Bella Vocé to compete in regional contest | CraigDailyPress.com

Bella Vocé to compete in regional contest

Women’s chorus seeks new members





The women of the Bella Vocé Show Chorus following a Monday performance at Craig Middle School auditorium in preparation for a regional competition this weekend in Colorado Springs. Top row, from left: Brenda Hershiser, Aaron Gillett, Tilila Gunderson, Rachel Brighton, Patty Hébert. Bottom row, from left: Liz Kregar, Terry Gillett, Jeana Womble, Heather Hébert. Sabrina Hébert, not pictured, is also part of the group, as are several women from Denver.
Andy Bockelman

In 2011, the premier singing group of Northwest Colorado was at its peak, following a performance in Hawaii and boasting a membership of nearly 30 women on their way to an international competition.

Today, the ensemble has only half the numbers it once did, but the amount of dedication among active singers remains the same.

From left, Tilila Gunderson, Brenda Hershiser, Lori Romney and Melody Bascom sing as the quartet GirlZberry Jam Monday night at Craig Middle School auditorium. The group and the larger ensemble Bella Vocé will perform at a regional competition this weekend in Colorado Springs.Andy BockelmanFrom left, Bella Vocé director Jeana Womble sings the standard “L-O-V-E” as arranged by Natalie Cole, with visual aid from Rachel Brighton, Liz Kregar, Heather Hébert and Terry Gillett during a performance Monday at Craig Middle School auditorium.Andy Bockelman

Bella Vocé Show Chorus

— The singing group consisting of women from Northwest Colorado, as well as some members from Denver and the associated act GirlZberry Jam, will compete in the Regional Convention for Sweet Adelines International's Rocky Mountain Region 8 Friday and Saturday at Colorado Springs' Pikes Peak Center. A live feed of the event will be available at http://rmr8.org. Bella Vocé is always seeking new members, and practice sessions at 7 p.m. Thursdays at Craig Middle School auditorium, 915 Yampa Ave., are open to all. For more information, call 970-824-6472.

Bella Vocé Show Chorus will compete at the Regional Convention of Sweet Adelines International as part of Rocky Mountain Region 8 in Colorado Springs this weekend. The event will allow the women of the Yampa Valley to show off the beautiful voices for which their group is named.

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Bella Vocé specializes in a capella, barbershop-style songs typical of Sweet Adelines, which has been in existence since the 1940s. The chorus consists of 15 members at the moment, several of whom are from Denver and will meet up with the group at the competition.

Things like this can make it difficult to prepare, said director Jeana Womble, who has seen the roster dwindle in recent years as multiple members have left Craig, with Bella Vocé not always able to participate in competitions in past years due to their ranks falling below the minimum number needed for registration.

But the constant shifting has not changed the ability to create a harmonious musical environment.

"There is a special thing about having a small chorus, when everyone is so important, and we have a very tight-knit group," Womble said. "The reason the members from Denver want to come sing with us is because it's a totally different atmosphere."

Monday night, the group performed its routine as a dress rehearsal and as an informal show for family and friends at Craig Middle School auditorium. The night also included some solo work from Aaron Gillett, who sang "Daughter of a King," and Womble, who took the opportunity to belt out "Let It Go," the Oscar-winning tune from the Disney movie "Frozen," accompanied by a video montage of female athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The actual competition will limit their selections quite a bit.

"We've only got a window of about six minutes to sing and we lose points if we go over time," Womble said.

The separate quartet GirlZberry Jam also sang a setlist that they will perform this weekend. The foursome consists of Lori Romney, Melody Bascom, Tilila Gunderson and Brenda Hershiser, the latter two of whom also sing with the larger chorus.

"For the first time, the contest is allowing what they call performance packages, so we do some dialogue, too," Hershiser said about GirlZberry Jam.

Depending on their scores, the women of Bella Vocé may qualify for the international competition in Las Vegas in October 2015, for which they'll have ample time to prepare.

An ongoing project is to keep the chorus growing by recruiting new members, and there are few requirements to join in the experience, including age, with two of the youngest singers only 12 years old.

The group regularly practices at 7 p.m. Thursdays in the CMS auditorium, sessions which are open to anyone who wants to participate.

Womble said women who have trouble with sheet music or fear how they may sound singing alone aren't the ones who should have concerns. The only voices who don't have a place in Bella Vocé are those that aren't willing to put in the preparation time.

"We work really hard because we want to do a high level of music," she said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

Bella Vocé Show Chorus

— The singing group consisting of women from Northwest Colorado, as well as some members from Denver and the associated act GirlZberry Jam, will compete in the Regional Convention for Sweet Adelines International’s Rocky Mountain Region 8 Friday and Saturday at Colorado Springs’ Pikes Peak Center. A live feed of the event will be available at http://rmr8.org. Bella Vocé is always seeking new members, and practice sessions at 7 p.m. Thursdays at Craig Middle School auditorium, 915 Yampa Ave., are open to all. For more information, call 970-824-6472.