college by investing in her. Dr. Moss’ heart for her singers in her Chancel Choir, her congregation, her former students, and her friends is so very apparent. I left our lunch having been reminded that the relationships we build and the lives we change through our profession is the most important part – not our résumés, our titles, or our awards. Music is the medium through which we get to reach people and to bring beauty into the lives of others. What an amazing privilege and opportunity we have as choral directors!

My predecessor and mentor, Carl Davis, shared with me a quote that he’d once heard from Eph Ely. This quote hung in his office for years to serve as a reminder of what kind of director and person he strived to be. “Funnel vision – be interested in everyone and everything. Each day, make someone’s day better. Become someone to be reckoned with.” My challenge to myself and to you for this year is to have funnel vision! Let us not get so bogged down with deadlines and the pressures of receiving top scores that we forget to take time to know and love the human beings behind the voices we direct.

I also left my lunch with Dr. Moss with a newfound appreciation of how far our organization has come since her tenure as president. I encourage you all to go read about her on the AMEA website and to take time to reflect on where we’ve been and to be excited about where we are going as an organization. I am so thankful for all of the past-presidents like Dr. Moss that have come before me who have strived to better this organization through their service.
As you prepare for this year, please review the updates and reminders below.

SUMMER BOARD REPORT
I am honored to be serving with so many hard-working and forward-minded directors on the AVA Board. We had a very productive meeting this summer, and I would like to share a few of the decisions that were made. The AVA Board:

• Revised the AVA General Membership Handbook to reflect current policies and procedures.
• Reviewed the research conducted by the sight-reading committee and created revised guidelines to be implemented this year.
• Voted to use Acceptd for All-State Show Choir auditions this year in order to encourage more participation by alleviating travel and financial issues that are caused by having to travel for auditions.
• Decided to have two students from each school submit “Alabama” through Acceptd for All-State Choir auditions in order to test the program throughout the state.
• Revised the All-State audition form to a rubric-style format in order to clarify the process of scoring the students for the adjudicators and allow for more consistency in scores.

NAfME MEMBERSHIP and AVA DATABASE
Please be sure to renew your NAfME membership as soon as possible if you have not already done so. AVA members must also register annually in the AVA Database, which can be found by clicking on the “AVA Membership Enrollment” tab under the AVA Menu at www.myamea.org/ava. Your NAfME membership and AVA Database enrollment must be current to attend and/or participate in any AVA events, so renew and enroll today!

FALL WORKSHOP
Fall Workshop will be held on September 7th at Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Our guest clinician, Dr. Lesley Mann, Asst. Professor of Choral Music at Belmont University, will present two interest sessions and a reading session. Dr. William Powell, Paul Edmonson, Margaret Heron, and Jim Schaeffer will also present mini “how-to” sessions on gospel music, dealing with your administration, theory, and sight-reading, respectively. In addition, we will be sharing the revised sight-reading guidelines, demonstrating the process for submitting online auditions through Acceptd, and reviewing the All-State music packets.

AVA EVENTS
The 2018-2019 AVA Calendar of Events is posted on the AVA website and on page 39 of the Ala Breve. Visit the AVA website to also find a printable list of dates. With registration deadlines being as many as six weeks in advance of events, it is so easy for a deadline to sneak up on you. We all know how difficult it can be to obtain purchase orders and payments through school system bookkeeping departments quickly, so I encourage you to plan ahead for these deadlines now! Please send any questions, concerns, and/or ideas to presidentofava@gmail.com. I am hoping for a great year for you all!

Meg Jones, AVA President

 

 

AVA: END OF THE YEAR WRAP UP

Ginny Coleman

END OF THE YEAR WRAP UP

As the school year comes to a close, and my time as AVA President comes to an end, I have spent some time reflecting on the work that we have done over the past few years.  I am proud of the advances that our organization has made.  We have increased our efficiency through the use of technology, focused on our mission statement, and worked to reach out to the membership.  We have also looked closely at our policies and made improvements where necessary. Although we have made improvements, there will always be work to do, and I hope that you will also consider serving this organization that provides so many opportunities for your students.  I appreciate the opportunity to have served as AVA President for the past two years.  I am looking forward to continuing to serve in a different capacity.

