Voices sing in the season
For the Nevada Appeal
Bella Voce opens the holiday season with a performance Sunday at 2 p.m. at Brewery Arts Center’s Maizie Harris Jesse Theatre.
Under the direction of Jennifer Tibben, Bella Voce – Italian for “beautiful voice” – presents an array of Christmas songs ranging from little known Renaissance to more contemporary pieces.
“The concert features the work of Benjamin Britten who is a well-known composer who’s written pieces for boys’ choirs,” said Tibben, who has served 12 years as Bella Voce’s artistic director. “We will be performing his ‘Ceremony of Carols’ for women’s choir and harp.”
Britten’s songs are written in a way that the compositions reflect the lyrics, Tibben said.
“He is really a master, especially to be doing this for women.”
The concert features early Renaissance compositions and full choir, showcasing several other break-out performances by smaller groups and moving into wonderful contemporary, Big Band-style compositions.
“We will be performing two songs by our favorite composer, Clifton Noble,” Tibben said, explaining that his writing reflects the feelings of the lyrics. “We’ve got the whole gamut going.”
The group recently returned from the World Choir Games in Shaoxing, China, where they were awarded a Silver diploma in the Women’s Chamber Choir category of open competition. Bella Voce competed against some 20,000 singers from around the world.
“It was phenomenal culturally and musically,” said Tibben. “But as a group we got so close and tight; it was an awesome experience.”
Bella Voce was founded 24 years ago when a member of the First United Methodist Church in Reno, wanted to sing more frequently than at church, Tibben said. Dr. Michael Cleveland, University Nevada Reno’s music department chair, conducted the choir 14 years, before Tibben took over. In addition to conducting Bella Voce, Tibben also teaches at Damonte High School, “taught a bit at University of Nevada, Reno,” 14 years and conducts five other choirs, among them the Reno Philharmonic Choir.
Bella Voce’s annual budget is about $25,000, funded in part by grant money for outreach performances and to commission a work by a favorite contemporary composer. To date, Bella Voce has commissioned seven new works for women’s choir, and the composer always attends the performance of the premiere.
Private donations are also accepted. Members also pay annual dues and all but a couple of the members have been in the choir since its founding.
“You know, a lot of people think ‘women’s choir?’ but I would invite everyone to leave all those preconceptions behind,” Tibben said. “This evening will not be what you expect … it is an evening of wonderfully crafted and presented music that celebrates the season.”
Tickets cost $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors, students and BAC members. For this show, a family pack of four tickets is offered for $39.95. To purchase tickets, visit breweryarts.org or call 775-883-1976.
Brewery Arts Center is located at 449 W. King St., Carson City. For more information about Bella Voce, visit bellavocereno.com.