Learning Arm Waving - LAW


Level Descriptors
LAW School Staff Bios

Learn Arm Waving (LAW) school is for directors, musical leaders, and singers to get a better understanding of that magical form of communication called conducting! Many of us need to get better at directing; all of us need to get better at following our director!

Directing classes are leveled for beginners all the way through experienced front-line directors, with compassionate training and coaching at each level by some of Region 12’s best director coaches. There are no tests and you never graduate – it’s education at its best, truly learning for lifelong improvement.

Singers who come for the day not only get the fun of singing in a large chorus with new friends from all over the region, but they also observe and learn about how to direct a chorus clearly, expressively, and in a way that gets the best out of the singers. They come home with a much better appreciation for the hard job their director does!

We are currently planning to have two workshops per year, one in the north, and one in the south. Check the regional website and make sure it’s on your calendar!

Sign up when you register for an AIM weekend.

If you have any questions please contact Angela Suraci.


Level Descriptors

Level Beginner

  • Desire to learn
  • Learn the terminology and concepts of barbershop directing. 
  • Within the class, have opportunities to practice beginning skills such as starts, cut-offs, tempo, and dynamics.

Level Beginner/Intermediate

  • Show comfort with basic conducting skills and with receiving individual feedback
  • Experience results of various conducting techniques.
  • Participate in classroom directing with feedback.

Level Intermediate

  • Demonstrate confidence with the basics of barbershop directing and have experience in conducting groups.
  • Develop awareness of different communication styles while directing and incorporate them into your own style. 
  • Identify and develop skills in directing barbershop embellishments and transitions.
  • Gain experience and confidence in directing whole songs in public with coaching

Level Advanced

  • Confidently demonstrate skill in directing barbershop ballad and uptune styles. 
  • Develop artistry and finesse in conducting. 
  • Learn to create and implement an interpretive plan. 
  • Gain skill, experience and confidence in directing in public. 
  • Take advantage of extra opportunities for feedback.

Level Front Line Director

  • Continue to develop artistry and finesse in conducting.  
  • Learn to create and implement an interpretive plan.  
  • Discuss problems unique to front line directing.  
  • Mentoring by Graduate professor LW Staf

Law School Staff


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LAW School Dean:

Angela Suraci

In 2006, Mission Valley Chorus welcomed Angela Suraci as the new Mission Valley Chorus director. Angela joined Bay Area Showcase Chorus in 1998. She has served as an Assistant Director and Lead Section Leader since 1999. Her barbershop history started years before as her mother, Carol, had been an active member since 1965. Angela has always been active in music singing in high school, college and professional choirs as well as pursuing a career in opera. Angela received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy and a BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University. She is also a private voice instructor and coaches quartets and choruses in the area. Angela has achieved the level of Master Director. Angela was born in Castro Valley, CA, where her parents still reside.
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Jan Gervais

After 27 years of frontline directing, Jan is retired. As the proud director of Pacific Empire Chorus, she led her chorus to the International stage nine times. Jan attained Master Director status "because of the dedication to excellent singing of the members of PEC!" She is a 50 year member of SAI and is a retired Certified Judge in the Expression Category. Jan has also served on the International Education Direction Committee, the Regional Faculty, the Regional Management Team as Director Coordinator and is currently serving as the Regional Faculty Coordinator. Since the program began, she has been a LAW professor where she says she has "learned much from the students” and continues as Professor to frontline directors.
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Professor - :

Julie Starr

Julie Starr has been directing the Bay Area Showcase Chorus since 2002, after 11 years as an assistant director and five years as director of the Diablo Vista Chorus in Walnut Creek. Bay Area Showcase Chorus is a consistent Regional champion and International competitor, with numerous top ten medals and a thriving membership from the San Francisco Bay area and beyond.
Julie is a Master Director and currently also serves as the Region 12 Education Coordinator. She believes strongly in the importance of educating, developing, and nurturing musical leaders, and has been a part of the L.A.W. program since its inception. She is also active on various International committees.
Recently retired from a career as a technical writer and project manager, Julie is an active coach and voice teacher, and arranges music for barbershop when she gets the time. She has quartetted over many years, appearing on the International stage with three different quartets in three different decades. Julie describes her involvement in the L.A.W. program as a highlight of her Sweet Adelines year, and she loves working with the eager, dedicated women who come to learn arm waving.
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Cyndi Sharp

