Apr 01

Open Letter to the PCA Regarding SingStrong

SLHSCP_Logo_ColorMarch 23, 2015


Re: SingStrong

Dear PCA Members,

It has come to our attention that some current and former members of the PCA have voiced concerns regarding the charitable structures of the SingStrong silent auction, distributions, and, our involvement with SingStrong.  We take these concerns very seriously and have thoroughly investigated them.  We wanted to let you know the results of our audit, and the corresponding effects and results of this inquiry.

To summarize our findings, the concerns were based upon erroneous information concluded from an incomplete picture after a review of our books.  The Alzheimer’s Association’s National Capital Area Chapter has confirmed that they have received all of the monies intended since inception.  In fact, with the matching contributions, they have received well over $100,000 from the silent auctions.  Further, they were active in, and directly participated in the silent auctions for the past few years.  Many assertions were made that were found baseless upon review.  The PCA only processed credit card donations on behalf of the auction, so this inquiry was based on only a partial view of the donations.  All payments for auction items made via check were written directly to Alzheimer’s Association at the event and, thus, were not included in the formal books of the PCA.  We have spoken with both the National Office and the National Capital Area Chapter office to confirm this information.  In addition, the tag line for SingStrong clearly stated that all proceeds are to go to Alzheimer’s Association and LOCAL MUSIC PROGRAMS.  The PCA is a qualified 501(c)(3) organization that is in compliance and is able to receive such funds.

This year was interrupted in its planning causing serious  issues as a result of this concern being voiced to the powers that be in Fairfax County and even to the National Alzheimer’s Association.  The current board of the PCA worked tirelessly to do the following:

  1. Ensure that the prior SingStrong Contract was terminated.
  2. Drafted and entered into an entirely new Contract with SingStrong.
  3. Ensured that the PCA was 100% responsible for all expenses associated with the event.
  4. Completed, submitted, and gained approval and acceptance of the FCPS major event form.
  5. A member of the board met directly with Mr. Minkoff, the SingStrong producer, the SLHS Principal, Mrs. Retzer, the FCPS Comptroller, and legal counsel to make sure the structure was compliant.
  6. The new SingStrong Contract was submitted to FCPS Risk Management, reviewed and accepted.
  7. The PCA procured the appropriate insurance coverage for the event and themselves as well as FCPS and SLHS.
  8. The PCA and SingStrong both applied to the State Corporation Commission to be able to solicit funds on behalf of another charitable organization, and were accepted.
  9. All entertainer contracts were reviewed and accepted by the PCA throughout the process.
  10. All hotel and reasonable expenses were reviewed by the PCA prior to acceptance and payment.
  11. All necessary forms for IRS compliance were attained prior to payments being made to the talent. Form compliance for previous years and any missing IRS documentation from prior years was completed as well.
  12. The prior year’s distribution was made to National Capital Alzheimer’s Association in 2014 from the previous event.
  13. The current Board met with the local National Capital Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association representatives to review the Silent Auction and assure its legality,  and solicit their help.
  14. Less than a week before SingStrong 2015, the concerned individual(s) contacted Alzheimer’s Association National Organization resulting in an investigation into SingStrong.  The paperwork from the PCA had been in order for a number of years, but only on a localized level.
  15. As a result, the PCA and SingStrong changed charitable entities to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund– a charity that was more in line with our goals, as 100% of the monies go to the charge (the operating expenses for Cure Alzheimer’s Fund are paid by their board so all donations go to research).
  16. SingStrong, the National Capital Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, and all related entities validated the prior relationship from legal documentation, validated all contributions, and complied with the request from the Alzheimer’s Association.  This validation has shown the allegations to be baseless.
  17. All posters, postcards, and the website had to be changed at our expense to accommodate the request.
  18. All solicitation letters were changed to the correct Tax ID numbers for both Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and PCA.
  19. The PCA received the full support of the SLHS administration and FCPS staff for this event.

The positive result for the PCA and this event was a total commitment from your board and all of the volunteers (including your children) to get a partially snowed out event off the ground and turn it into a success.  It was the most attended SingStrong ever!  The event raised approximately $10,000 for the PCA to benefit our kids.  The Auction raised more than $12,000 for Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, and we have become a model for the contracting process to be used throughout the County for such events in the future.

The negative is that the Alzheimer’s Association in our area, in Chicago, and Nationally has lost a 20+ year relationship with a donor that, combined with our silent auctions, has contributed as much as $500,000 over that period.

The PCA Board and numerous people involved with this event have tried to be as open and transparent as possible to the community, which has not always been the case in the past.  We understand that this is about ALL of our kids and their music education. In keeping with our effort to remain transparent, we are putting the history of SingStrong out to the PCA as a link on our website as far back as we have information.

The net of all of this is that all monies associated with this event have been handled in different ways by different boards, but ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY IS MISSING OR INAPROPRIATELY DISTRIBUTED, and the charitable entities have received all funds as stated.

We, the entire PCA Board, are grateful to the community for supporting us, SingStrong, and choral education at South Lakes High School.  Should you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.


