It’s been a while. Let’s get reacquainted.

We’ve been through a lot since the last time we posted. As a chorus. As a society. Many, many things have changed since our last post more than three years ago. Nearly two of those years were marked by the COVID-19 pandemic retreat. Some choruses in the barbershop community found that virtual rehearsals worked for them, and we did try that for a while. But many of our members were juggling too much with work, families, and other aspects of the world being flipped upside down, so we took a pause.

Now, as we welcome 2022, we are regrouping and redefining what we want Bella Nova to be. Even before the pandemic, the chorus struggled (as many do) with finding enough volunteers for the tasks to be done and keeping up with the rigors of a strenuous competition cycle. We were thrust into that as a very young chorus, so in some ways the pandemic offered a much-needed respite — an opportunity to take a breath and solidify our culture and identity.

We have spent some time at recent rehearsals deciding how we would operate to keep ourselves safe (see our FAQs for more information on COVID protocols) and what we want our future to be. We are a slimmed-down version of Bella Nova at the moment, and we’re very much looking forward to rebuilding in our redefined structure.

Here’s a summary of what we’ve recently designed as a group to outline our intentions.


Bella Nova is an inclusive women’s barbershop chorus focused on bringing joy to our lives and the lives of others through song. We strive to create a  respectful, positive riser culture where we focus on our own performance, preparation, and improvement to support the chorus in competition and community performances.


In Bella Nova we are…

  • Kind
  • Respectful and supportive- we respect and support the decisions of the director as well as the work of each member
  • Prepared-we learn our material and are ready to perform within set timelines
  • Self-directed- we focus on our own work and improvement rather than that of others

We are hopeful and excited about what 2022 (and beyond) has in store for Bella Nova. We have a rehearsal plan mapped out for the first quarter and we look forward to tackling it — not for a competition or performance schedule, but for the love of singing and being with each other.

Appointment of Christina Lewellen as Artistic Director

By Richard Lewellen

barbershop harmony, womens chorus, Bella Nova Chorus, Harmony Inc., Northern Virginia, female choir, Sweet Adelines

Christina Lewellen, Artistic Director

The Artistic Director is appointed by and serves at the discretion of the Musical Director. Formalizing a dynamic and a role that has been filled by Christina since the founding of Bella Nova, I hereby appoint her Artistic Director.

Throughout her life, Christina has been a member of successful women’s barbershop harmony choruses and quartets. Christina shines as a visionary in the branding. She conceived the incredibly potent brand of Epic, 2012 International Quartet Champions of Harmony, Inc. Epic won on their first outing in large part due to Christina’s branding, which included song selection, costuming, choreography/performance, and vocal style.

Christina brought this skill set to the launch of Bella Nova. Throughout our journey Christina has been developing our brand that has two key components: (1) we are strong women who love and support one another, and (2) we are an intergenerational chorus that welcomes and celebrates families singing together. Ultimately, we have created our Bella Nova family.

Some history…

Christina served as our first president and was instrumental in selecting our first competition music. Jerri White developed the core choreography to our first competition uptune, “Nobody’s Sweetheart Now.”

Following our first year of competition Christina lead the modifications to “Sweetheart” and chose “Secondhand White Baby Grand” as our ballad. With this package Bella Nova earned a 5th place medal in its first International competition.

In our first competition package “Baby Mine” spoke to our love of family but also spoke to our backstory. Christina and I met because of a performance of my Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) International medalist quartet, Riptide. Within a year Christina and I were married and at our first men’s International as a married couple Riptide sang “Baby Mine.” Riptide was very focused on family and the birth of a set of twins for our tenor and a set of triplets for our lead (all of these babies were boys) was shared by the BHS. At this particular International Christina was pregnant with our first daughter, Morgan.

Bella Nova’s next competition ballad was “From the First Hello to the Last Goodbye.” In it we told the story of our chorus, including the central element that we were saying goodbye to a dear friend and chorus member as she moved away. Christina conceived of our “Fit As A Fiddle/For Me and My Guy” uptune to tell the Christina and Richard love story. Rather than being an indulgence, this choice was in recognition that Christina and I were well-known and that our role in the founding of Bella Nova was a story to share. With our strongest chorus to date this package earned 6th place at International.

Christina refined the presentation of “Fiddle” and choose “If I Had My Way” to complete the “Lewellen” story. Christina was introduced as the bride in “Fiddle” and continued in that role as BN became a “greek chorus” to support her portrayal of her fears and hopes as a woman embarking on a new stage in her life. An important subtext was that we all had found a new family in Bella Nova and that we had great hopes for sharing our music and growing our BN family into the future, past this “founding” stage of our story.

During the development and refinement of this package Christina found additional members of BN who had performance talents to share. Adding to Jerri’s foundational training of a great many brand new barbershop harmony singers, Annie Ermlick and Teri Allred bring their years of theatre and musical comedy experience to enhance Bella Nova’s performance skills. They will continue to work with Christina in her formal role of Artistic Director in the realization of Christina’s vision for our next competition package, “Small Fry” and “The Little Girl.”

We are grateful to Jerri, Teri and Annie for their support of Christina’s vision for Bella Nova and for all they’ve done to help grow the performance skills of each singer.

Please join me in formally recognizing and celebrating our Artistic Director, Christina Lewellen.

Richard Lewellen

Musical Director – Bella Nova

2017 IC&C = 4th place and lots of happiness!

Our exciting adventure to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, culminated with 4th place bronze medals… an outcome that was beyond thrilling for the Bella Nova sisters. We welcomed our FOURTH class to the Bella Nova history books and can’t wait to tackle the year ahead!

2017 BNC classes

A huge welcome to Class IV, Betsy, Alessandra, Jennifer, Sarah, and Dawn! We love you ladies and we couldn’t have done it without you.

A big shout out to our chapter quartets, Relative Pitch and Mystic Chicks, for making us proud with Top 20 finishes!

Counting down the days until Orlando!

2017 Annual Show with our brothers in harmony

Earlier this month, we were THRILLED to have another chance to take the stage with our brothers in harmony, the Fairfax Jubil-Aires. For the last few years, we’ve teamed up to share the stage with the guys and present the residents of Northern VA with some awesome barbershop!

We were excited to debut our two newest quartets, Relative Pitch and Mystic Chicks. And our longer standing quartet, ReVoiced, also debuted its new bass! A stunning showing all around!

There were many magical moments throughout the weekend, but nothing compares to those blissful moments we spent on the stage with our director, Richard. In both the afternoon and evening shows, there were highlights of our sets that demonstrated the very best that the Bella Nova sisterhood has to offer.

Great news–we’ll have video to share soon!!!

For now, some pics of our awesome quartets!

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