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  • Treble Voice Turnout!

    Bella Voce hosted a most memorable and special evening on Friday, October 12, when we gathered together seven treble voice (women’s) choirs from five Washoe County High Schools for a choral festival.   This began as an effort to expand Bella Voce’s mission “to foster the appreciation, preservation, and performance of women’s choral music,” in which we identified educational outreach as a priority area.  Approximately one hundred fifty (150) young women singers from Damonte Ranch, Galena, McQueen, Reed, and Spanish Springs high schools responded to our invitation and gathered at Reed High school to share their music with one another, and with the members of Bella Voce, in a noncompetitive and supportive environment.  We ended by singing together, in a combined choir circling the auditorium, the piece “truth,” music by Andrea Ramsey and lyrics by Gardenia Bruce.   

    “Truth” (text below) was emblematic of many of the musical contributions, providing a positive and heartfelt message of support and encouragement to the young women of these high school choral groups.  For example, Bella Voce’s contribution, “Stronger Together,” commissioned from Sarah Jaysmith in the spring of 2018, was a piece expressing our ability to overcome and move beyond inner voices of insecurity.

    To close the event, two faculty members from the UNR music department, Olga Perez Flora and CJ Greer, talked about singing possibilities after high school, ranging from singing as a performance career, to participating in the developing UNR program in musical theater, to simply continuing to sing as a joyful, lifelong pursuit. 

    We ended our time together with pizza (of course!), sitting down with one another to share our personal stories.  As Jennie Tibben, the artistic director of Bella Voce and the director of the Damonte Ranch High School choral groups, put it later – “The high school teachers were over the moon with tonight’s event!”  We, the singers of Bella Voce, were equally thrilled with the experience, and by all appearances, all of the young women participating had a wonderful time.  We hope that this may become an annual event.


    music by Andrea Ramsey, lyrics by Gardenia Bruce

    My roots are earth, muddy river and honeysuckle
    My roots are earth, muddy river and honeysuckle
    My roots are earth, muddy river and honeysuckle
    Sturdy and rigid, like farmhouse planks.

    I shared a sisterhood with the amber grasses,
    My dreams climbed endlessly, like the kudzu in July
    I shared a sisterhood with the amber grasses,
    My dreams climbed endlessly, no end in sight.

    In nature, in naïve youth, all the forest was possible,
    All the pasture was my own.
    My mother told me I was beautiful.
    And I believed her then, why shouldn’t I?

    There is no doubt in a pond,
    Insecurity does not grow in a meadow.
    It will not sprout beneath the southern pines.
    It is planted by the boys on the school bus.
    Tended by the words of small minds.
    And words may wound you, but are they true?

    You are beautiful, you are enough,
    You must believe in that, believe the truth.

    My roots are earth, muddy river and honeysuckle.
    My roots are beautiful.
    My roots are strong.

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