Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus Receives Mention in AV Press

chocolatesnickerdoodleWe were pleased to receive a mention in the AV Press when they wrote about the wonderful efforts of Sandy Smith with the Lancaster Chamber and the fine creativity and dedication of the recent YEA Graduates.

These were two of the pictures we posted on our Facebook page

LANCASTER – Kaitlyn Critchfield took a cake decorating class as a way to spend more time with her grandmother.

Now, the Endeavor Middle School student has her own business – Katie May’s Baked Delights.

Critchfield is one of 21 middle school students who spent 30 weeks at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy hosted by the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce. The academy taught the students about the process of taking an idea from concept to an actual business – including developing business and financial plans, how to make pitches before investors, and the permitting and licensing process.

The students graduated on Friday.

“It started as something fun to do together with my grandmother. I had no idea it would become a business,” Critchfield said.

Getting her business up and running included securing kitchen certification and a food handling license. Critchfield’s business was up in time for her to sell at the recent flea market held by the chamber.

Her business orders are booked through May.

The Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus recently posted how thrilled they were with Critchfield’s chocolate and Snicker Doodle cupcakes.

“I have a lot of connections through my church. Networking is really big,” Critchfield said.

Her new business is taking up about 40% of her time.

“It was really hard,” Critchfield said of the academy. “I’m really proud of the class as a whole. It was a great opportunity.”

Another business that launched from YEA was A Better Chef, which sells cooking kits with spices, recipes and a history of the food item being prepared. A Better Chef is the brainchild of Soleil Sanchez of Anaverde Hills Middle School.

A third project to emerge from YEA is STREAM Kids Expo, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rancho Vista Golf Course. The expo is aimed at introducing kids to science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The expo is the project by Niamani Knight of Hillview Middle School.

One student, Cheyenne Adams of SOAR Prep Academy, will be attending a regional YEA competition this weekend in Phoenix. Adams’ project is Forgot-Me-Not-Baby, a proximity alarm on a car seat that goes off when a caregiver gets too far from a child. Her slogan: “Some things are too important to forget.”

Of the 24 kids accepted into the academy, 21 stuck with the program to graduate.

“The thing about this program is that the kids now have what a high percentage of adults who start businesses don’t have – the knowledge of the proper steps to take before launching a business enterprise,” said Sandy Smith, the chamber’s CEO and the program manager for YEA. “So at 12, 13, and 14 years old, these kids know it’s not an easy task to start a business, but they have all the tools necessary. If they want to start a business next year, if they want to start a business after high school they’ve got everything at their fingertips.

These kids have networked with so many important people and now they have these connections that, again, not many adults in our community have.”

In addition to the classroom work, the academy included sessions with business mentors, field trips to local businesses, and panel discussions with some notable business and civic leaders. The students also had to make a pitch at a “Shark Tank” like event to gain funding by potential investors.

During their graduation ceremony on Friday at Antelope Valley College, a major sponsor of the program, each of the YEA students were asked to give a brief summary of what they learned. Many spoke on the difficulties of starting a business and they need to have grit, the ability to stick with a project:

“You have to persevere and try hard to get what you want,” said Stephen Dusablon, a student at Hillview Middle School.

Some spoke about how the program helped them talk with people.

“You have to be confident,” said Isabella Paguyo, a SOAR Prep Academy student. “You don’t want to be like a statue.”

Some spoke of their overall feelings about the program, including Hillview Middle School student Shruthi Kumar who said “this program really nurtured the entrepreneurial spirit in all of us,” and Giovanni Pope of Amargosa Middle School, who said “you will get run down if you don’t get down to business.”

The chamber wants to continue the program, but with a few tweaks. One issue is to find a way to lighten the load on Smith, who served as the chief staff person on the program while also performing her duties as chamber CEO.

“It was very successful,” said Josh Mann, the chamber’s 2015-2016 board chairman. “I’m proud of what we accomplished. People are already interested in next year’s program.”

