What a Weekend!

Wow! What a weekend for the Bella Nova sisterhood! Once again, we had the opportunity to share the stage with our brothers in harmony, the Fairfax Jubil-Aires. In addition to sharing a director, the Fairfax gents are truly our partners in crime. They have been so supportive of Bella Nova throughout our journey and they’ve welcomed us to take part in their annual show for the last several years. As partners, we work hard to fill the seats in the auditorium and we sure had a successful outcome to our efforts this year. The cherry on top was featured quartet, Route 1; those guys are simply awesome.

Bella Nova Chorus, barbershop harmony, Harmony Inc., a cappella, Richard Lewellen, female barbershop, Northern Virginia choir, Washington DC, chorus, women singing

A small but mighty Bella Nova contingent on the Fairfax Jubil-Aires show, March 2016.

Our numbers were a bit light this year. So many of our sisters were taken down by bugs, the flu, and other obligations! We were missing about a third of the chorus but the remaining members sure brought their “big girl” voices! In the first show, we knew our sound was solid from the first few lines of the opening song. By the time we got to our contest ballad, “Secondhand White Baby Grand,” we had settled in for a fantastic ride–we were connected to each other, and we were hanging on Richard’s fingertips. The ballad was probably the best we’ve ever sung it. It was magic. We could see it all over Richard’s face! And when we later made our way to the lobby to greet our audience, we were blown away by the comments and feedback we got about our set! What an uplifting experience.

Bella Nova Chorus, barbershop harmony, Harmony Inc., a cappella, Richard Lewellen, female barbershop, Northern Virginia choir, Washington DC, chorus, women singing

ReVoiced stepped out for a few songs. A special shout out to lead, Grace, who was celebrating her 15th birthday!

We also need to offer a shout-out to our first official Bella Nova quartet, ReVoiced. These ladies always do us proud, but we were particularly proud to have them step out from the risers and represent our chorus with two songs during the show. Not only are they singing better and better with each performance, but it’s clear the audience loves them as much as we do. And best of all…. Saturday was Grace’s 15th birthday. What 15 year old do you know who spends her 15th birthday singing barbershop all day long!?! Happy birthday, beautiful Grace. We love you.

In between the two shows, our assistant director, Kris Adams, taught us some Pitch Perfect mash-ups to keep our voices warmed up and ready to go. A very fun way to pass the time!

Bella Nova Chorus, barbershop harmony, Harmony Inc., a cappella, Richard Lewellen, female barbershop, Northern Virginia choir, Washington DC, chorus, women singing

The Fairfax Jubil-Aires having some fun with crazy wigs as their music walked the audience through the decades.

All but one song of our show set were arranged by Larry Wright, who just happened to be in the audience for both performances. He told Richard that we did him proud and even elicited a misty eye during the ballad. There is no higher honor for us than to bring our brilliant arranger’s work to life. Larry–you bring the soul to Bella Nova’s music. Thank you.

To top it all off, we had our regular rehearsal on Sunday because, hey, contest is coming! We’re bound and determined to roll out our new uptune so there is no rest for the weary (or wicked, as some might say). We kept it short; we were all BEYOND tired. But we made great progress, warming up with our Pitch Perfect mash-up from the day before, and working hard to refine our choreo moves. We opened our rehearsal to the “interwebs” once again with Periscope and Queen Lindsay “stopped by to visit” for a while! Hi, Lindsay!!! Best of all–a woman from our afternoon show’s audience came by as a visitor and left as a NEW MEMBER!!! We were so excited to meet her and open our arms to another Bella Nova sister!

All and all, another fantastic experience in the Bella Nova journey. XOXO!

Bella Nova Chorus, barbershop harmony, Harmony Inc., a cappella, Richard Lewellen, female barbershop, Northern Virginia choir, Washington DC, chorus, women singing

The big finale!

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.

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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!!

