The Santa Clarita Choral Educators Association will present its 25th Annual Choral Music Festival at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 27, at Grace Baptist Church. More than 500 students representing choirs in the local colleges and Hart District junior high and high schools will be showcased, and study grants and scholarships will be awarded to vocally talented students.
Over the last 25 years, more than 12,000 choristers have participated in the Festivals, and more than $25,000 has been awarded in scholarships and grants. A 1996 scholarship winner, Christine Tavares Enns, now serves as choir director at Valencia High School.
The SCCEA is the realization of the vision of Robert Babko, who saw value in uniting music educators in the Santa Clarita Valley for the purpose of having a non-competitive annual Choral Music Festival to showcase the choirs of schools in the William S. Hart Union High School District and colleges in our community.
Another goal was to award college scholarships and study grants to vocally talented students in SCV high schools. Charter Members of the Santa Clarita Choral Educators Association are:
Robert Babko, College of the Canyons (now at West Ranch HS)
Paul Plew, The Master's College
Mary Purdy, Sierra Vista Junior High School (now at Canyon HS)
Diana Thayer, Arroyo Seco Junior High School (now retired)
Jeannine Wagner, California Institute of the Arts
Judith Starr, Hart High School
Roger Guerrero, Canyon High School
Dottie McGrath, Placerita Junior High School
The first SCCEA Festival was held at College of the Canyons in 1986 with six schools participating. The second Festival was held at the Roy O. Disney Hall at California Institute of the Arts in 1987. As the community grew, more schools joined the Association: Saugus High, Castaic School District, La Mesa Junior High, Valencia High, Santa Clarita Christian, West Ranch High, and Rancho Pico Junior High and Golden Valley High School. A dozen schools will be featured in this year's Silver Anniversary concert.
The Festival was held for many years at the Hart High School Auditorium. Following the Northridge earthquake in 1994, the Festival made an emergency move to the Magic Moments Theater at Six Flags Magic Mountain. In later years the Festival was held in the gymnasiums of Canyon High, Valencia High and Hart High School, then in the renovated Hart Auditorium. Since 2008 the annual event has been held at Grace Baptist Church.