SVCC History

1991-92
Founder and first Artistic Director Julia J. White makes plans with the Eastern Mennonite University music department to start a children’s choir. Spring and fall 1992 auditions are held.

1992-93
Rehearsals begin in the fall with 37 members, grades 4-8. Accompanist John Fast begins with SVCC. Concerts held fall and spring and Bach Festival with orchestra in June.

1993-94
Preparatory Choir (grades 2-3) is added and membership totals 60. Concerts include choir exchange with Fairfax Children’s Choir, fall and spring concerts, American Boychoir concert, and Bach Festival.

1994-95
Membership totals 94 in Preparatory Choir (grades 2-4, 28 members), Concert Choir (grades 5-8, 46 members), and Girls’ Choir (grades 9-12, 18 members). Concerts include fall, Christmas and spring, American Boychoir, State Reading Association in Richmond. Brent Holl is added to the staff as Music Theory Instructor.

1995-96
Ensembles are restructured. Membership totals 97 in Preparatory Choir (grades 3-5), Concert Choir (grades 6-12), and new Chorale (grades 8-12). Concerts include fall, Christmas, and spring, Evensong, local run-out concerts, Washington DC tour with Fairfax CC. SVCC skirts and vests purchased. Judy Leaman begins part-time as Choir Manager.

1996-97
Membership totals 101 in Preparatory and Concert Choirs. The first SVCC recording, Where the Music Comes From, is released on cassette tape. Dr. John Hilliard commissioned for work with SVCC; concerts include fall, spring, opera at JMU, Virginia Music Educators Association, Christmas with JMU brass, Evensong, and Bach Festival.

1997-98
Membership totals 117 in Preparatory Choir (ages 8-11), NEW Treble Choir (ages 10-15) and Concert Choir (ages 11-18). Concert Choir sings at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington D.C. with opera star Placido Domingo, Martha Reeves, Lorrie Morgan, the U.S. Coast Guard Band, and President and Mrs. Clinton. Concert Choir participates in the Carnegie Hall Children’s Choir Festival in New York City. Fall, Christmas, and spring concerts continue, along with participation in the Bach Festival. When Children Sing CD is released. Thomas Tutwiler is hired as assistant Preparatory Choir Director.

1998-99
Membership totals 136 in Preparatory, Treble, and Concert Choirs. Celah Pence begins as Assistant Director of the Preparatory Choir. Performances include the Virginia Music Educators Association Conference at The Homestead, fall, Christmas, and spring concerts, American Guild of Organists in Charlottesville, and choir exchanges with Roanoke Children’s Choir in Roanoke and Harrisonburg.

1999-2000
Membership totals 151 in Preparatory, Treble, and Concert Choirs. Concert Choir sings at the American Choral Directors Association Conference in Orlando, Florida, and for East Coast Rotary Meeting at The Homestead in addition to regular fall, Christmas and Spring concerts. An Angel Choir class taught by Joy Anderson is added in January for ages 6-7.

2001-01
Membership totals 175 in Angel Choir class (ages 6-7), Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. Concert Choir makes its first international tour to the Tuscany Children’s Choir Festival in Florence, Italy, in July, 2001. Concert Choir is headline choir at Organization of American Kodály Educators Conference in Williamsburg. CDs Our Own Song and A Sparkling Christmas released. Erica McClellan begins as accompanist and David Williams begins as Music Theory Instructor. Judy Leaman becomes full-time Choir Manager.

2001-02
SVCC celebrates 10th anniversary! Membership totals 175 in Angel Choir class, Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. Maurita Eberly begins as accompanist. 10th anniversary piece by Celah Pence is commissioned and performed. The Concert Choir sings by invitation at the American Choral Directors Association Conference with the Florida State University Singers and Sir David Willcocks from London, England in Festival Concert in Charlotte, North Carolina, in addition to regular fall, Christmas and spring concerts.

2002-03
Membership totals 192 in two Angel Choir classes, Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir and Concert Choir. Concert Choir performs concerts with Blue Ridge Choristers in Winchester, Virginia, in Washington, DC, and on Concert Series in Staunton. American Boychoir sings concert and Boychoir workshop is held. Christmas Comin’ and Here’s to Song CDs are released this year. Music theory book study is replaced by Kodály-based sight-singing plan.

2003-04
Membership totals 192 in two Angel Choir classes, Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. A quintet from The Washington Symphonic Brass joins the choirs for the annual Christmas Concerts. Winds of Peace CD is released in the fall. Concert Choir is headline choir for Children in Harmony Festival in Orlando. Celah Pence steps down as Preparatory Choir Director and Joy Anderson is named Assistant Director for Angel Choir, Prep Choir, and solfege studies. Ruby Hostetler serves as interim Angel Choir II director. Kodály-based musicianship booklets are implemented.

2004-05
Membership totals 193 in two Angel Choir classes, Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. The Angel Choir and the Trumpeter CD is released in October. Christmas concerts include guest harpist, and regular fall and spring concerts are performed. Concert Choir participates in the Pacific Rim Children’s Chorus Festival in Honolulu, Hawaii, in July.

2005-06
Membership totals 220 in three Angel Choir classes, Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. Fall, Christmas, and spring concerts are held. Concert Choir is featured in Contemporary Music Festival at JMU. Selected members perform with Cetic violinist Eileen Ivers. Composer Paul Bouman writes Nobody Songs for SVCC. Concert Choirs sings for the American Choral Directors Association Conference in Charleston, West Virginia, and at the Heritage Festival for advanced Treble Choirs at Riverside Church in New York City. Shenandoah CD is released.

