On Saturday evening Bella Voce took the stage at St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle to the delight of the near capacity audience of choral chamber music enthusiasts.
Founded in 1982, and known originally as “ His Majestie’s Clerkes”, Bella Voce performs classic a cappella, early music of the Americas, and contemporary music from all over the world. Saturday evening’s concert offered a program spanning over five hundred years. The selections ranged from the thirteenth to the twentieth century. This concert offered something for all tastes.
The opening piece, Veni,Veni Emmanuel was introduced by Bella Voce in rather dramatic fashion. The sanctuary was left in total darkness as the members of Bella Voce streamed in singing, holding tapers as the only source of light. The effect was soothing, and as I sat in the darkness, enveloped in the beautiful sound, I imagined what a monastic musical experience might have felt like during the Middle Ages. The program continued with more traditional carols such as: Deck the Halls and I Wonder as I Wander. The last piece prior to intermission was a rousing version of the Spanish carol, Riu, Riu, Chiu. Dan Fulwiler, Tenor and Eric Miranda, Bass took center stage for this offering and were truly outstanding, filling the room with their rich, silky voices.
One of the more unique and interesting selections of the evening was a work composed by Richard Pygott in the 1500’s entitled, “Quid Petis O Fili”, or “What Do You Wish My Sweetest?” This composer’s music is considered to be rare, but this particular composition is regarded as a gem of the polyphonic style. Once again, Bella Voce’s performance of this piece had the power to lull the listener to sleep. It included a solo quartet comprised of: Soprano Cynthia Spiegel, Alto Sheetal Bhagat, Tenor Wiliam Bouvel, and Bass Matthew Hayden.
The music continued with a moving rendition of the beloved hymn, Silent Night and concluded with an upbeat Christmas medley of American Spiritual songs, including: “Rise Up and Follow”, the very beautiful “ Sweet Little Jesus Boy”, “What Month Was Jesus Born In” and finally, the wonderful “Go Tell It On the Mountain”.
Bella Voce’s mission statement declares, “ Bella Voce aspires to provide musical experiences that help people transcend their daily lives through the highest quality choral music, both locally, nationally and internationally.” With this idea in mind, consider this- in my view, Bella Voce provides the perfect spa experience for the soul. This group of singers needs to be heard.
Following is their concert schedule through Spring, 2013:
Sunday, December 9, 2012- St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
Saturday, April 27,2013- St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
Sunday, April 28, 2013- Fourth Presbyterian Church
126 E. Chestnut St.
Saturday, May 4, 2013- Grace Lutheran Church
7300 Division St.
Student w/id $15