Hey everybody. This is Richard. Your director dude. I’ve been hearing some questions that are typical for new chorus members, so I thought I’d hop online and clear up some confusion, and hopefully provide some reassurance about what the Bella Nova experience will be all about.
So, some of you have been worried about whether there will be an audition for Bella Nova. The quick answer is no. Most people who are willing to give a barbershop harmony chorus a shot are people who have some experience with singing–even if it’s just solos in the car or in the shower. Did you sing with a high school chorus? Or a church choir at some point? Do you like doing karaoke, or even just singing “happy birthday” when the occasion arises? If so, you’ll be fine. My goal is to create a supportive, positive learning environment for all of our singers–from beginners to more experienced barbershoppers. We’re going to have a lot of fun, and we’re going to grow and succeed as a group.
So moving on to question number two… “What part will I sing?” I can help with that, especially for ladies who are new to this genre. When we have a chance to meet in person, I will do a simple exercise with you in private. I’ll pull you aside and maybe have you sing something simple like happy birthday. I have years of experience getting barbershop singers positioned on the right voice part, and we’ll be able to quickly assess our options for what musical role you can play with Bella Nova.
Generally speaking, folks who are new to barbershop harmony start by singing lead (the melody) or bass (the low part). Those who have some experience reading music may be better suited to baritone (filler harmony) or tenor (the high part).
And the bottom line is that you get a vote. We want you to sing a part that brings you joy. We want you to be comfortable. If you try out a voice part for a while and find yourself longing to give something else a shot, we can make that happen.
Are you worried about reading (or not reading) music? You don’t need to know how to read music. If you know how, that’s definitely an asset and it will certainly enhance your experience. But it’s not necessary, thanks to technology and the tools we have to help you learn music. Even if you’ve never had experience reading music before, you may find that your time with Bella Nova gives you some basic skills in this area. As you follow along with your learning tracks (recordings of your part on a particular song), you may develop some familiarity over time with the way music, especially barbershop music, is presented in the sheet music form.
Keep your questions coming. I’m here to help.