Belles Canto rings in Christmas season with concert

  • Posted: Monday, December 16, 2013 2:20 p.m.
Submitted Photo
The Belles Canto after its concert at Cumberland Village on Sunday. Pictured in the front row, from left, are Ashley Reynolds, Katte Noel, Anne Ateca, Minna Heaton and Kimmy Dunn. Pictured in the back row, from left, are Allie Gibbons, Maya Galvan, Brittany Winans, accompanist Pat Adams, Gretchen LeGrand, Katie Worrell and director Diane Haslam. Member Sara Terry is not pictured.
Submitted Photo The Belles Canto after its concert at Cumberland Village on Sunday. Pictured in the front row, from left, are Ashley Reynolds, Katte Noel, Anne Ateca, Minna Heaton and Kimmy Dunn. Pictured in the back row, from left, are Allie Gibbons, Maya Galvan, Brittany Winans, accompanist Pat Adams, Gretchen LeGrand, Katie Worrell and director Diane Haslam. Member Sara Terry is not pictured.

Five days before Christmas is here, and 12 young singers will be performing several songs of good cheer.

The Christmas Belles concert on Dec. 20 will feature the all-girls group Belles Canto.

The chorus will sing songs such as “Carol of the Bells,” “Candlelight Carol” and “Pavane for a Silent Night.”

“(There will be) some familiar, some unfamiliar, but all beautiful reflections on the season,” said Diane Haslam, group creator and conductor.

The singers will also deliver poetry and use percussion instruments.

The performance will take place at Aiken’s First Presbyterian Church at 7 p.m. Admission is free, though donations for the singers will be accepted.

More than a year ago, Belles Canto made its premiere at Aiken’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

“The girls performed at the tree lighting again this year and had a great time,” Haslam said. “We had a wonderful response from listeners.”

Five new voices were part of that night.

“(The addition) is a lot for a group this size, but the more experienced girls help to nurture the new ones, show them how things go and give them confidence,” Haslam said.

Throughout the year, Belles Canto visits retirement communities and nursing homes. In May, the group sang movie and musical theater hits, as well as spiritual pieces, for its “Magic in the Air “concert.

Sometimes the music is in two parts; other times it is in four parts. Sometimes they require no extra music at all; other times they make their own by using percussions.

Helping provide extra music since the start is pianist Pat Adams. She will be accompanied by flutist Adriane Fox at the upcoming concert.

Auditions are ongoing for Belles Canto, Haslam said. The female singer must be between ages 12 and 18 and must able to read music.

“The girls use their experiences in the ensemble to develop their musical skills, learn more about teamwork and personal responsibility, make beautiful music together and, at the same time, offer a service to the community,” Haslam said.

For those interested, audition times can be set up before the next season.

The next season will begin on Jan. 7. Practice is scheduled to start in the First Presbyterian Church’s choir room at 4:45 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church is at 224 Barnwell Ave. N.W.

For more information on the concert or auditions, call Haslam at 803-270-0542 or email her at dchmezzo@gmail.com.

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