ALL-STATE

It was so nice to see many of you at the All-State festival in March.  I appreciate all those who served as concert coordinator, choir coordinator, attendance monitor, or in any other capacity to be sure that everything ran smoothly.  I think that the students enjoyed their interaction with the conductors of the various choirs.  I was also pleased with the final performances.

We appreciate Samford University for once again hosting All-State.  Kenny Gannon, Tim Banks, and the staff at Samford were welcoming and helpful.  We look forward to being back in 2019.

AMEA SUBMISSIONS

I hope that the recordings you received from SCPA were helpful to you this year.  One of the reasons that we decided to begin recording each choir is so that each of you would have a high-quality recording in the event you decided to submit to perform at AMEA.  I am proud of the increase in submissions that we have had over the past several years. This increase has contributed to increased quality of performances.  If you are considering this, please know that the deadline is June 1.  You can find instructions on the AMEA website.

In addition, please also consider submitting to present a session if you have something of value to share.  We are always looking for new ideas!

AVA BOARD

As my tenure as president ends, and Meg Jones’ presidency begins, the AVA board will welcome five new members.  I encourage you to support Meg and the new board members.  Share your ideas and concerns with them.  The new AVA Governing Board will meet for our summer board meeting mid-June.  If you have any ideas or suggestions that you would like the board to consider during our meeting time, please submit in writing before the end of May.  We want to hear your ideas and suggestions for improvement.

FALL WORKSHOP

Please go ahead and mark your calendars for our 2018 AVA Fall Workshop!  As always, the workshop will be held on the Friday after Labor Day, which is September the 7th.  We will meet in Montgomery at Huntington College so that our colleagues in the north and south of the state can all save a hotel night if needed.

COMMUNICATION

Over the past several years, we have made an effort to provide the AVA membership with increased instructions and reminders about registration deadlines, etc.  We occasionally get questions about where to find information.  You should expect all information for all AVA events to be available on our website.  For example, if you are attending an SCPA in another district you should be able to get all information concerning the event you are attending from the AVA website. Let your district chairman know if you have difficulty accessing anything.

OUR MISSION

The AVA Board is continually striving to 1) maintain adherence to our mission statement and 2) improve our functionality. Along those lines, we have begun discussion about the following:

  • Streamlining the All-State audition process using available recording technology rather than sending 5 judges on a tour around the state
  • Modifying the All-State audition form to a rubric-style adjudication form
  • Modifying the sight-reading portion of SCPA to allow directors to choose an appropriate sight-reading example for their students based on students’ ability
  • The future of All-State Show Choir and how it fits into the structure of AVA
  • The future of Honor Choir and how it fits into the structure of AVA

We are interested in thoughtful, written feedback in the form of an email to me or anyone else on the AVA Board.  Please let us know if you have anything you would like to add to the conversation.  Your thoughts are welcome and appreciated.  You may send your questions, suggestions, or ideas to presidentofava@gmail.com.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve as AVA President.  And, thank you for taking the time to read about your professional association.  I am looking forward to seeing you in September!

Ginny

AVA: Thank you for your contributions to the AMEA Conference

Ginny Coleman

AMEA CONFERENCE

It was so nice to see many of you at our conference last month.  Despite the winter weather and the move to a new venue, we had a great turnout!  I appreciate all those who worked to be sure that everything ran smoothly.  Those who were in attendance enjoyed re-connecting with each other, sharing information, and attending sessions and concerts.  If you did not attend the AMEA conference this year, I encourage you to go ahead and make plans to do so next year.  The conference will be held January 17-19, 2019 at the BJCC.

I certainly enjoyed my interaction with Dan Davison at the AMEA conference.  I particularly appreciated his session on teaching the changing male voice.  I thought his reading session addressed content for various levels and included repertoire appropriate for our singers.  I encourage you to contact JW Pepper any time that you need literature as they provided the reading session booklets at no cost to AVA.  Other sessions covered a range of topics from sight-reading to authentic assessment.  If you have something new or interesting that you would like to share, I encourage you to submit to present at AMEA next year.

Congratulations to the students and directors who provided performances at the conference, including the AVA Honor Choir.  We encourage you to submit an application to perform.  Like last year, we will provide you with a recording of your SCPA performance as a part of your SCPA registration cost.  Our hope is that the recording will make it a little easier for you gather the materials needed for your application.