2006-07
SVCC celebrates 15th anniversary! Membership totals 227 in five classes (Beginners & Angel Choir, newly named “Explorers”), Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. Fall and spring concerts are given, and Christmas concerts feature Washington Symphonic Brass Quintet. American Boychoir sings concert with SVCC in February. Concert Choir participates in the Carnegie Hall Children’s Chorus Festival in New York City in May. Silent Night CD is released. Linda Hatcher is added as part-time office staff.

2007-08
Membership totals 202 in four classes (Beginners & Explorers), Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. Concert Choir sings for Desmond Tutu Award Ceremony at JMU in September, and participates in Voices United Children’s Choir Festival with three other children’s choirs in Charlotte, North Carolina, in February before Julia White goes on sabbatical. Janet Hostetter serves as guest director for remainder of spring semester. Christmas Joy CD is released. Yvette Peake replaces Linda Hatcher as part-time Office Assistant.

2008-09
Membership totals 185 in three Explorers classes, Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. Regular fall, Christmas, and spring concerts are held. Preparatory and Treble Choirs and Directors present performance session at Virginia Music Educators Conference at the Homestead in Hot Springs, VA and Concert Choir gives special performances at Sunny Side Retirement Community and for the Performing Arts of Luray Concert series, and performs at Organization of American Kodály Educators National Conference in Washington, D.C. All Things Bright and Beautiful is released.

2009-10
Membership totals 163 in two Explorers classes, Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. Fall, Christmas, and spring concerts are held. Choirs collaborate for the third time with the Washington Symphonic Brass Quintet. Manager Judy Leaman steps down as Manager in February and Yvette Peake takes over most of her duties for the remainder of the year. Judy Leaman Scholarship is established with donations from SVCC supporters. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year CD is released.

2010-11
Membership totals 158 in two Explorers classes, Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. Yvette Peake takes over as Choir Manager. Sixth American Boychoir collaboration is held in October, with local schools invited to participate. Fall, Christmas, and spring concerts are held. Choirs collaborate with Sons of the Day men’s a capella ensemble at SVCC’s annual Christmas concerts and with the James Madison University Percussion Ensemble at the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. School concerts are held for Rockingham County School students and others at JMU’s Memorial Hall. Songs from the Heart CD is released.

2011-12
SVCC celebrates its 20th anniversary! Membership totals 148 in two Explorers classes, Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. Kris Shank Zehr joins as Office Assistant. Choirs collaborate for the fourth time with the Washington Symphonic Brass Quintet. A concert is given at Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton, VA. Concert Choir performs at the American Choral Directors Association Southern Division Conference in Winston-Salem, NC and participates in the Carnegie Hall Children’s Choral Festival in New York City. Alumni choir joins SVCC choirs for Saturday performance of the Spring Concert. A six-week non-auditioned spring Boychoir is added. Twenty Years of Song CD is released.

2012-13
Founder and first Artistic Director Julia White steps down after 20 years of service. EMU leadership and entire SVCC community thanks Ms. White for the vision, dedication, leadership and excellence she brought to the SVCC over two decades. Membership totals 152 in Explorers, Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. Dr. Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy, Director of Choral Activities at James Madison University, accepts the role of Interim Music Director for two years and Ethan Zook becomes Interim Executive Director. Joy Anderson, Yvette Peake, Maurita Eberly, and Kris Shank-Zehr continue on staff. SVCC Board is formed. A national search is planned and begun for a new Artistic Director to take over in fall of 2014. Annual fall retreat for all choirs moved to Camp Horizons. Christmas and spring concerts are held. Concert Choir performs for the Investiture Ceremony of James Madison University’s sixth President, Jonathan Alger. Concert Choir and members of Preparatory and Treble Choir participate in Music in the Parks at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, as planned by Ms. White the previous year. SVCC non-auditioned six-week spring Boychoir continues for second year.

2013-14
Membership totals 146 in Explorers, Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. Dr. van der Vat-Chromy continues as Interim Music Director. Tonya Menard begins as additional office staff, joining Kris Shank-Zehr. Fall Retreat is held at Camp Horizons. Regular fall, Christmas, and spring concerts are held. Concert Choir performs at JMU Holidayfest with JMU Symphony Orchestra, Chorale, and Madison Singers. Concert Choir travels to Richmond and Norfolk, VA to collaborate with the One Voice Chorus and the Virginia Children’s Chorus. SVCC non-auditioned six-week spring Boychoir continues for third year. Artistic Director search continues. Top candidates visit and audition. Feedback from choristers, parents, and Board is sought. Janet Hostetter is hired as new Artistic Director.

2014-15
Membership totals 177 in Explorers, Preparatory Choir, Treble Choir, and Concert Choir. Fall Retreat is held at Camp Horizons. Choirs collaborate with nationally-known bilingual educator and performing artist José-Luis Orozco at the Harrisonburg International Festival. Regular Christmas and spring concerts are held. Concert and Treble Choirs perform two pieces with Shenandoah Valley Youth Orchestra in fall concert. Selected Concert Choristers perform with JMU Opera in Puccini’s La Bohéme. Bethany Hicks replaces Tonya Menard as Office Assistant, joining Kris Shank Zehr. Zook Family Scholarship is established with generous funds from Mr. Zook’s mother’s memorial. Judith Henneberger Endowed Scholarship is established with funds from generous gift from local retired music educator. Concert Choir members participate in Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans, LA. Plans are made to purchase new uniforms. Girlchoir (“Bella Voce”) and Youth Choir (“Nova Voce”) added to non-auditioned spring Boychoir (newly named “Viva Voce”).