We have some awesome news!!! Bella Nova has been invited to participate in the 2017 Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival. This must-attend event is always the highlight of the a cappella year in the Mid-Atlantic Region and we are THRILLED to be sending a Bella Nova contingent to represent our harmonic sisterhood.


Representing Bella Nova is Erin, Rachael, Tricia, Allyn, Kris, Morgan, Kate, and Cat. These beautiful ladies are a stunning representation of the Bella Nova family and we’re grateful that they’re taking our contemporary approach to  barbershop harmony to the Harmony Sweepstakes event.

Just the Facts

Fun fact: Kris has participated in two Harmony Sweeps events before with Epic… but this time she’ll be laying down the bass notes rather then playing “blending ninja” baritone like she does with Epic!

Another fun fact: Our youngest Bella Nova participant is Morgan, who hits the Harmony Sweeps stage at just 13 years old.

A final fun fact: We’re not gonna tell you who is the oldest Bella Nova representative, because we don’t age in our chorus. Ever. Somehow, we’re all magically stuck at 29 years old…

Tickets are Elusive!

The Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival is a hot ticket!

Saturday, February 25, 7:30 p.m.

Hosted in the historic Birchmere Theater in Alexandria, space is limited and tickets are always at a premium. If you’re thinking about attending, do yourself a favor and grab your seat soon! The show always sells out.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

We hope to see you there. Bring some Bella Nova pride and enjoy the best a cappella music in the region!

Bella Nova Founder Named International President of Harmony, Inc.


Contact: Roxanne Powell, Director of Communications, Harmony, Inc.



Christina Lewellen Appointed to Serve as President of Barbershop Harmony Organization

Christina Lewellen

Christina Lewellen

ASHBURN, VA, OCTOBER 1, 2016 — Harmony, Incorporated, an international organization of female a cappella singers specializing in the barbershop harmony style, has announced that Christina Lewellen has been named International President. The Winchester, Va., previously served as VP Education and Director of Communications on the International Board of Directors, a leadership body elected to represent Harmony, Inc.’s membership on a wide range of business matters and issues.

“This an exciting time in Harmony Inc.’s history, which spans more than five decades,” says Lewellen. “We rely heavily on the talents and expertise of our volunteer leadership to thrive as an organization, and I’m honored to be leading the charge of such a stellar group of women. Serving on the International Board of Directors is a great responsibility, but it also lends itself to great rewards. Being named International President is, indeed, the greatest reward.”

Lewellen has been a member of Harmony, Inc. for six years. She is a member of Bella Nova Chorus, based in Ashburn, Va. and has served in a variety of leadership positions at the local level. In addition to serving as Bella Nova’s first chapter president, she is also the tenor of Epic, Harmony, Inc.’s 2012 International Quartet Champions. She participates in the hobby with her husband, their children, her parents and her sister.

“Barbershop harmony is a part of my family—so many of the wonderful people I’ve met through this organization have become like family,” Lewellen says. “Having the opportunity to serve in the positions I have is honestly the least I can do to give back to the organization that has given me so much.”

When she is not engaged with the barbershop harmony hobby, she works as an association executive for a global professional association based in Washington, D.C.

Harmony, Inc. celebrates and preserves the barbershop harmony style, which traces its musical roots back to the turn of the 20th century. Today, barbershop harmony singers not only celebrate the classics, but also put their own spin on contemporary songs as well. For more information, visit

About Harmony, Incorporated:

Harmony, Inc. is an international, non-profit organization whose purpose is to empower all women through education, friendship and a cappella singing in the barbershop style. Since 1959, the organization has expanded from its Eastern roots to include more than 60 chapters in the United States and Canada, from California to Newfoundland, and from Manitoba to Florida. For more information, visit




Nervous…until we weren’t

We’re in the final weeks before heading off to our second Area Contest & Convention (AC&C) up in Rochester, N.Y. We’re super excited because we’re taking a song we LOVE (“Secondhand White Baby Grand”). It’s a song that means a lot to Bella Nova. It earned us a medal last fall at IC&C and it’s come to signify the Bella Nova journey. It’s a bit like slipping on your favorite pair of jeans…it always fits just right.

But our second contest song is a new uptune that we’ll be debuting with our Area 3 sisters on April 30th. It’s new-ish and the choreography package is super new-ish. We’ll be honest–we were more than a little nervous heading into last weekend’s rehearsal. We still had plenty of finishing touches to put on the song and we had been missing a slew of members due to sickness, work, life, etc.

