“It’s been easy to step into the director role. They have such vision and vibe. They’re so vivid bright and complete.”
— Chelsea Asmus, director of the chorus group Bella Voce
Chelsea Asmus is a barber brat.
Having grown up watching her dad perform in chorus groups, singing in a cappella choruses and performing came naturally to Asmus.
So it’s no wonder she’ll be traveling to Denver at the end of the month to compete with and direct her Craig chorus group Bella Voce on an international stage. And at just 23, she'll be the youngest female director ever to do so.
Bella Voce, currently ranked fourth in the world within its Plateau A division, will travel to Denver Oct. 30 to Nov. 4 for the Sweet Adelines international competition.
Asmus said only the top 1 percent of barbershoppers compete on the international level.
During its first appearance, Bella Voce qualified with a score of 576, and it is one of five choruses selected from its division throughout the world to compete this year.
The group will present a 15-minute package performance to judges during the competition, along with two competition songs. The group chose "Mamma Mia" as its package theme, featuring songs and dialogue.
“It’s so lighthearted and playful,” Asmus said. “It was hilarious the first time I looked at it and I was like, 'It’s awesome!'”
Asmus said although it's a large stage, she knows her group will be prepared to perform at the Pepsi Center.
“I expect a deer-in-the-headlights feeling when first seeing the Pepsi Center, but I know they’ll go right into performance mode,” Asmus said. “One thing I can count on is they’ll bring it.”
Asmus also will compete with a quartet in the competition.
The competition draws choruses from all over the world, including groups from New Zealand, Australia, Sweden and Germany.
Asmus went to college in Alaska and performed with a large chorus there. She loved that group so much that she didn't expect to sing with another group again.
“Then I met these ladies in Craig, Colorado,” Asmus said. “We eat, pray and sing with one another. Don’t get me wrong; we get frustrated with each other, too. But there’s this overwhelming love.”
Asmus moved from her hometown of Littleton to Craig after commuting back and forth to be the director of the group.
“It was hard not being up here all the time,” Asmus said. But after the move, Asmus said things just fell into place.
“It’s been easy to step into the director role. They have such vision and vibe. They’re so vivid, bright and complete,” Asmus said.
The group did a test run of its performance package at the Rocky Mountain Regional in Estes Park and received an overwhelmingly positive response.
“It just locked in and was hilarious. Of course we were performing for an audience who knew barbershop,” Asmus said.
She said during a performance for family and friends, about half of the time they got the jokes, while at other times they didn’t quite get the humor.
“We just want to make them smile, laugh and have a good time,” Asmus said.
But along with the fun came hard work.
Asmus said preparing for the competition has been a marathon.
“It’s overwhelming and stressful. There’s a lot on the line,” Asmus said. “I want to represent these ladies well.”
Describing the past few weeks leading up to the competition as a detailed blur, Asmus said, “I’m probably going to fall over when I walk off the stage and we’re finished performing. You work so hard for 15 minutes. We’ve spent two years prepping for this.”
Asmus said the ladies in her chorus group continue to blow her away with their relationship building.
“Every time we sing we get better,” Asmus said.
For a sneak preview of the performance package, along with songs from their Hee Haw performance, the group is hosting a Sound Celebration Concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at Craig Middle School. The concert will serve as a send-off for the group before it leaves for Denver.
Although free to attend, donations are encouraged and will be used to help fund the trip to internationals. Those who donate ahead of time and get a VIP ticket will receive a special something, Asmus said.
Asmus said the group needs all the community support it can get, and if anyone would like to wear a fake mustache on Nov. 2 in support of the group, it would be much appreciated.
“That’s our thing,” Asmus said. “Post it to our Facebook page so we can see the support.”
While in Denver, Asmus’s quartet will perform on local radio station 1430 KEZW, and webcast viewing of the Bella Voces performance will be available. The group competes between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m. Oct. 30.
The webcast will be available at www.sweetadelineintl.org/index.cfm?id=324
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org