VOCE stands for Vocalists, Orchestral instrumentalists, Chamber music and Ensembles. It is a prestigious competition for the above-mentioned disciplines at the Branch and State levels. In 1971, cellist Gretchen Kuehny Geber and pianist Eleonor Dalton of MTAC's San Fernando West Valley Branch created VOCE as a means of providing solo and chamber ensemble opportunities for students.
The first State VOCE Recital was held July 7, 1972 at the MTAC Convention in North Hollywood. Since then, the program has grown from five winning categories to ten. In 1998, 244 students performed, resulting in 46 competing finalists. In 2004, that number grew to 100 finalists.
Students first perform at Branch Competitions, which can be hosted by any Branch before March 1. Students without a Branch Competition can compete in other Branches. They will represent their own Branch and only compete against members from that Branch. A non-competitive format is available for students who are not quite ready for competition, allowing them to perform for judges' comments without being judged against other students.
First place winners of Branch Competitions advance to State Finals in April, held at Chapman University, Orange, California.
First place winners of State Finals perform at the State Convention in order to receive their cash awards and plaques. The 2014 MTAC San Mateo VOCE Branch-Level Competition: to be announced.