By RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
Harmonious sounds fill the air as the 14 women of Bella Acappella Harmony weave their voices expertly around favorite Christmas carols. The audience at Bend Country Club is enjoying a winter afternoon concert, by the end of the 12 Days of Christmas, the entire audience has joined in the singing, laughter filling the room as the song is pantomimed in hilarious moves.
Bella Acappella Harmony has been growing since July when Connie Norman, a well-known face voice in local musical theatre broadcasting, came together with several other women to form the Central Oregon group. With the immanent goal of becoming a chartered member of the Sweet Adelines organization, Bella Acappella hopes to increase their numbers to 60 – 70 women. The four part acapella harmony creates opportunities for women of all voices to hone their musical abilities while learning the art of performance of course having fun in the process.
In growing the group, Norman is clear that singers do not need to have had formal voice training. The ability to carry a tune interest in growing their talent is all that is required of prospective members. Bella Acappella wants to attract women from the entire Central Oregon region will be holding an open practice for interested women on January 10, 6pm at Whispering Winds, 2920 NE Conners Ave. in Bend.
Dana Barron, one of the founding members, had her first rehearsal 19 years ago. Driving to Salem to sing for the past few years, she knew there was a need for a local group with the skills community it would bring. “It is like a music lesson every week you grow with the group in performing singing,” said Barron.
The youngest member of the group at 23 is Erin Scott. She joined Bella Acappella in September after having been introduced to Norman. Scott sang in choirs in school college, but as newcomer to Bend, hadn’t found her musical outlet yet. “It’s the perfect place at the perfect time,” said Scott. “It’s my first time singing barbershop…making great music together makes a bond between us, everyone is open, warm caring.”
“We can teach women to sing better we do some PVI (personal vocal improvement),” said Norman who’s goal is the regional championships. Right now, a regional competition consists of 18-30 groups hailing from the Northwest. Judges are trained internationally, “Sweet Adalines has very talented women who help us to keep the bar high, are concerned about the quality of each group,” said Norman. “One of the most difficult tasks is selecting the right type of music, there are thous s of arrangements out there.”
Sweet Adalines is a worldwide group with about 25,000 members. To become a chartered member, a group needs to have between 15 200 members pass a lengthy charter process; Bella formed a management team to oversee the application process. A few of the benefits of membership in the Sweet Adalines includes vocal education training, competition performance opportunities access to special musical arrangements. The group will have a visit from Sweet Adalines in January in hopes to confirm their membership after the final review has taken place.
Nancy Uel h les all the paperwork processes to charter the group. A Sweet Adaline in her 20’s, she is happy to be back in a singing group moving the group towards their membership, “They [The Sweet Adalines] are very helpful, you have to have motivation on our level to become chartered; you need a good director the right people with the right attitude, Uel said. “I find singing is very healing.” Karen Paulson, owner of Bella Moda, also cited the healing nature of singing, the welcome break it provides from her business life.
Bella Acapella meets every Tuesday, 6pm at Whispering Winds, 2920 NE Conners Ave. in Bend. Info: Dana Barron at 503-539-8997 or firstname.lastname@example.org.