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About NCDAAdvertise With UsAll State Vocal JazzDistrict RepresentativesFree Elementary WorkshopsImproving Our Craft and CommunityLeadershipLegacy FundNCDA AwardsNCDA Summer ConferenceNew Page TestNext DirectionPrevious Award RecipientsRegistration CancelledRegistration Payment Using PayPalRemind101Repertoire & ResourcesCommunity Chair's BlogR&S Self-Published WorksShort NotesThank YouTransactions

Vocal Jazz


REGISTRATION DUE BY Friday, February 3, 2017

Looking for All State Jazz info: CLICK HERE

2017 NCDA Vocal Jazz Festival Information

Join us on March 20, 2017

Columbus High School in Columbus, Nebraska

Registration Form Click Here


Guest Jazz Artist and Clinician Amanda Taylor

  • – Your group will get stage time performing for Amanda and get her personal insight on how to improve
  • – Amanda will be performing a 45-minute concert and Q&A session before lunch!


Amanda Taylor grew up in Seattle, Washington. Since the age of eight, she has participated in award­winning groups such as the Seattle Youth Symphony, Grammy­nominated Vocalpoint! Seattle, and the Seattle Girls’ Choir (with whom she toured Germany, France, Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria). In high school, she began taking music courses at Pierce College, singing in the college’s distinguished vocal jazz group Farwest Jazz. She was also accepted into the Grammy Jazz Ensembles. One of eight students selected from the USA, she was flown to Los Angeles to perform throughout Grammy week, at such events as the Blue Note Records party, the MusiCares Person of the Year tribute, and the Grammy Celebration After Party (which included performances with artists Cassandra Wilson, Terence Blanchard, and Herbie Hancock). Amanda is currently the lead soprano in Seattle­based professional vocal group Groove for Thought, who appeared on NBC’s The Sing­Off, Season Two.Groove for Thought tours throughout the USA and Europe. Amanda graduated from Central Washington University in Spring 2013 with her BM in Music Composition. Since then, she has moved to Nashville (TN) to pursue a career in songwriting. She is also an active studio singer, singing on the soundtracks for World of Warcraft, Diablo III and more.


Interactive Breakout session: Circle Singing with Fred Ritter

  • – This session will provide your students a chance to sing with college and university singers
  • – This session teaches singing without inhibition, risk taking, and improvisational ideas from a comfortable and inclusive approach

Fred Ritter is a retired music educator from Columbus, and previously North Platte Nebraska, where he spent the past 37 years teaching High School and Jr. High Vocal Music. A graduate of both Doane College and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Fred has served ACDA at the state and regional levels including state president and Vocal Jazz R&S, and NCACDA Vocal Jazz R&S. He is currently president of the Nebraska Music Education Association. He recently received the “Cornell Runestad Award”, presented in 2015 by NCDA for a “Lifetime Dedication to Choral Excellence”, and the Platt Alumni Music Award from Doane University for outstanding achievement in music. Now in retirement he often works as a choral clinician for vocal festivals and as an adjudicator for in Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota.


Attend David von Kampen’s workshop: How to audition for All State Vocal Jazz

  • – The students will all sing through the required scales of the audition
  • – The students and teachers will be given examples of appropriate jazz classics to use for the audition and David will teach one of them to the group

David’s diverse compositional output is led by more than 60 works for choirs of all shapes and sizes. He creates substantial, memorable choral music that conductors and singers love. David runs a collegiate vocal jazz ensemble and directs two church choirs, so he understands how to write for ensembles of different skill levels and how to navigate a variety of musical styles. Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, David holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kansas, and Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Nebraska. He is currently a lecturer of music theory and literature at the University of Nebraska, and instructor of composition at Concordia University.


On-site scholarship auditions to earn ½ tuition covered at Chadron State

The Chadron State College Music Department will be offering up to one-half tuition waiver scholarships for qualifying auditions. Junior and Senior high school students may audition by performing one traditional art song and one contrasting work – this may be a jazz or music theatre piece, or another contrasting art song. An accompanist will be provided. Please bring copies of your music for the accompanist. The CSC Music Department is a NASM accredited music school, offering degrees in Music Education, Music Industry, and Performance. For more information, see our web site at www.csc.edu/music


NCDA is committed to encouraging Vocal Jazz in our schools though two specific opportunities during the school year. The NCDA VOCAL JAZZ FESTIVAL and the NCDA All-State Jazz Choir.



