BROOKLYN BUZZ: Bella Voce Singers to debut new song in Bay Ridge

December 2, 2011 Denise Romano
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The Bella Voce Singers (BVS), a multi-generational women’schoir, is giving Bay Ridge a special holiday treat. It isperforming a new song for the first time at Good Shepherd LutheranChurch on Sunday, December 4.

The group’s winter concerts, titled LISTEN, feature the tune,Rules and Regulations, composed by Stefan Weisman specificallyfor the BVS.

As BVS has continued to grow over the past 11 years, we feltthat it was time to take our commitment to performing new works tothe next level, and commission a piece specifically for our choir,explained BVS Director Jessica Corbin. I had conducted a few otherpieces by Stefan over the past few years, and really liked the wayhe composes music, and in particular how he sets the texts he uses[which makes it] easy to learn [and] enjoyable for performers andlisteners alike.

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She had printed out a number of short poems from Lewis Carrolland the approximate length needed, Weisman told The HomeReporter and one particular poem kept catching his eye. Ittalks about Carroll’s problems with stuttering and speakingpublicly.

What struck me about the poem is that he mentions it [hisproblem]. It’s touching, Weisman said. I also like that the poemdealt with the social structures of the time in a funny way. Idecided to give the chorus his stutter but not to make fun of hisstuttering, [but rather] to pay tribute to him, to replicate theauthenticity.

Weisman, who has been a composer for about 20 years, waspleasantly surprised when he heard it performed at BVS’ November 28rehearsal. It was better than I’d imagined and I’m sure it will beeven better in the concerts, he said.

His favorite part of composing is having it all finished. Iforget all the difficulty and like hearing the ensemble bring it tolife, Weisman explained. I like to hear it sung if I can, it it’sin the New York area.

BVS has 38 members who live in and around southern Brooklyn. Thegroup started out as an all-female teen group led by foundingdirector Jessica Corbin while she was teaching at La Guardia HighSchool in Manhattan. When Corbin left the school in 2001, the choirfollowed her to Brooklyn, where it expanded to include all womenages 18 and older.

I think anyone who comes to one of our performances will beimpressed with what they hear, said Corbin. We always have piecesthat appeal to every taste, and I so look forward to hearing whatour audiences have to say after every performance. This is what Ilove about BVS audiences – they *do* listen, and listen well.People always have such insightful comments after ourconcerts.

The choir will perform four shows in its 2011-12 season. Twowill be in December and two will be in May in both Bay Ridge andPark Slope. BVS is also a member of the Bay Ridge Arts and CultureAlliance, created earlier this summer with help from CouncilmemberVincent Gentile. Both shows include piano accompaniment from Ridgemusician Keiko Asakawa-Golden.

It also recently released their CD, Songs of Peace andLove.

BVS will perform at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, located at7420 Fourth Avenue, on Sunday, December 4 at 3 p.m. There is asuggested $10 donation. For details, visit or [email protected].

Additional reporting by Heather J. Chin.

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