2015 Momentum

Bella Nova Chorus, female a cappella, barbershop harmony, Harmony Inc., Northern Virginia

Hi everyone! Boy have we had a busy spring and summer. We attended our first Area Contest & Convention (AC&C) as official members of Area 3 of Harmony, Inc. This was new for us! Before, our chapter had been classified as a “geographically outlying chapter” in Harmony, Inc., but effective with this year’s membership renewals, we were welcomed into the Area 3 family and we qualified for International the good ole’ fashioned way–with a minimum qualifying score!

For many of our members, this was only the second or third time they had every participated in a barbershop harmony contest. We even had a few first-timers! We had an excellent time and we felt great coming off of the stage. As always, Richard (our fearless leader) was a fabulous coach and director. He kept us calm and focused…and, most importantly, he reminded us to enjoy the ride.

We’re now focused on our preparations for this year’s International Contests & Convention (IC&C), which takes place near Syracuse, N.Y., this year. We’re really, REALLY excited about our new ballad. It’s hard, but it’s worth it! We’ll be spiffing up our existing uptune and trying to get more out of it than we have in the past. We’re working really hard and we have a clear vision for the future.

We’re also growing! We’ve had the very good fortune to welcome some talented ladies to our risers this spring and summer. Many of them are making plans to come with us to IC&C, so there they’ll officially be welcomed as part of Bella Nova’s second trip to International but first time to the “big girls’ contest.” We cannot wait!

Our new rehearsal site is working out great. It’s so nice to have a permanent home! Our risers are there, our stuff is stored in our own storage locker…. it’s “home.” Please feel free to stop by and visit anytime! We rehearse at the Ashburn-Sterling Masonic Lodge #288 on Waxpool Rd. in Ashburn, Va.

Until next time!

Come check out our new rehearsal site!

We’re so excited about calling the Ashburn-Sterling Masonic Lodge our new home. This summer is going to be fantastic; there are so many fun things in store for Bella Nova. In case you didn’t know it, you don’t need to audition for Bella Nova and we rehearse just twice a month to align with busy schedules.

Our new address: 43881 Waxpool Rd, Ashburn, VA 20146

See you Sundays from 1pm to 4pm. Check the schedule to confirm which week we’re on!

Our new “forever” home

We had a feeling when we started this chapter that it would take a few tries at the bat to find the perfect rehearsal site for Bella Nova. We have an “interesting” schedule, we come with a bit of baggage (it’s safe to say that ginormous sets of risers are baggage, yes?), and we’re loud (mostly because we’re happy and we have a tag-singing problem).

We’ve had a couple of false starts on the rehearsal site front through no fault of ours or the host facilities. Like adopting a pet, we knew it might take a while to find our “forever” home.

Guess what? We found our “forever” home. At least we hope we have!

With a huge thanks to Bella Nova’s ad hoc rehearsal site search committee, we have officially struck a deal with the fine men of the Ashburn-Sterling Masonic Lodge #288. They have gone above and beyond to accommodate us, our rehearsal schedule, and our risers, and we simply cannot thank them enough for being willing to “adopt” Bella Nova. We are good pets and we promise not to pee on the carpet!

Seriously, though, we’re beyond excited about this new stage in our journey. Right after we return from our Area 3 contest in New York, we’ll shift our rehearsals to our forever home.

Here’s the address:

43881 Waxpool Rd., Ashburn, VA

No rehearsal March 1st

We’re going to have to play it safe, ladies, and not rehearse today. We are so disappointed because of all of the guests who had planned to come, but our rehearsal time coincides with some icing so we don’t want to mess with that.

Guests: if you want to get your study materials sooner than our next rehearsal, feel free to email bellanovachorus @ Gmail. com (no spaces). We will be happy to send the packet to you!

See you March 15 for the “Find Your 15 Minutes of Fame” kickoff!

