The Florida Vocal Association is a component organization of the Florida Music Education Association. Its primary purpose is to promote and develop interest in choral and general music in Florida Secondary Schools.
The officers of FVA are as follows: president, president-elect, vice-president (immediate past president), junior high-middle school chairman, JH/MS chairman-elect, executive director and district chairmen.
The governing and executive powers of the organization are vested in the Executive Board, which consists of the above-named officers. The board meets three times annually; in July, January, and May.
Active membership in the Florida Vocal Association shall be open to all persons actively engaged in the teaching of choral and/or general music in secondary schools of Florida. They must also be fully accredited by the State Department of Education for the state of Florida, and they must hold a current active teacher’s certificate.
Affiliate membership is open to music faculty members or music administrative staff in a Florida junior college, community college, college or university and those who are responsible for music activities in a Florida school district in a supervisory, coordinating or similar capacity.
Associate membership is open to all other persons who have an interest in music education.
Additionally, there are Retired, Student, and Honorary membership categories as set forth in the FVA Constitution, Article IV.
The annual dues for each membership category in FVA, FMEA and MENC shall be set by the Executive Boards of each organization, subject to the approval of their respective membership. Payment of dues entitles members to the following services:
- Membership in Florida Vocal Association
- Bulletins, minutes, and material sent out by the FVA
- Membership in National Association for Music Education (formerly MENC)
- Subscription to Music Educators Journal
- Membership in Florida Music Education Association
- Subscription to The Music Director
Brief History of FVA
According to a brief resume by A. K. Dickinson of the Tourist and Convention Bureau of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the first Florida High School Music Festival was held in 1928 in the city of Tampa. The first festivals were sponsored annually and conducted by M. L. Price of the Price Music Company of Tampa. Later they were sponsored by the University of Tampa and Mr. Price.
In 1936, festivals came under the supervision of the Convention and Tourist Bureau of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Attendance in that year was 1500 students. In 1938, letterhead stationery bore the name of “Florida High School Music Festival Association, Inc.” It must have been the first year for corporation officers. From the inception of the Tampa Music Festival until the early 1930’s, the Festival was dominated by orchestras and vocal groups. With the decline of school orchestras and the rapid growth of the band movement, the trend of choral domination at the Festival was reversed by 1936. The band directors organized their own association in July, 1936, and it was only a matter of time before the bands withdrew from participating in the Tampa Festival. By 1940 the vocal and orchestral groups were still united in festival participation. In that year there were 70 schools and 2695 students in attendance. Plaques and medals were given to groups and students for the first time that year.
Because of his concern over the stability of the Festival, and the strength of the newly formed band association, Peter J. Gustat, much respected Florida pioneer music educator, suggested that the vocal teachers of the state organize. Thus, the Florida Vocal Association was born in April, 1937, at Tampa with Gustat serving as the first president. The FVA held its first vocal clinic at Stetson University in December, 1938. Harold Giffin and Christopher Honaas directed a clinic choir of twenty-eight students and twelve directors. In 1949 FVA affiliated with the Florida Music Education Association. The vocal association continued to hold the State Competition-Festival at Tampa until 1962, when for the first time the Festival was held in Daytona Beach. The organization, formed mainly for festival purposes in the beginning, expanded its activities to include the selection and operation of All-State choruses as a part of the FMEA Clinic-Conference.
During the 1966–67 school year, the Florida State Vocal Association (composed of most of the Negro vocal teachers) was united with the FVA. The enlarged organization required that two centers be used for the State Festivals and membership soared to nearly 400. In 1975 another activity, a summertime convention, was added and now welcomes more than 250 directors to its reading sessions and workshops.
Currently FVA sponsors 6 All-State choruses, including an All-State Reading Chorus, unique in the country; and welcomes to rehearsals and the podium the finest of America’s choral conductors. State Festival entries have grown from 4101 in 1966 to over 17,000 from 7,000-plus students in more than 200 schools. Membership is over 800 directors in public and private schools in Florida.