ALL-STATE FESTIVAL

We are looking forward to seeing you and your students who were chosen to be a member of an All-State Choir in March.  By the time that you read this article your All-State correspondence packet will be available on the AVA website from our president-elect Meg Jones.

We appreciate Samford University for once again hosting All-State.  Kenny Gannon, Tim Banks, and the staff at Samford have already begun working to be sure that our event is a success.  Thanks to everyone who has agreed to serve as a choir coordinator, assistant coordinator, or attendance monitor.  Your service is appreciated.

SCPA

In an effort to connect with our colleagues who are not plugged in with AVA, we are again offering a free registration initiative for State Choral Performance Assessment.  Directors may register one choir for free (school fee and student fees waived) if their school has not participated in SCPA in the past three years.  Please share with your colleagues who may be interested in taking advantage of this offer.

We are also pleased to be able to provide additional services this year during our SCPA event.  Each district chair will contract a recording engineer to record all choirs that perform at SCPA.  After SCPA is complete, each director will receive a copy of his/her ensemble’s recordings at no additional cost.

OUR MISSION

The AVA Board is continually striving to 1) maintain adherence to our mission statement and 2) improve our functionality.  Along those lines, we have begun discussion about the following:

  • Streamlining the All-State audition process using available recording technology rather than sending 5 judges on a tour around the state
  • Modifying the All-State audition form to a rubric-style adjudication form
  • Modifying the sight-reading portion of SCPA to allow directors to choose an appropriate sight-reading example for their students based on students’ ability
  • The future of All-State Show Choir and how it fits into the structure of AVA
  • The future of Honor Choir and how it fits into the structure of AVA
  • We sent a survey at the end of the AVA Membership meeting on January 19th.  If you did not already complete the survey, please do.  We will use the information gathered from the survey when scheduling AVA event dates for the 2018-2019 school year.  We are also interested in thoughtful, written feedback in the form of an email to me or anyone else on the AVA Board.  Please let us know if you have anything you would like to add to the conversation.  Your thoughts are welcome and appreciated.

Thank you for taking to the time to read about your professional association.  Please send questions, suggestions, or ideas to me at presidentofava@gmail.com. I am looking forward to seeing you in March!

Ginny

AVA: MID-SEMESTER UPDATE

Ginny Coleman

FALL WORKSHOP RECAP

I was glad to see many of you at Fall Workshop.  Thanks so much to all who helped make this year’s Fall Workshop a success.  I hope that you enjoyed interacting with your colleagues from around the state.  I was thankful for the opportunity to watch Judy Bowers teach.  It is evident that she has spent many hours in the classroom doing just what you and I do every day.  What a refreshing approach to professional development.

Please thank Jim Schaffer for securing Dr. Bowers as our clinician.  She was excited to get to interact with the music teachers in Montgomery, where her grandchildren go to school.  If you have the chance, thank Dr. Bowers for providing her services to us free of charge.

The handouts and presentations from Fall Workshop can be found on the AVA website.  They include the notes from Dr. Bowers’ sessions as well as the All-State presentation, and other notes from our meeting.

Please continue to send your feedback about Fall Workshop.  How can we better fulfill our mission through our Fall Workshop event?  If you have ideas, please let us know.

POLICY CHANGES

  • Please remember that the new deadline/late fee policy is as follows:
  • Registrations are due AND payments must be postmarked by the deadline. There is no longer a “deadline” and “absolute deadline.” There is only one deadline.
  • Schools are scheduled in the order that payments are received. Your registration does not reserve your place in the schedule. Your payment (along with completed registration) does.
  • Only those that have registered and paid by the deadline will be scheduled.
  • Registrations that are not paid by the deadline will be canceled.
  • If your registration is canceled, you will have to re-register and pay a late fee.
  • Late payment period is 2 weeks at $50, 3rd week at $100, and 4th week at $150.
  • No payments will be accepted more than 20 business days late.

To sum up, we have:

  • Removed the double deadlines (deadline and absolute deadline).
  • Extended the late payment period if you want to be extra late and pay extra money.
  • Fixed our system so that schools who have not paid never appear on any schedule. When the schedule is sent, and you discover that your name is not there, that means we have not received your payment and you will have to register again and pay a late fee.

