The Fondest Farewell

Bella Nova Chorus, barbershop harmony, women, a cappella, Harmony Incorporated, decision tree, Northern Virginia, singing, Christina Lewellen

This blog is written by our outgoing president, our FIRST president, Christina Lewellen.

Well it’s not exactly farewell. I’m certainly not going anywhere. But I am in my final days as Bella Nova’s president. Its first president. I’m assuming this is how it will feel when my daughters go off to college; I’m equally devastated and proud beyond belief all at the same time. It’s the strangest feeling, to be honest. But I’m 100% certain that Bella Nova has an amazing future ahead…and because of that confidence, I’m ready to let go.

In so many ways, I had no idea what I was getting into as the first president of Bella Nova. We’ve had lots of “figuring out” on our hands and I absolutely couldn’t have done it without our board leaders and our very, VERY patient membership. We were all in it together, and we were all committed to its success. Our founders are bonded for life, in my opinion. We built something… we’re still building something… and it’s fun to watch it all unfold.

I know I leave the chapter in the hands of an incredibly charismatic and dedicated leader, Susan Shields. It’s hard to believe I’ve only known her for a few short years because I can’t imagine my life without her. With the support of a very powerful board of directors, Susan is positioned for success. I’m here for you, girl. Don’t worry about a thing.

Look, this blog would be way too long for human consumption if I showcased every woman (and young woman) who deserves my thanks for the last few years. I could easily verbally walk up and down every spot on the risers and tell you how much each woman means to me. Bella Nova Babes: You are my sisters and I love you all. I’m so grateful to you for helping bring Bella Nova to life. Richard and I dreamed of this chorus almost 15 years ago, and you helped us accomplish our dream. I don’t know how to put in words what that means to me.

Speaking of my talented, encouraging, loving husband…Richard, you inspire all of us to be the best we can be. You lead us with the perfect blend of passion, high expectations, and a gentle touch. We are so proud to have you as our director. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish hanging on your fingertips.

As you can tell from all these sappy statements, I wanted to do something big–something lasting–on my way out the door. I wanted to leave a mark on Bella Nova that captures just a fraction of the appreciation I have for this organization. So in what I hope is the perfect blend of sappy, silly, and serious, I have established four award categories to introduce at Bella Nova’s first “big girl” installation banquet on April 3, 2016.

While I plan to keep the recipients a highly guarded secret until our celebration on Sunday, I thought I’d give a sneak peek into the awards and what they represent. The names of the winners have been blurred out to protect their identities! I’m presenting two in each category to cover the last two years….

Bella Nova Chorus, barbershop harmony, women, a cappella, Harmony Incorporated, decision tree, Northern Virginia, singing, Christina Lewellen, Riser DivaRiser Diva

The Riser Diva award is to recognize the member who epitomizes a core contributor from the Bella Nova risers. This member is always prepared, brings a positive attitude to the risers, and represents the type of singer we aim to attract to our risers. She is often a quiet contributor who gets the job done—and not just vocally. She exudes the type of work ethic and consistent performance to which we should all aspire.

Bella Nova Chorus, barbershop harmony, women, a cappella, Harmony Incorporated, decision tree, Northern Virginia, singing, Christina LewellenRichard’s Other Wife

Our esteemed Bella Nova director is only as good as the strong women who stand behind him. This member has provided above-and-beyond support to Richard throughout the year, enabling him to bring his best skills and most positive energy to the membership at large. She represents all of Bella Nova by supporting him behind the scenes in ways not often recognized. She positions him for success. In this way, she positions the entire chorus for success.

Bella Nova Chorus, barbershop harmony, women, a cappella, Harmony Incorporated, decision tree, Northern Virginia, singing, Christina LewellenFabulous Freshman

Consider this Bella Nova’s “rookie of the year” award. She may be new to barbershop, or just new to the Bella Nova risers, but she has already made a noticeable impact on the chapter. She was quick to fit into the Bella Nova culture and her energy is contagious enough to make us all feel like brand new members. We can’t image our chorus without her and, in a nutshell, we are better because she decided to become a member.

Bella Nova Chorus, barbershop harmony, women, a cappella, Harmony Incorporated, decision tree, Northern Virginia, singing, Christina LewellenThe Invisible Crown Award

Representing Bella Nova’s highest annual honor, the Invisible Crown award is presented to the member whose name deserves to be etched into Bella Nova’s history books for her selfless contributions, unwavering support of the Bella Nova culture, and the positive energy she pours into the growth of our chorus. No matter what the task at hand or the challenge our sisterhood faces, this member adjusts her “invisible crown” and takes care of business. She is the spirit and heart of Bella Nova—and for that we recognize her as chapter royalty.

Signing off…

So there you have it! We did it! From our first rehearsal in August 2013 to our first medal in November of 2015, we’ve had a fantastic couple of years that are more than worthy of a fabulous celebration. It’s now time to raise a glass to the journey ahead!

With much love, thanks, and respect,

Christina, your Almost-First-Immediate-Past-President

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2 thoughts on “The Fondest Farewell

  1. I adore you and the community we have formed at Bella nova. My life would be so much less without this chorus and these men and women who make it magic week by week. I love you.

  2. This is just s beautiful letter with such a n incredible message. Thank you for starting, building, and guiding this chorus. Bella Nova is not a hobby it is a family and I feel so honored and blessed to be a member Christina thank you for everything you have done and will continue to do/ President or not you are the heart of this chorus and an inspiration to us all

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