The NCDA VOCAL JAZZ FESTIVAL, held each year at Columbus High School, first began in 2004 with the purpose of providing non-competitive performance/clinic opportunities to vocal jazz ensembles.  It is designed to encourage the implementation of vocal jazz into the choral curriculum as part of a comprehensive music program that spans elementary to post secondary education. The first clinician was Kirk Marcy from Edmonds Community College in Washington State. Past years have witnessed such notable clinicians as Kirby Shaw, Michele Weir, Frank DeMiero, Vijay Singh, Randy Crenshaw, Kerry Marsh, Julia Dollison, Jennifer Barnes, Greg Jasperse, and the entire Just 4 Kicks quartet. Many thanks to Dr. Joel Schreuder from Chadron State College for assisting in the development of the festival as our first Vocal Jazz Repertoire & Standards Chair!

MULTIPLE PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES. Each group has a main stage performance with our clinician as well as a follow-up clinic in the choir room with a secondary clinician. There are breakout sessions that your students will attend as well as the “Parade of Choirs” at the end of the day where everyone sings once more for all the groups.  Any level of age or ability is accepted at the festival. If you would prefer, there is a category for those only wishing to observe and participate in the breakout sessions.

The festival is open to all schools, however NCDA members will receive a discounted registration. Please click HERE for the registration form, which you can fill out and mail to Celeste Ditter at the address listed on the form.


1. The festival is about learning from and supporting each other. Let us celebrate our differences of class size, age, and levels of jazz development. We all can learn something from each other.

2. Cooperation, not competition is the key to the deepest level of appreciation and life-long learning. We sing for the sake of performing music, not to find out if we are better than someone else.

3. Breakout sessions provide another opportunity to sing and learn. Take advantage of these sessions by actively participating when asked. It is no time to be shy.

4. Vocal Jazz strengthens musicianship skills by performing tight harmonies, difficult rhythms, and singing expressively in a many different styles such as blues, swing, big band, bebop, contemporary, etc.

5. All wide variety of styles can be performed, but at some point in your program you should swing and have improvisational opportunities for the students to be called a jazz choir.


This group is open to any current freshman through senior student at the time of the audition and can range from 12 to 24 singers. They are to practice and memorize all selected materials prior to the beginning of the NCDA Summer Convention at Doane College in Crete, NE in July.  Rehearsals with the guest conductor begin on Sunday evening and culminate with a final performance Tuesday night. Past conductors have included Paris Rutherford, Kerry Marsh, Rosana Eckert, Vijay Singh, Steve Zegree, and David von Kampen.

If you are interested in auditioning, or having your student(s) audition, please download the All-State Jazz Registration Form which will be available very soon.




1. State your name (not your school) and voice part.

2. *Scales (Scale examples)

A. Major

B. Blues (1, b3, 4, #4, 5, b7, 8)

C. Chromatic

*Students will sing up and down all three scales in eighth-note movement as indicated in the examples provided below. This should be done a cappella and in the swing style on the syllables ‘doo-ba’ or ‘doo-va.’ Tempo: quarter note=92bpm. The student may be given ONLY the starting pitch.

S – begin on E4; A – begin on A4; T – begin on E3; Bar/Bass – begin on A3

3. Literature

Students will prepare and sing their part on a portion of a selection provided by the guest conductor. This year’s excerpt is from “Home With You”. This excerpt will be available on the NCDA website, www.nebraskachoral.org, on the Vocal Jazz page. Accuracy in pitch and rhythm, as well as tempo and style, will be graded. This should be sung and recorded with the accompaniment track provided on the website.

4. Prepared solo selection

Each student should select a solo in a comfortable key from Vol. 41 or 107 of the Jamey Aebersold sing-a-long series or from “APPROACHING THE STANDARDS for Jazz Vocalists,” by Ronald C. McCurdy and Dr. Willie L. Hill, Jr. This alternative option includes an accompaniment CD AND demonstrations by live performers. The student’s initial interpretation of the selected piece should reflect closely what is printed in the music. As the solo progresses, and the student repeats and returns to “the head” or the beginning of the tune, he/she should lyrically, melodically, and/or rhythmically embellish the existing material or choose to improvise using scat syllables. The singer should be sure to attempt to demonstrate his/her entire range. He/she should sing through the form a total of 2 or 3 times only. This prepared solo should be recorded while singing along to the accompanying CD provided with the book.

(Aebersold volumes are $19.95 for book/CDs and are available through Jamey’s website, www.jazzbooks.com, as well as through many of your local music retailers. You can find “APPROACHING THE STANDARDS for Jazz Vocalists” at http://www.alfred.com/Products/Approaching-the-Standards-for-Jazz-Vocalists )



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