What does that mean to you?

  • Register and pay by the deadline if you want to appear on the schedule.
  • Be exceedingly pro-active in making sure that your bookkeeper sends your check.
  • If you happen to miss a deadline, you still have four weeks to register. But you will only be scheduled where there is an opening.

We hope that these changes will allow us to spend less time chasing payments and policing deadlines and more time focusing on the mission of our organization.

BYLAW VOTE

At Fall Workshop, the membership voted to change the bylaw that deals with how we elect officers.  Here are the differences in the old and new bylaws.

OLD:

  • President-elect selected candidates.
  • Candidate announced at All-State general meeting.
  • After candidates were announced, the floor was open to nominations.
  • Immediate vote.

NEW:

  • Committee consisting of Executive board selects candidates.
  • Candidates are announced at the AVA general meeting at the AMEA conference.
  • Nominations from the membership are accepted for a predetermined time period.
  • Vote at All-State general meeting

CONTINUING INITIATIVES

We will continue to use online registration this year. We appreciate you helping us work out the kinks in the online registration process.  Please be sure to read the instructions within the registration forms and continue to send your questions and concerns.  Your feedback is valued.

In an effort to connect with our colleagues who are not plugged in with AVA, we will continue to offer a free registration initiative for State Choral Performance Assessment.  Directors may register one choir for free (school fee and student fees waived) if their school has not participated in SCPA in the past three years.  Please share with your colleagues who may be interested in taking advantage of this offer.

UPCOMING EVENTS

We look forward to hearing your students at All-State auditions next month.  Please be sure to check the instruction pages provided in your music packets and on the website and make sure that your students are singing the correct notes for your district.  Like last year, All-State results will not be mailed but will be posted online.  After auditions are complete, look for an e-mail notifying you that results have been posted.

Our AMEA Conference will be held January 18th-20th at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham.  J.D. Frizzell will serve as our Honor Choir clinician.  We look forward to having Dan Davison join us for this conference.  He will present sessions about the male voice and share a reading session­ sponsored by J.W. Pepper.  AMEA President Susan Smith has also secured the popular a cappella group Voctave to present a concert and session.  You won’t want to miss this conference.

AVA: Reflecting On The Past To Prepare For The Future

Ginny Coleman

Hello!  It was good to see many of you at the ACDA Summer Conference in Tuscaloosa.  If you are not already involved with ACDA, you should join now!  John Kincaid, Meg Rudolph, and the ACDA team did a great job organizing the sessions and social events.  This conference is a great reminder that it is time to get back to work and get ready for the new year.

The time leading up to a new school year is always a time of reflection for me.  I reflect on what has (and has not) gone well in my classroom over the past year.  I think about what I could do better and prepare to make those changes for the upcoming year.  This is one of the things I love about our profession:  each new year is a chance to make a new start.

As I reflected on the past year with the AVA, I re-read some of the goals that I had for our organization at this time last year.  Briefly stated, they were:  efficiency through technology, focusing on our mission statement, and reaching out to our membership.  I am proud of many of the advances we have made.  We have continued to use available technology to facilitate record-keeping, registering for events, and communicating with the membership.  The AVA board, guided by quality input from the membership, has made decisions with our mission statement at the forefront of our minds.  Our organization is becoming a group that is willing to put aside tradition to make room for new ideas that may better serve our students.  I am so encouraged by this.

The goal that has proven to be the most difficult for us is reaching out to our membership.  We are moving in the right direction.  For example, the AVA and ACDA are involved in a joint effort to identify teachers who are not involved in our professional organizations.  We have also made some small advances by offering free registrations to events and we will continue to offer these incentives.  However, we have a chance to make a new start this year and need every member’s help with this goal.  We all know someone who may be new to the profession or may be working in a less-than-ideal situation.  These new/struggling teachers need, more than any of us, a community of fellow teachers so that they can be mentored, ask questions, or just vent.  Without a strong community, we may start to see our profession quietly fade.  I would like to challenge each of you to invite one person who is not currently involved in AVA to come to Fall Workshop with you.  Also, if you have ideas about how we can continue to reach out to membership, please let me or any member of the AVA board know.  We are always interested in your great ideas!