The SLHS PCA Board 2014-15

SingStrong Summary
SingStrong Checkbook

Mar 25

Music Department State Assessment Results

vmea-300x200Congratulations to the South Lakes High School Music Department on its outstanding performances at their State Assessments. Band, Guitar, Orchestra and Chorus all received the highest rating of Superior. The Music Department  will receive the Blue Ribbon Award again this year from the Virginia Music Educators Association. 

All 4 of the choral ensembles earned a superior rating (the highest possible rating) from every judge this year.

In addition, the Band program will be named a Virginia Honor Band for receiving Superior ratings at their Fall Marching Band Assessment and Spring Concert Band Assessment.

Combined with 4 students selected for All-State, 60 All-District Musicians,  3 Senior Regional musicians, 1 VMEA Honors Choir and 1 US Army All-American it has been a tremendous year at South Lakes for the Music Department.

Mar 23

Spring Trip Forms Posted

NashvilleThe forms for the Spring Trip are ready.  Please print them out, fill them out and bring to the mandatory meeting on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 7 PM in the chorus room.

Please bring them to the mandatory Spring Trip Meeting Wednesday night (3/25/15).

The Cover Letter contains general info and a list of forms needed (Numbered below)

  1. FINAL TOUR SCHEDULE – South Lakes and Oakton HS – Nashville – Apr 2015 as of 14Apr2015
  2. Parental Authorization 
  3. Luggage Search Form 
  4. Rules and Regulations and Acknowledgement Form
  5. Student Information
  6. Teacher Signature Form (fixed 3/24 at 5:45 PM)
  7. Travel Agent’s Individual Passenger Contact Form
  8. Epipen Authorization 
  9. Inhaler Authorization 
  10. Medication Guidelines
    Medication Authorization 


Please resubmit the following forms if they have changed since the beginning of the year:

Chaperones, please complete the Chaperone Information form too.

Please use the Travel Check List when packing for the trip to make sure you don’t forget anything!

Dec 21

Chorus Documents Updated

updateThe following chorus documents on the Welcome to Chorus 2014/2015 page have been updated:

Oct 21

Nashville Spring Trip Information

Dear Choral Parents and Students,

I am excited to announce that our Spring Trip this year will be to Nashville, TN. If we have enough student interest, we will travel April 16 thru April 19, 2015. We are doing a joint trip this year with Oakton High School’s Choral Department. We have done this trip together in the past and it was a wonderful experience!

There was a Spring Trip Interest Meeting: Monday, October 20.  

We covered the itinerary, payment schedule, contract and answered any questions. Those interested in Chaperoning should attend and/or let Mrs. Gigliotti know by November 7. Chaperones go at half price. It is critical that we have all deposits and contracts for those participating by Friday, November 7th.

VanderbiltThe working itinerary is linked below. We will be visiting Vanderbilt University and participating in a choral workshop there with their school of music professors.

In addition, you will see that we will engage in many cultural and musical activities throughout the weekend including a recording session at RCA studios and a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry prior to the live show. We will leave South Lakes High School on Thursday morning, April 16th and travel to Nashville via charter bus.

GrandOleOpryWe will leave Nashville on Sunday morning and drive back to Virginia, arriving back at South Lakes around midnight. The school has approved this class absence as long as students plan ahead and complete all 3rd quarter assignments before departing on April 16th , which is the 2 hour early release day. This will be the only school day students would miss.

Transportation, workshop fees, tickets to events, most meals, night security, and lodging will be provided as part of the trip package. The cost will vary slightly depending on the total number of participants.  The trip is estimated to cost between $750 -$800 per student. The more students that participate, the less the trip will cost per student.

Payments will be divided into small installments throughout the year: November, January and March. The Choral department will sponsor at least two optional student fundraisers to help offset the cost of the trip.  Students will be able to fund-raise directly through the Scrip program for their own trip costs. Students in need can also apply for a limited number half tuition scholarships which will be funded by the PCA.

Rita Gigliotti, SLHS Choral Director

*Should there not be enough students to meet the minimum number required for the trip, money will be fully refunded. 

* A hard copy of this letter and itinerary was passed out in classes to students this week.

Scholarship Application 2015
SLHS Spring Trip 2015 Contract – Chaperones
SLHS Spring Trip 2015 Contract – Students
Working Tour Schedule – Nashville – Apr 2015 (as of 2 February 2015)

Latest Forms

The latest forms are listed below.  Please bring them to the mandatory Spring Trip Meeting Wednesday night (3/25/15).

Cover Letter containing general info and list of forms needed (Numbered below)

  1. Working Tour Schedule – Nashville – Apr 2015 (as of 2 February 2015)
  2. Parental Authorization 
  3. Luggage Search Form 
  4. Rules and Regulations and Acknowledgement Form
  5. Student Information
  6. Teacher Signature Form
  7. Travel Agent’s Individual Passenger Contact Form
  8. Epipen Authorization 
  9. Inhaler Authorization 
  10. Medication Guidelines
    Medication Authorization 

Chaperones, please complete the Chaperone Information form too.

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