Find Your 15 Minutes of Fame

JPG Find Your Voice Guest Flyer

Look, we know it’s tough to put yourself first as a woman. When was the last time you tackled a “bucket list” item that was well within the confines of your busy schedule? Has it been YEARS since you participated in your high school chorus or church choir? Do you spend those long hours on the beltway singing in your car and hoping strangers don’t catch you?

Yup, we do too. It’s definitely time for you to get your 15 minutes of fame!

Bella Nova is hosting a program that will allow you to explore your inner “Pitch Perfect” without making a major commitment. In fact, there’s no commitment at all. Come to four rehearsals and then sing on a legit show with us. Three songs. Four rehearsals…and only one hour during that rehearsal. Totally do-able, right?

Rehearse with Bella Nova from 1-2 pm on four Sunday afternoons (March 1, 15, 29, and April 12) and then perform with us in front of a live, a cappella-loving audience in Fairfax on April 18th. That’s it. No dues. No costumes. No complications. Just fun.

We’ve got music and learning tracks. You don’t need to read music and you don’t need to worry about singing by yourself (that’s what we’re for!)…there’s a whole group of women who will be singing your part with you. Our director is a really nice guy. He never yells and he hardly ever makes dumb jokes.

Not sure if it’s your thing? Stop by February 15th for our open house to see what we’re all about. We’ll be at Leesburg Methodist Church from 1-4pm. If you want to find your 15 minutes of fame, we’ll give you your materials and see you again on March 1st!

Do you have questions? Email us… we’ll be happy to connect with you!

Bella Nova Babes

We’re sharing the following post from Epic quartet’s blog:

In the years that we’ve been a quartet, we’ve experienced a lot of cool things and shared some memorable moments with many people–strangers and close friends alike. Before we won our crowns in 2012, we came up with the idea of starting a Harmony, Inc. chapter in Northern Virginia and we were able to organize that during our reigning year thanks to the hard work and support of many people who shared our vision.

The resulting chorus, Bella Nova, is about to embark on one of the coolest journeys a group of women can take. In about a month, Bella Nova will compete for the first time on the International stage. We have 33 Bella Novas slated to be on stage with us in Louisville for Harmony, Inc.’s International contest. Almost 82% of the chorus has never competed on a Harmony Inc. International stage, and more than 57% of the chorus has never competed in ANY international barbershop contest!

What’s even cooler is how Bella Nova’s leadership has embraced and supported the involvement of some budding young performers. These young ladies, ranging in age from 9 years old to teenagers, add so much to Bella Nova’s sound and personality. In Louisville, Bella Nova will boast two three-generation families on stage! Kids, moms, and grandmas all singing together. Pretty amazing, huh? We’d like to take a minute to introduce you to these beautiful ladies. We’re soooooo proud of them. And so glad that they’re part of the Bella Nova family. Have fun in Louisville, girls! You’re going to do so much to add beauty and texture to the Bella Nova performance!

(originally posted on EpicQuartet.com, 10/16/14)

New home, new time

We’re so excited about our pending transition to a new rehearsal site! Starting with our August 10th rehearsal, we will now meet in Leesburg, Va., at the United Methodist Church. We’re grateful to have on-site rehearsal risers, and we’re adjusting our start time to 1pm. We will rehearse until 4pm, and our Board meetings will be held immediately following the second rehearsal of the month.

We want to take a moment to share our deepest appreciation to Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Herndon. Our first “home” will always hold a very special place in our hearts. They opened their facility to us with open arms long before we even had a chapter charter. We are so blessed to have had the support of this world-class church community. Our many, many thanks to Jeremy and the entire Holy Cross Lutheran organization.

Also worth a shout-out… starting August 10th, Bella Nova will launch its youth development program. Designed especially for the younger members of Bella Nova, the youth development pull-out program will take place during regularly scheduled rehearsals and will focus on musical development, proper singing techniques for  young performers, and much, much more! Our youth will learn from best-in-class musical leaders–launching them on a lifetime of performance success!