The businesses in the program and their creators are:

  • Slip Case, a smartphone case to hold house keys, driver’s license, etc., by Isabella Paguyo and Shruthi Kumar.
  • EXO Shoes, athletic shoes with changeable soles, by Jackson Bennett, Marquise Hines, Kaelin Smith and Jayan Patel.
  • STREAM, an expo to introduce students to science, technology, engineering, arts and math, by Niamani Knight.
  • Forget-Me-Not Baby, a baby seat that activates an alarm when a distracted or forgetful parent leaves the car without bringing baby along, by Cheyenne Adams.
  • Elegancy, a smartphone case with a makeup compact, by Karina Patel, Mykayla Johnson and Raquel Pinedo.
  • A Better Chef, a cooking kit with spices, recipes and a history of the food item being prepared, by Soleil Sanchez.
  • AquaComb, a comb that also squirts water or a gel, by Stephen Dusablon and Nikil Sunku.
  • Sapron, an apron designed to keep kids from getting burned, by Destiny Brooks.
  • GNN, a media enterprise aimed at kids, by Giovanni Pope.
  • HikerFit, a backpack with a chair, by Samuel Bevers, Art Hernandez, Marcus Bohler and Daniel Corbin.
  • Katie May’s Baked Delights, a custom cake and cupcake business, by Kaitlyn Critchfield.

YEA was developed at the University of Rochester in 2004 with the support of a grant from the Kauffman Foundation. The program can now be found in communities nationwide.

As of 2014, the program has graduated 2,298 students who have started more than 1,700 businesses and social movements.

Nick Girard of The House Jacks to Present A Cappella Workshop in Lancaster, CA

Nick Girard to conduct A Cappella Workshop with Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus

Nick Girard to conduct A Cappella Workshop with Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus

Deke Sharon acquiring a Lifetime deal for another A Cappella show to be filmed on the east coast some changes had to be made. Wishing him all the best as he continues to promote A Cappella music Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus is thrilled that Nick Girard (of Overboard fame and also singing with The House Jacks) will be stepping in to take his place.

As an added benefit for the residents of the Antelope Valley, Nick will be offering a Beat Box class on Saturday afternoon between the regularly scheduled workshop sessions. The class is FREE to anyone who wants to attend but you must preregister for security reasons. You can sign up quickly here as well as see a video of him in action –

Originally from a small town in Maine, Nick’s first encounter with contemporary a cappella was as a college freshman at the University of Vermont. Enticed by The Top Cats‘ marketing slogan “Chicks Dig Guys Who Sing,” Nick joined the group as a tenor, served as music director for 2 years and eventually became the group’s vocal percussionist.

In 2006, Nick founded and directed Overboard, a Boston-based professional a cappella group that has gone on to produce seven albums with multiple CARA and ACA award wins and nominations. Then in 2009, Nick expanded into the world of studio production. An internationally celebrated arranger and recording engineer, his work can be heard on some of the best high school, collegiate and professional a cappella records in the world. In 2011, he began working for The Sing-Off as a vocal producer, arranger, composer and audio engineer. His work has been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC and the BBC.

Since 2011, Nick has been touring internationally as a member of the groundbreaking vocal rock band, The House Jacks (with aca-legend Deke Sharon), performing and leading workshops for audiences around the globe.

Recently married to fellow aca-superstar Clare Wheeler of The Swingle Singers he splits his time between the US and the UK and we are looking forward to having him here with us!

Stay tuned here and on our twitter account for more exciting announcements.

AVSC A Cappella Workshop to be held at Eastside Performing Arts Center

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The Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus is thrilled to announce that the A Cappella Workshop taking place in May 2015 will be held at the Eastside High School Performing Arts Center.

With Clinician Deke Sharon, hailed by Entertainment Weekly as The father of contemporary A Cappella, heading up the weekend and songs like, Breakaway, The “Cups” Song from Pitch Perfect, Natural Woman and Sweet Dreams the event will be an awesome opportunity to embrace the art of A Cappella Singing.

