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Chorus joined by bells, oboe, flutes

Karl Horeis

The Bella Voce women’s singing ensemble will be accompanied by 60 hand bells, two violins, a couple of flutes and an oboe for their annual Christmas concert at the Brewery Arts Center this afternoon.

“I really like doing these things with the instrumentalists because it adds a lot of variety,” said the group’s artistic director, Jennifer Tibben-Lembke.

She has selected some fitting pieces for the concert, called “Cold Night, Bright Lights: Christmas in the Sierra.”

During a song called “The snow,” the 25 members of Bella Voce will be accompanied by two violinists from the Reno Philharmonic.

“It’s a very romantic, very dramatic, setting of this text about snow,” said Tibben-Lembke, who also teaches voice lessons and directs the choir at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Reno.

Her singers will speak the words of William Shakespeare’s text in “Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind.” The women will make frigid wind noises for the piece.

“It’s really quite haunting sounding,” said second soprano Chris Reinitz. “It’s a really nice touch for the concert because it’s so different.”

Festive flutes played by two University of Nevada, Reno music education students will accompany the “Donkey Carol,” which tells the story of Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem.

A 15th century text has been paired with music written in 2000 for Z. Randall Stoope’s “There is No Rose,” which will feature an oboe solo.

“It’s a really lyrical, smooth piece,” Tibben-Lembke said. “The oboe with the women’s voices is really nice, very meditative.”

The highlight, perhaps, will be the 13 members of the hand bell choir from St. Johns Presbyterian Church in Reno who will be playing 60 different bells to accompany the group on “Sussex Carol.”

As in years past, the audience will be invited to join in for holiday carols.

The women’s chorus will perform at 2:30 p.m. at the Brewery Arts Center at 449 West King Street. Tickets for the show are $12 general, $10 for students and seniors and free to children under 12.

For tickets, call 883-1976.