Any singer who has experienced the weeks leading up to contest certainly understands how that deadline puts a healthy amount of pressure on a rehearsal. We were feeling it, no doubt. In fact, we even decided to push pause on our live streaming of rehearsals via Periscope so we could lock things down and channel our focus.

Then…in typical Bella Nova fashion… a few things happened:

  1. We scheduled a LuLaRoe fundraiser for the morning of our rehearsal. Suddenly, we were more focused on cute patterns, and “omg, that dress is SOOOOO you,” and teamwork, and writing (BIG) checks. Shopping is therapy, people. Trust us.
  2. At the previous rehearsal, we identified a few holes in our visual plan and asked the chorus for feedback. Long story short, the emails started flying and we basically crowdsourced the rest of our choreo package. Together, we came up with a plan that would work for area…and we have more enhancements in store for International contest (should we be fortunate enough to make the numbers!).
  3. We rolled out this crowdsourced choreo at rehearsal. We were fierce. We were committed to getting it right. We worked it… HARD.
  4. Then, a moment of utter “eye of the storm” breathlessness. As our two fabulous LuLaRoe consultants (thank you Jessie and Stephanie!!!!!) were cleaning up and preparing to leave, we asked them to join us in the rehearsal hall itself so we could properly thank them for supporting Bella Nova on its journey as a chapter. We guided Jessie and Stephanie to the center of the front row and we surrounded them in a great big Bella Nova circle. Then, we sang them our Bella Nova “goodbye” tag. From the first chord we hit, the ladies were physically affected. Jessie, in particular, immediately began shaking and teared up. Then we teared up. Her reaction was so powerful it was breathtaking. It stopped us in our tracks and suddenly our stress about finishing off a contest package was gone. For the ladies in the chorus who stood in front of her, it was a moment we’re unlikely to forget for many, many years. We love you, Jessie. Come back and join us… you’re a part of our family now!Bella Nova Chorus, female, barbershop harmony, choir, Northern Virginia, Harmony Inc., Sweet Adelines, a cappella
  5. We talked. We talk a lot as a chorus. We talked about what it means to want to do our best, but not at the expense of anyone being uncomfortable or not having fun. We talked about being our own bratty selves on stage. We talked about what it means to be “Bella Nova” authentic. We’re probably going to execute a less-than-perfect plan, but our goals have nothing to do with being perfect. They have more to do with experiencing this journey as a family.

There are a lot of Bella Novas who are probably sipping some wine and going to bed early tonight. Sunday’s rehearsal was killer in so many good ways. We were nervous, until we weren’t, and now we’re cruising toward Area 3 contest with the Bella Nova spirit, complete with half-baked choreo, a few surprises up our sleeves, and a stronger bond than ever before.

That, in our opinion, is #winning.

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

Feel Free to Spy on Bella Nova

periscope-logoSo we have been experimenting with something sort of cool. It all started to meet the needs of our members who are not residents of the greater Washington, D.C., area. We have regular Bella Nova sisters who live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, wayyyyy up in New Jersey, and even MORE wayyyyy up in Western New York. As such, we thought it might be interesting to live stream our rehearsals to make it easier for them to keep up with our quickly moving chapter.

As we discussed the idea with our director, Richard, he expressed a desire to let people peek “behind the curtain” at Bella Nova to see what a normal rehearsal looks like. We don’t have any particular secret sauce, but we like to have fun and we take a strong stance on education and personal development in our chapter. So why not experiment with live streaming to see if it would be of interest to an audience beyond our out-of-town members? Maybe it would allow prospects to check us out before taking the first step toward becoming a member. Letting ladies “spy” on us will give them the opportunity to see if our culture aligns with their musical goals (and hopes and dreams!) with ZERO pressure.

Enter Periscope. If you’re not familiar with the platform, it’s pretty simple, especially if you’re simply viewing a live stream. If you pop open your laptop on a Sunday afternoon and visit Bella Nova’s Periscope channel, you’ll be able to observe our rehearsal as it unfolds. The video stays on the Periscope channel for 24 hours, but that’s it. After that, it disappears.

Bella Nova Periscope

Feel free to join us sometime! We rehearse this Sunday from 1pm to 4pm, EST. There’s always room for you on the virtual risers at Bella Nova!