As members of Sweet Adelines International, AVSC has long been associated with A Cappella music having Barbershop Harmony as it’s foundation. Two songs in the traditional art form, and trust me – it IS an ART, will be included during the performance. Lulu’s Back in Town written in 1935 by Harry Warren and Al Dubin for Broadway Gondolie was made famous by the incomparable Fats Waller. A classic arrangement by Aileen Nightingale and Nancy Bergman will be performed by the chorus while the entire ensemble (chorus members and guests) will be singing the ever popular The ChordBusters March as arranged by Joe Liles. This song embodies the joy of raising our voices in wonderful four-part harmony and “busting or ringing a chord”. That ringing chord and the joy of singing is what brings thousands of men and women world wide to participate in rehearsals on a weekly basis.

Treated to weekly group vocal lessons members and guests are educated in the barbershop art form as well as all of the nuances of public performance. The event includes such elements as staging, choreography, soloists, costuming in addition to learning the music. As daunting as this sounds, we know that anyone who has a strong desire can be a part of the chorus as some of our members come to us with no singing experience. Our ensemble chorus even includes a few brave young men who will share the stage with 50+ females. Performers range from 6th grade to … well … over 70 but if you really want to know you’ll have to ask directly. I can tell you this, she’s a charter member of this chorus and in 2015 we will be celebrating our 55th Anniversary here in the Antelope Valley.

Once the weekend arrives Deke Sharon will begin working with the performers on Saturday and wrap up the day with a Meet & Greet in a more casual setting for all participants to enjoy a well deserved relaxing evening. We expect that there will be a fair amount of Tag Singing going on too.

On Sunday there will be more coaching followed by the performers putting it all together in a performance at the same location. The public is invited to the show and to stay for a Q & A with Deke once the performance has ended. Tickets for the show will go on sale after the first of the year.

To find out more about Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus or the A Cappella Workshop give us a call at 661-878-2872.

JetHawks Baseball and Barbershop with AVSC

Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus sings at Lancaster Jethawks Baseball

The Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus is pleased to be one of the regulars with Lancaster’s own JetHawks as they Rock the Hawk again this year in search of more memorable moments in baseball.

The JetHawks have taken the championship for the first half of the season and we’ll be singing God Bless America during the 7th Inning Stretch tonight as they continue on their journey to capture the championship for the 2014-2015 baseball season.

As a chorus we enjoy being part of two wonderful American sports – Baseball and Barbershop Harmony. While most people associate the barbershop craft with either the men’s organization or simply quartets, there are hundreds of choruses through out the world of Sweet Adelines that join their voices to make sweet music each week.

Sweet Adelines began with their first meeting on a Friday the 13th…just like today. However, it was 68 years and 11 months ago on July 13, 1945 in Tulsa Oklahoma. Since that time the world of Sweet Adelines has grown to include chapters in Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Wales and most of the 50 states in the United States. With over 23,000 members, Sweet Adelines International is a worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education, competition and performances.

Our regular rehearsals provide vocal music education for guest and members alike as they join together in song. One of our most recent additions to our repertoire is the Cups song made famous by Anna Kendrick in the movie Pitch Perfect. And every year in the spring, while baseball players are beginning their training, Sweet Adelines are embracing an opportunity to show off their skills and talents among their peers during our regional convention and competition. For Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus we traditionally travel to Bakersfield the later part of March to sing with the other choruses in Sequoia Pacifica Region 11.

While baseball had it’s first official game in June of 1946 thereby being 100+ years ahead of Sweet Adelines (our first Quartet Champion  won in 1947— The Decaturettes and our first Chorus Contest wasn’t until 1973 when the Racine Chorus from Racine Wisconsin brought home the gold)  there are @240 Major and Minor League teams throughout the United States. The hot dogs, peanuts and beer along with a rousing competition between two opposing teams typically brings more observers out for a game of baseball than a Sweet Adeline Show – but we’re working on that!

