Valencia high’s jazz choir reaches a new range of success, prepares for France in the summer 

The Valencia High School Jazz Choir traveled to Cincinnati at the end of February to perform at the American Choral Directors convention. Photo courtesy of the Valencia Vikings Choir Booster Club

 The Valencia High School Jazz Choir is preparing for a summer of traveling and performing in Paris after much success at a national convention in Ohio.  

According to Choir Director Christine Tavares-Mocha, her students traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, for the American Choral Directors Association convention. The four-day trip provided opportunities for the jazz choir to perform, network and learn through various workshops.  

It also gave them a chance to meet with different universities that offer choral programs such as the University of Michigan, University of Texas at Austin, and Wheaton College. 

Stevie Petree, 10th grader and a soprano for the jazz choir, said it was such a huge honor to be invited to perform as part of the convention.  

“We had a fun time performing. It was an amazing audience of teachers, educators, scouts and choral directors from all around the nation,” Petree said. “It was just an amazing trip.” 

Bella Petree, an 11th grader and a soprano, echoed her sister’s excitement about the trip.  

“We got to go in deep with all of our music with a lot of different directors who just helped us grow as musicians,” Bella said. “By the end of the week, we had seen so many different, very powerful choral groups perform. The opportunity to see them was inspiring and incredible to watch.” 

The jazz choir performed five songs, which included “Social Call,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “Building a Ladder,” “Do You Know What I Want,” and “Refugee.” 

According to Bella, before she joined jazz choir, she didn’t like going to school.  

“I had no motivation to go to school, and one day I saw my friend in choir and she looked like she had a lot of fun. She had a lot of friends, and I was excited about that, plus the teacher seemed really cool, and friendly,” Bella said. 

“When we made jazz choir,” she continued, “they showed up at our house around 7 in the morning and the choir were like, ‘Congratulations you made it.’” 

Stevie said the jazz choir says “yes” to most performances that they’re invited to attend. Recently, the jazz choir performed as backup singers with Broadway stars at Pepperdine University.  

“Music is definitely something that I want to continue pursuing in life. It’s something that brings me a lot of joy, and from choir, I’ve made all these new connections,” Stevie said. “It’s a good outlet.” 

The jazz choir has several performances from now until the end of May, and in the summer, the choir is scheduled to travel and perform in France – in Paris, Normandy and other places, too. 

Sally Petree, the girls’ mom, serves as the head of media for the Valencia Vikings Choir Booster Club, and said they are in the middle of fundraising $45,000 to send 65 students to France.  

“We accept donations. We are a 501c3, so if anybody wants to donate that’s always super helpful,” Petree said.  

“The biggest thing with them, it’s an outlet for them to be peaceful because school is tough and being teenage girls, that’s tough, too,” she continued. 

For those interested in donating to the jazz choir, visit 

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