For all the world to hear |

For all the world to hear

Craig chorus tours Hawaii, preparing for international competition

Emily Pfeifer introduces the members of the Bella Voce Show Chorus during a performance at the Polynesian Cultural Center on the Hawaiian island Oahu. The Craig musical group performed at the center, part of Brigham Young University's Hawaii campus, in May as part of a tour of the tropical state. The women of Bella Voce recently qualified to compete at an international contest in October 2012 for the Sweet Adelines network.

Members of the Bella Voce Show Chorus belt out the R&B song "Cry Baby" during an April show at the Moffat County High School auditorium. The show's set list also contained disco, jazz and Broadway tunes. The group recently performed the songs during a musical tour of Hawaii.The Bella Voce Show Chorus concludes its "Mamma Mia!" medley at its April concert at the Moffat County High School auditorium. The medley contained many of the songs of Swedish pop group ABBA in an arrangement specially commissioned for Bella Voce.

Sometimes something incredibly beautiful can be tinged by sadness.

Emily Pfeifer felt this inner conflict in May, surrounded by tropical flora and fauna, good company and mellifluous music. Seeing all the sights and sounds of Oahu with Craig's Bella Voce Show Chorus and leading them in performance at the island locale were the good parts of the experience.

What wasn't so easy was knowing it would be her final hurrah with the group.

"It was very bittersweet," she said. "It's hard to say goodbye to a group of ladies I spent so much time with and had so many positive moments with."

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But, even without Pfeifer leading them, the women of Bella Voce still have the memories of unforgettable shows under her instruction, as well as the prospect of future shows that could bring them new recognition.

Bella Voce recently received news that the group had qualified for the International Sweet Adelines Competition. The distinction comes from the group's score at the Rocky Mountain regional competition in March, where the chorus won first place in the small chorus category.

"It's an impossible dream suddenly within reach," Bella Voce member Jeana Womble said.

Out of 233 recognized small-sized chorus groups in Sweet Adelines' global network, only five are selected to compete at the international level. Bella Voce placed fourth with a score of 576 out of 800 possible points.

While other competitors will need to make travel plans well in advance, Bella Voce will only be 200 miles away, with the event scheduled to take place in October 2012 in Denver.

"We're very blessed that it's so close because those kind of trips can be so expensive," Womble said.

Womble said the group is still getting over the magnificence of their most recent trip.

In May, Bella Voce performed at Brigham Young University's Hawaii campus.

The group performed an array of its best songs, including Broadway hits, and a specially arranged medley of tunes from the ABBA-themed musical "Mamma Mia!," which they first sang for Craig audiences in April.

Among other locations around the island Oahu, the group graced the stage at BYU's Polynesian Cultural Center.

"It's the number one tourist destination in Hawaii," Pfeifer said. "It was just so different for us because we were getting a standing ovation before we had even finished our last song."

The tour also allowed group members to partake in the island culture.

"It was pretty rainy while we were there," Womble said. "We still got to do a lot of things like snorkeling, shopping, crabbing and things like that."

Womble provided narration during the group's performance.

"My parents were in the audience, and they said it made a huge difference," Pfeifer said.

Originally from Hawaii, Pfeifer said the return to the Aloha State was part of a very emotional farewell to Bella Voce.

"They embraced me when I first came to Craig from the very first day," she said.

Pfeifer stepped down as director following the Hawaii tour. She said she is moving away from her involvement with the group to focus on spending time with her family.

"I am a young mother with children, and it was becoming very difficult for me to balance my time with the chorus and my family," she said.

Pfeifer said she may rejoin Bella Voce down the road, but at the moment she is unsure of her time commitment. Womble has since served as interim director, though the group is interviewing potential directors to replace Pfeifer permanently.

Future plans for the chorus include a retreat Aug. 23, 24 and 25 at Campbell Creek Ranch; a cabaret-themed fundraiser later in the fall; and a concert in February.

Bella Voce also is looking to bolster membership, which has dwindled in the last couple of months. At its peak, the group has had 27 singers, but only about eight or nine have regularly shown up for rehearsals lately.

Bella Voce is always on the lookout for new members to join them for rehearsals at 7 p.m. Thursdays in the Craig Middle School auditorium.

"No past musical experience is required," Womble said. "Just a love of singing and a willingness to learn."

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Bella Voce Show Chorus:

Competing at the regional level in March, the Craig group qualified for the International Sweet Adelines Competition, placing fourth out of 233 small choruses worldwide. The international competition is slated for October 2012 in Denver. Until then, the group is looking to enhance its membership.

For more information on joining Bella Voce, call team leader Aaron Gillett at 824-5879 or interim director Jeana Womble at 824-6472.

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