Please stop by and say hello when you see the chorus singing at the game and – if you know of any females that like to sing – send ‘em our way Smile and watch the worlds largest voice lesson here.

Singing With My Friends

This is from one of our members written for a class assignment. She is such a joy to have in the chorus and we’re glad she shared this with us!

A few years ago, a friend invited me to a singing rehearsal to see if I would want to be a part of her chorus. At the time, I had no idea what door she was opening up for me. I absolutely loved this amazing magic and wanted to be a part of it. The idea that I could not sing transformed into a love of singing. I believe singing is good for your soul. Songs can take you places where you may dare not go. When you lift your voice you can be free, soaring to new heights with your imagination. You come alive. Singing can ease your mind, unwinding all the knots that the day has wound up inside you. When you are singing the world is right.

Last summer our chorus had an exciting opportunity to sing onstage with Foreigner! I had worn out my Foreigner Four cassette tape years ago, and to be onstage with them was truly thrilling for me. They needed a chorus to sing back up with them on: “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” during their concert at the Antelope Valley Fair. Of course we said “YES!” That night, we were able to watch the concert with the crowds before we were taken backstage to wait for our cue. I could see the crowd of thousands through the curtains and started to feel all tingly. I forced myself to breathe slowly, then, finally, it was time. We walked onto the stage in a predetermined pattern. The chorus started and the lead singer came and stood right next to me! Oh my goodness, Kelly Hansen was right there! This was the most exhilarating time I have ever had singing! My soul simply soared! Sadly, the song ended and we moved off the stage and back to our ordinary lives with the memory of that truly electrifying experience.

Johnny Depp said, “Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t.” I believe singing stimulates the brain and wakes up your senses. The sound flows from you, filling the room with emotion. You can be happy, sad, hurt, or angry, all depending on the song. Lifting my voice fills me up with peace and releases the worries of the day. I love harmonizing with my chorus. Matching my voice with the other leads, we make sure we carry the melody and listen for the lower notes of the baritones and basses. I absolutely love the tenors. What they add to our voices creates an overtone that rings with vibrant chords that come to life.

There is a movement when you open up and let your voice out, free to the heavens. You dance around and feel your senses soar and expand. No matter what is going on in your life, music and song can make it disappear for a while. Your body moves like a gentle breeze whispering through a wheat field–you sway from side to side, lift your voice and let the heaviness of the day drain away. You feel invigorated. The world is a good place to be.

We don’t always have such exciting experiences when we sing, but you can sing wherever you are, so sing loud! Sing in your shower, sing in the fields, sing in your car; sing and be happy. God gave us a voice to make a joyful noise. I love how He says noise. That means we can all sing to our hearts content and feel moved and uplifted. This is why I believe singing is good for your soul.

    ~ Karen C.

Visit us on a Tuesday night to find out more!

AVSC Pleased to Present Singing Valentines

We were thrilled with the AV Press and the mention we received regarding the Singing Valentines happening next week!

With Valentine’s Day being just one week from today you still have time to get your order in :) Just follow this link to make this a most memorable Valentines Day!

AV Press promotes Singing Valentines

Weekend Warblers in the Spotlight Today

Weekend Warblers Win 1st in Double Quartet ContestIn the AV Press today
By: Liane M. Roth Valley Life Editor

The “Weekend Warblers,” a double quartet representing the Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus of Sweet Adelines International, was rewarded with the sweet sound of success at the regional seminar at the Doubletree Hotel in Bakersfield as the group brought home first place ribbons and a trophy.

The “Weekend Warblers,” a double quartet representing the Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus of Sweet Adelines International, was rewarded with the sweet sound of success at the regional seminar at the Doubletree Hotel in Bakersfield as the group brought home first place ribbons and a trophy.

Featuring Liz Antony, Dawn Baertlein, Monica Hoffman, Ann Layton, Denise O’Neill, VaJezatha Payne, Susan Sirex and Dottie Zagar, the group sang a rousing rendition of “The San Francisco Bay Blues” and received a standing ovation from the audience comprising their peers, members said, with fourteen competitive teams representing chorus groups from around Southern California and Nevada.

