Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

Wow! What a wrap-up to 2015 for Bella Nova. So much of what we’ve been building for the last few years came to fruition in early November when we participated in Harmony, Inc.’s 2015 International Convention & Contests (IC&C). This was our very first time participating in the “big girl contest” and it turned out to be so much more than we could have ever imagined.

To take a step back, Bella Nova is much more than a “contest” chorus. We have spent much of our early days focusing on our path toward an international appearance, but the journey has been rewarding far beyond what we could have expected when we first set our eyes on the end goal. With each rehearsal, we become a tighter knit family, a sisterhood, a true team working together to make meaningful music.

A few weeks before IC&C, we had a serious discussion as a chorus and we decided that it was time to “let go” and put our trust in our incredibly talented director, Richard. We didn’t need to worry about our individual performances if we just trusted Richard. In fact, the song we sang, “Secondhand White Baby Grand” became a song less about a secondhand piano with plenty of life left in her to an analogy for Bella Nova Chorus. We were ready to be “played” and we needed to trust Richard to do what we knew he could do as one of the most experienced and talented barbershop harmony directors on this planet.

Folks, it worked. It worked beyond our wildest dreams. We had SO MUCH FUN up on that contest stage. We did what we meant to do, what we went there to do, and we had more emotion wrapped up in that chorus than any of us as individuals would have thought possible.

When a barbershop contest wraps up, the head of the judging panel will take the podium and execute what we affectionately refer to as “the call off.” When the call off happened in Verona, NY, in that ridiculously chilly auditorium, the following words boomed out over the audience: “Your 2015 5th place medalist chorus is… Bella Nova Chorus!!” From there, the world seemed to implode!! We were hoping to MAYBE make the top 10 in terms of placement; we never anticipated that we would walk away from our first international contest with medals.

We are so blessed that the team at Best Bets Photography happened to be positioned right in front of where our chorus was sitting in the audience. They turned and captured a moment that many of us will, most certainly, take with us to our graves.


And then our president, Christina Lewellen, and our director, Richard Lewellen, were called to the stage to collect our medals!

We are so optimistic about our future. We know from the bottom of our hearts that this was the first stop on a long and fulfilling journey for Bella Nova. We’re going to keep making music that we love, and we’re going to keep doing it in a positive, welcoming, and energetic environment. There’s room for EVERY voice on our risers. Women of all experience levels are coming together to make a sum greater than the parts. We’re reaching the original vision of our chapter one Sunday afternoon rehearsal at a time… and it’s had the unexpected and lovely side effect of some pretty yellow (5th place!) necklaces with which we can now accessorize.

We’re Harmony, We’re Strong!!

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