Cyndi Sharp is a Certified Director, and member of Region 12's teaching and coaching faculty, and our Young Women in Harmony Program Manager.
She has been a Sweet Adeline since 1986 and has served on the Regional Education Committee and coordinator for the Director Certification Program. Cyndi directed Diablo Vista Chorus for ten years and has sung in several competing quartets. Her fondest Sweet Adeline project has been creating Region 12's Mountain Harmony Camp for girls.
Cyndi's musical education includes master classes in vocal production, choral theory, and theater arts. She has held many roles in theater, including light opera and comedy. She recently retired after 30 years as an Interpreter for the Deaf for Mt. Diablo Unified School District, and directing Westwood Elementary's Musical Theater Group, offering theater arts to upper elementary students and producing two shows for the community each year. She cherishes family time with her husband and two adult married children.
Cyndi is passionate about providing the best education for our members and is especially proud to participate in our exceptional LAW program saying, "It's magical to experience the empowerment of both singers and future directors in just one day of education in this safe environment!"
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Kathy Scheel

Kathy has been a member of Sweet Adelines since 1971, holding nearly every position of chorus and regional leadership. She served on three Regional Management Teams as Secretary, Education Coordinator, and Chaired many workshops; led the regional quartet champions group (Gold Country), chairing many quartet educational and performance events, and Region 24 honored her with the coveted Rose Award in 2011 for her many services to Sweet Adelines. Kathy sang lead in a two-time championship quartet (Columbia Connection), directed 2 championship choruses (City of Roses and Northwest Harmony), and is currently the Master Director of Oregon Spirit Chorus.

Kathy is excited to now be a part of Region 12 and is honored to be a LAW School Professor, a Certified Regional Faculty member, also serving on the Regional Education Steering Committee, and Program Chair for Summer Spectacular 2017.

Kathy "accidentally" started Oregon Spirit Chorus in October 2005, when a small group of ladies just wanted to sing for the holidays. The little group stayed together and Oregon Spirit was chartered in 2007 and went on to achieve 1st Place Division AA five times in a row, 2nd Place overall, and Audience Choice two times. Kathy says it was quite a thrill to come to Region 12 and win the 1st Place Division A in 2014, and now OSC is Harmony Classic-bound!

Kathy is the proud single mother of 28-year old Ken, is a Project Coordinator and Support Department Manager and Project Coordinator at Jacobs Engineering (26 years). She comes from a very musical family and formerly played first violin in symphony orchestras, fiddle in a bluegrass band, taught herself how to play piano, guitar, and bass (stand-up), and was a studio musician. But barbershop harmony is her passion and she loves sharing what she has learned through the many outstanding coaching and educational events she has experienced through her 43 years in Sweet Adelines.
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Barbara Vander Putten

Barbara Vander Putten Bio:
Barbara Vander Putten, a Bay Area native, began her vocal music career in 1977 joining the West Valley Masterworks, with whom she sang diverse repertoire including Mozart & Verdi's Requiem (with a performance at Carnegie Hall), Bach B minor Mass, Rutter's Gloria, etc, as well as a variety of folk music, madrigals, show tunes and spirituals. She was the Assistant Director of the award-winning Mission Valley Chorus (Sweet Adelines Intl) for 12 yrs, serving as Interim Director in 2005. Barbara was named Director of the Harmony Fusion Chorus in March of 2006, proudly leading them to a fourth place medal in their regional contest a year later. In spring of 2011, Harmony Fusion snapped up another fourth place medal with their highest score to date.

Barbara is a Certified Director, a member of the SAI Region 12 coaching faculty, participated on the judging panel for the West Coast Regional Harmony Sweeps Semi-Finals in 2006 and is perhaps best known as The Duchess in the off-the-wall comedy quartet, The Aquanettas (1999-2006). She's currently sings Bass in her quartet, With a Twist. In addition to singing, Barbara uses her speaking voice as the enthusiastic host of The Human Voice Show, featuring a cappella harmony, on People's Radio KKUP - Cupertino 91.5fm.
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Sally Massen

Sally is a Certified Director and serves on the Regional Faculty. She also served on the RMT as Director Coordinator. She currently is an Assistant Director for Bay Area Showcase Chorus and Mission Valley Chorus. She directed Harmony Bay which was located in Alameda for 6 years and led them to a 5th place medal at regional contest. She currently is the director of the River LIghts Chorus. She sings tenor with the past medalist quartet, With a Twist for 8 years. She has held many chorus positions over the years and served on the Management Team. She currently serves on the Music Staff for both choruses..
She has a Master in Music with an emphasis in directing and voice. She retired after serving 36 years with the Valley Transportation Authority as a Assistant Superintendent of Transportation and also taught Rail Accident Investigation for the U.S. Department of Transportation throughout the country.