Bella A Cappella Overcomes Setbacks & Odds
New Zealand all-female barbershop chorus Bella A Cappella won their third national gold medal in the small chorus division of the Sweet Adelines National Women's Barbershop Competition in Dunedin on April 22.
In addition to their blue ribbons, they brought home the coveted "Most Improved Chorus" trophy for the second time and gained the highest score for a small chorus since the contest began in New Zealand in 1990. They are currently ranked among the top five small choruses in the world.
Sweet Adelines Region 35 New Zealand
Bella A Cappella has also been invited to compete with the other top choruses at the 72nd annual Division A Harmony Classic in St. Louis, Missouri, in October 2018.
"We are so proud of our achievement, and it's wonderful to be rewarded for soldiering on through a difficult time," Bella A Cappella director Patti Cooke said.
Bad luck has struck the chorus over the last year.
The Kerikeri Pavilion -- where Bella A Cappella rehearse and store their equipment -- was burned down. The week following the fire, before they were allowed into the damaged building, most of their gear was stolen.
"It was no mean feat to find another rehearsal venue, and some weeks we had to really scramble," president Kate Syddall said.
We may be the only chorus in the world who has ever held a rehearsal in a funeral parlor!In another setback, 22 of the group's 28 singers were hit with the flu with only a few months to go before Nationals. The chorus is still mulling over whether to make the trip to St. Louis in 2018 for the Harmony Classic.
"It's a big step for us," Cooke said. "We are the newest barbershop chorus in New Zealand and are still learning the craft."
Singing this style of music correctly and in tune is demanding, but it's joyful and a wonderful confidence-building musical outlet.
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