In August 2010, James Toland conceived the idea of a Bay Area voice competition to support singers working to achieve professional success. The idea was met with considerable enthusiasm, including that of Oakland Symphony Music Director and Conductor Michael Morgan, who agreed to grant the competition winner the opportunity to perform with the Oakland Symphony. Encouraged by this initial support, a fundraising goal for competition prize money and operations was established, and efforts began in 2011 to solicit pledges toward that goal. These fundraising efforts were successful and, by June 2012, pledges had exceeded the initial goal.
With pledges secured, a board of directors was constituted and the inaugural meeting took place on July 30, 2012. The new board of directors unanimously resolved to establish a nonprofit corporation. Articles of Incorporation were filed with the State of California on September 21, 2012; and federal 501(c)(3) tax exempt status was granted in June 2013.
JTVA Founder and General Director James Toland has been a private voice teacher for the past thirty years, whose students have performed in major opera houses and on concert stages throughout the world. He has served in recent years as a master teacher for the prestigious San Francisco Girls Chorus, and has taught for the Piedmont Children's Chorus and Young Women's Choral Projects of San Francisco, as well as the choral music programs of the Acalanes School District. Currently, Mr. Toland is the director of the Pacific Masterworks Chorus.
He has been a clinician for multiple choral groups such as: the Peninsula Women's Chorus, Cantare Con Vivo, the Young Women's Choral Projects of San Francisco, the choirs of Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota as well as the University of Tennessee. He led the chorus of Festival Opera in Walnut Creek, California for seven years. In addition, he has served as the vocal coach for the musical theater productions of the Diablo Theatre Company. He has been a frequent adjudicator for numerous voice competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In the early 2000s, he served on the board of directors of Festival Opera, as well as Livermore Opera. Prior to his work in the Bay Area, he spent more than a decade as the artistic director of the Eugene Opera, where his stage direction was featured in an NPR segment of "All Things Considered." Prior to that, he was the company manager of Texas Opera Theater, the touring arm of Houston Grand Opera.
Achieving success as a vocalist in the world of the performing arts is a complex and challenging task. JTVA broadens the search for and exposure of new voices within the local arts community. We provide encouragement for singers early in their careers and the opportunity for further development and promotion of singing talent.
Our primary emphasis is on an annual vocal competition that provides exposure to expert judging, performance opportunities before a live audience, and monetary prizes. JTVA also produces or participates in auxiliary events of a related nature, such as master classes, workshops, and other training or networking opportunities.
We invite you to learn more about our organization and annual vocal competition. If you are interested in receiving occasional updates on programs and events, we would be delighted to have you follow us on Facebook and join our email list below.