SUMMER BOARD REPORT

As we prepare for the new year, I would like to give a brief report from the AVA Summer Board meeting.  We reviewed all of your comments and suggestions that we received over the year.  We appreciate those of you who took the time to share your ideas with us.  Some of the decisions were:

  • We will continue to work to improve the efficiency of our online registration forms
  • We are forming a committee to review SCPA sight-reading with the end goals of clarity of expectation, accessibility to various ability levels, and alignment with state standards
  • We continued to discuss ideas for using technology to facilitate the All-State audition process
  • We continued to discuss ways to update our All-State Show Choir process
  • Fees were updated to reflect changes in cost
  • Deadlines and late fees were restructured to be more efficient
  • We adopted a new logo

At Fall Workshop, we will detail how all of these changes help to move our organization forward.  We hope you will attend.

FALL WORKSHOP

Our Fall Workshop will be held at First Baptist Church, Montgomery on Friday, September 8th.  We look forward to this time of learning, sharing, and connecting with our colleagues.  Judy Bowers will be our featured clinician and she always has something great to share!  We will also have mini-sessions and round-table discussions that need YOUR input! Registration is open now.  Visit the AVA website to register and don’t forget to bring a friend.

NAfME MEMBERSHIP

Now is the best time to renew your NAfME membership.  You must be a current member to log in to registration forms on the AVA Website, so renew now.

AVA DATES

The 2017-2018 event dates are posted on the AVA website and page 41 of this issue of Ala Breve.  Visit the website to find a printable list of dates.  You will notice that there is only one deadline for each event date.  This is now the registration AND payment deadline for that event.  Please plan accordingly.

Thank you for taking time to read about your professional organization.  As always, please send questions, suggestions, and ideas to me at presidentofava@gmail.com.  I look forward to seeing you in September!

Ginny

AVA: End-of-the-Year Wrap-up

Ginny Coleman

ALL-STATE
It was so nice to see many of you at the All-State festival in March. I appreciate those who served as concert coordinator, choir coordinator, attendance monitor, or in any other capacity to be sure that everything ran smoothly. I think that the students enjoyed their interaction with the conductors of the various choirs. I was also pleased with the final performances.
We appreciate Samford University for once again hosting All-State. Kenny Gannon, Brian Ernsberger and their staff were welcoming and helpful. We look forward to being back in 2018.

AMEA SUBMISSIONS
I hope that the recordings you received from SCPA were helpful to you this year. One of the reasons we decided to record each choir is so that you would have a high-quality recording in the event you decided to submit to perform at AMEA. If you are considering this, please know that the deadline is June 1. You can find instructions on the AMEA website. In addition, please consider submitting to present a session if you have something of value to share. We are always looking for new ideas!

SUMMER BOARD
The AVA Executive Board will meet for our summer board meeting at the beginning of June. If you have any ideas or suggestions that you would like the board to consider during our meeting, please submit in writing before the end of May. We want to hear your ideas and suggestions for improvement.

FALL WORKSHOP
Please go ahead and mark your calendars for the 2017 AVA Fall Workshop! As always, the workshop will be held on the Friday after Labor Day, which is September the 8th. We will meet in Montgomery again so that our colleagues in the north and south of the state can all save a hotel night if needed.

COMMUNICATION
This year we have made an effort to provide the AVA membership with increased instruction and reminders about registration deadlines, etc. We occasionally get questions about where to find information. You should expect information for all AVA events to be available on our website. For example, if you are attending an SCPA in another district you should be able to get all information concerning the event you are attending from the AVA website. Let your district chairman know if you have difficulty accessing anything.

The AVA Board is continually striving to 1) maintain adherence to our mission statement and 2) improve our functionality. Along those lines, we have begun discussion about the following:

  • Streamlining the All-State audition process using available recording technology rather than sending five judges on a tour around the state
  • Modifying the sight-reading portion of SCPA to allow directors to choose an appropriate sight- reading example for their students, based on student ability
  • The future of All-State Show Choir and how it fits into the structure of AVA

We are interested in thoughtful, written feedback in the form of an email to me or anyone else on the AVA Board. Please let us know if you have anything you would like to add to the conversation. Your thoughts are welcome and appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read about your professional association. Please send questions, suggestions, or ideas to me at presidentofava@gmail.com.

I am looking forward to seeing you in September!

Ginny

 

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