Sweet Adelines International is a worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education and performances.

Barbershop harmony is a style of a cappella, or unaccompanied vocal music produced by four parts – lead, tenor, baritone and bass – and is traditionally performed by men.

The Sweet Adelines represent the new face of barbershop as they present the familiar style of music through animated performances and creative, often colorful, costumes. They are all women and they have put a glamorous stamp on the genre as they sing in sweet, enthralling tones.

Each of the four parts has its own role. Generally, the lead sings the melody, the tenor harmonizes above the melody, the bass sings the lowest harmonizing notes, and the baritone covers the same range as the lead, sometimes singing below and sometimes above.

Catch the harmonizing gals as they perform during “A Magical BLVD Christmas” in front of the Western Hotel/Museum on Lancaster Boulevard between 5 and 9 p.m. Friday.

Celebrate the best Christmas has to offer as AVSC presents “Christmas Memories” with guest performances by Antelope Valley Learning Academy Children’s Choir and featured guests “Makin’ Mischief” on Sunday, Dec. 15.

Two shows are available at 2 and 5 p.m. at Arbor Court Theater, 858 West Jackman St., Lancaster.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

AV Showcase Chorus of Sweet Adelines International meets at 7 p.m. Tuesdays at United Desert Charities, Angel Hall, 2101 East Palmdale Blvd., Palmdale.

For details, visit

Celebrate Christmas Memories with AVSC

AVSC Presents Christmas Memories

You are invited to come celebrate the best that Christmas has to offer with Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus. December 15 the chorus will host two performances at the Arbor Court Theater – home of It’s Only Tuesday Productions. The 1st show starts at 2 pm and the second at 5 pm.

Guests will include the children’s choir from Antelope Valley Learning Academy and everyone’s favorite Makin’ Mischief. Get your tickets at the door or call 661-726-9355.

Celebrate Christmas Memories with AVSC

Performing for “Celebrate America”

The AV Press once again gave the chorus a mention as they reminded the community about the activities coming up during Celebrate America taking place tomorrow on Lancaster Blvd.

We are grateful to the press and those promoting the event to be included in the articles. Read the latest one here…

Fireworks to end patriotic day

LANCASTER – After a tribute to Antelope Valley residents who served in the military, car and motorcycle shows and nostalgic music, downtown’s fourth annual Celebrate America festival on Lancaster Boulevard will culminate with a fireworks show.

The festival runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. The 10-minute fireworks show begins at 8:40 p.m. and will fire more than 400 shells, 200 of them as the grand finale.

“What better way to end a night of nostalgia, reminiscing and Americana than a stellar fireworks show?” Mayor R. Rex Parris said in the city’s announcement.

The fireworks show will originate at American Heroes Park just north of Lancaster Boulevard. Spectators will not be allowed in the park for safety reasons.

The best viewing will be from Lancaster Boulevard, said Brian Whalen, the city’s operations manager and event coordinator.

The annual tribute to America will include three stages of entertainment, including tributes to Frank Sinatra and Elvis. The Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus will perform at the Western Hotel Museum stage.

The Lancaster Performing Arts Center which will feature artists performing American tunes and a 1950s “Copacabana”-style night club starring jazz drummer Tony Capko and his group.

Other offerings include a children’s train ride, a mechanical bull ride benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project and a beer garden sponsored by Schooners, Harley- Davidson and Budweiser.

The Lancaster Museum of Art and History will showcase a “Women in Service and War” exhibit and a “Future in Space” exhibit.

Opening ceremonies will take place at 6:30 p.m., followed by the presentation of the U.S. flag by Sheriff’s Explorers and a performance of the National Anthem and “God Bless America” by the Antelope Valley Showcase Chorus.

A “Hometown Heroes” presentation honoring Antelope Valley veterans will take place at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center.