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home : news : news Monday, May 2, 2016

4/20/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
On a mission to share beautiful music. Members of the choral group Bella Canta Chorale are (from left) Gillian Miller, Carol Siebke, Tammy Holmes, Nancy Pawlowski, Becca Schroeder and Rebecca Kerr. Lydia Whitman also sings with the group. The women are preparing to be the opening act at the Central Performing Arts Center June 22 for the St. Louis Community Choir, that performs all kinds of music from traditional and contemporary to gospel and sacred and even Broadway show tunes. Photo by Kate Howes
Bella Canta continues to share music in community and beyond

By Kate Howes
Staff writer

In the summer of 2011, Gillian Miller of DeWitt wanted to organize a singing group and soon discovered she wasn't the only one who had a love of singing and a desire to share it with the rest of the community.

That's when Bella Canta Chorale - which means "beautiful singing" in Italian - was formed and two years later it still is going strong.

The seven-member female choral group represents the communities of Calamus, DeWitt, Grand Mound and Maquoketa.

Bella Canta Chorale made its debut at the John Bloom Fine Arts Festival in Lincoln Park in 2011.

Since that time, the group has performed at a number of community events, churches, libraries and parties and even sang the Star Spangled Banner at a Clinton Lumberkings baseball game.

A subset of the group also sang at a wedding.

Bella Canta member Becca Schroeder of DeWitt says she first heard the group perform at its debut almost two years ago and couldn't believe her ears.

Schroeder immediately knew she wanted to be a part of it.

"Their music gives me chill bumps," Schroeder says with a smile. "(Their music is so good) it makes me cry."

Miller describes the music the group performs as sacred and secular music from all eras - from the Renaissance to the contemporary - including songs from around the world that they sing in their native languages, such as Norwegian, Swahili and Hebrew.

For most of its members, it was a simple love of singing that inspired them to join the group.

"I sang in groups like this when I lived in Arizona," says Nancy Pawlowski. "When I moved here, I really missed that so when I heard about Bella Canta, I couldn't wait to join."

Tammy Holmes says for years she has put her family first. However, now that her children are older, Holmes has decided to step out into the spotlight and indulge her love of singing.

"This is my time to sing with the ladies," she relates.

Upcoming events

The group aspires to sing at more events and in larger venues, even though scheduling conflicts, families and jobs can make it challenging to plan performances.

Over the past couple of years, Bella Canta has gone from strictly being an a cappella group to incorporating instruments such as the piano and the flute.

Thursday, May 9, the group will sing at the T.T.T. supper at the Frances Banta Waggoner Community Library.

Another event to which all the members are looking forward is being the opening act for the St. Louis Community Choir Saturday, June 22, at the Central Performing Arts Center.

The concert is called "Music to Warm One's Soul" and tickets are available now. Stay tuned to The Observer as more details become available.

Bella Canta Chorale welcomes new members. Anyone who has an interest in joining the group or would like ticket information for the June 22 concert may contact Schroeder by calling 563-659-8235.


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