girls in black dresses on choral risers in front of organ, conductor in front on stage, grand piano and pianist with ASL interpreter on side

Bel Canto

The Bel Canto curriculum explores historical, theoretical, and cultural aspects of a wide range of repertoire for treble and women's choirs. Bel Canto singers prepare music for multiple performances per year, including both the fall and spring Girl Choir concerts. Bel Canto was recently awarded Second Place in the national American Prize competition, has been invited to perform at several state and regional conventions of choral conductors, and has appeared as the guest artist with the Monteverdi Master Chorale (Stevens Point), St. Marys Youth Choir (Ontario, Canada), Viking Choral Festival, newVoices (formerly White Heron Chorale), Makaroff Youth Ballet, Lawrence University choirs and orchestra, and for the Sing Out Loud! and PIPFest women's choir festivals in Minnesota. They have appeared on Wisconsin Public Television and have a performance permanently linked to the WPT website.

2018-19 Auditions

Registration for an audition is now open. Please click the link below for more information about auditions and to register.

Girl Choir Auditions


**March Schedule- Click to view important information about March rehearsals and concerts.

  • Sunday, March 19 – Regular Rehearsal
    • If you are not singing the March 24th concerts, please turn in your music (fully erased).
    • All music should be memorized.

  • Friday, March 23 – Dress Rehearsal, 3:45-6:30 p.m. in Lawrence Chapel
    • Report to the Chapel. There will be a table in the hallway to hand in erased music. Then proceed to the Chapel to find assigned seat.
    • This rehearsal is mandatory and closed to parents and public. Girls who are not present may not take part in concerts.
    • No electronics are allowed during rehearsal.
    • Uniform is not required.
    • Choirs are dismissed at 6:30 p.m. Girls are expected to be present for the full rehearsal.

  • Saturday, March 24 – Concerts, 2 and 7 p.m. in Lawrence Chapel
    • Report to Music Drama Room 259. Call times are 1:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
    • No electronics are allowed during the concerts.
    • Flowers will be available to purchase on the steps of the Chapel before the concerts.
    • The concert is approximately 90 minutes in length. Girls may not stay at Lawrence between concerts.
    • The 7:00 p.m. concert will be webcast via the Lawrence University Livestream webpage.

  • Tutti Raffle – please turn in your sold and unsold raffle tickets at the next rehearsal or dress rehearsal.

  • For March 18:
    • Keep working on O Yo Yo - it's getting better every week!  Page 12-end was good by the time left it last night.  Work on verse endings, pucker up on your French, and double down on those starred spots.  You can do this!!
    • Soft Rains - page 7 into 8, especially breath marks.  Practice keeping the vowels tall and dynamics/breath spinning.  Stay on the breath in spots like "feath'ry fire."
    • Da Kami - know which part comes next; don't rush spots, especially those with body percussion.  Know when to turn to the diagonal, when to put your hands up.
    • Echo Song - facial expressions!  Taci dico!  Get angry!
    • Finale - totally memorized.  Sopranos, use the text/notes percussively.  We will sing this with Cantabile next week.
    • See the Facebook group for another announcement (or ask a friend who is in it).
  • For March 11:
    • GREAT progress last night on O Yo Yo!  Keep up the great work.  I think everyone knows which spots need a little extra TLC.  Please remember that is to be memorized for March 11.  Those of you who were absent:  if the body percussion is coming along (but not quite memorized), keep working at it!  If the body percussion is becoming the proverbial straw that keeps you from being successful with this piece, don't do it.  Focus on the singing.
    • Soft Rains - watch for cutoffs, continue to think about active consonants and tall vowels while you sing, remain on the breath when you sing softly.  Make sure you know when you should or should not breathe on page 8.  Altos, reinforce the notes on the bottom of page 7 into page 8.
    • Da Kami - make sure you know which part (which section, which motion, which percussive element) comes next - BEFORE you have to sing it.  Make a big difference between the vocally percussive/separated and the more legato spots.
    • Keep the Echo Song and finale going - we'll hear them both next week.  STAY HEALTHY!
  • For March 4:
    • Work the French.  Every day.  Look under Jan 14 for the pronunciation link and link to the choral recording.
    • Soft Rains - solidify the memory stuff on pages 7-8 especially, please.
    • Memorization schedule:
      • Da Kami - this week (March 4)
      • O Yo Yo - two weeks (March 11)
      • Vuelie - three weeks (March 18, last rehearsal before concert)
      • Echo Song/Soft Rains - already memorized (but don't forget, and do add emotion/dynamics!)
    • Don't forget to sign up for an audition for next year (see above) as soon as possible.  The audition piece is "Ah, comme..." in f minor (start on f, not on d as the music shows).  Practice the French on your own - pronunciation is linked below under Feb 11.
  • For February 25:
    • I'd like to voice you on Feb 25, so please do all you can to be present, in good voice, and musically ready!
    • Memorize "Echo Song," particularly with emotion/dynamics we worked on last night.  (If you were not at rehearsal, please check with someone who was!)
    • Lovely job with "Soft Rains" - be sure you are staying "on the breath" and not slowing down when it gets quiet, especially in the last section.  Keep practicing with a nice range of dynamics.
    • Add the body percussion to "O Yo Yo" as we worked last night; continue your work solidifying the French (especially altos when you have the melody!)
    • Add body percussion on "Da Kami" as we worked last night; use the consonants to make the text declamation more percussive.  S2/A2 work on the "nyew nyow" eighth note pattern without tension (use the tongue and keep jaw relaxed, lips in the same position)
    • Start memorizing "Eatnemen Vuelie" and be sure you know when/where you sing.  Altos, use a gentle chest voice - you should not feel anything in your throat while you sing, but it can't just be done in your head voice.  Remember that "no" sounds like "noo" and add the fall-offs at phrase endings as you hear in this recording.
    • Great rehearsal - thanks a bunch!  We're into the home stretch!!!
  • For February 18:
    • Memorize "Soft Rains" with dynamics (allow yourself a wide range!)
    • See below for Echo Song - be ready with that next week (we'll start with it)
    • O Yo Yo - GREAT progress!  Keep going with the French to get it comfortable in your mouth, and work the body percussion.  We'll add that next week.  Nice job finishing up the piece in rehearsal. Remember it will ultimately need to be memorized, so start piecing it together soon - this isn't one that you can "cram" at the end.
    • See below re: foot/hand percussion in "Da Kami"
    • Review your part in the finale; we'll work that a bit next week, too.
  • For February 11:
    • Really, truly solidify - singing the notes, on the text - all of "O Yo Yo" up through the downbeat of measure 111.  Body percussion comes next, so pay attention to that, too, please.  Link to text under Jan 14.
    • Echo Song - review and solidify the rhythms/notes from measure 32-54 and then the "basta" rhythms.  Be sure to notice which entrances are ON the beat vs. those between the beat.  For next week, write in the text (phrase by phrase, per the translation I gave you, which is structured this way) and then write in some dynamic markings that would match the emotional affect.  Be ready to sing your thoughts right away when we begin the piece next week.  We made SO much progress last night; please don't let it slip.
    • Review/solidify (notes and rhythms with text) Da Kami Ay Anan-ak. Learn/be prepared to do the foot stomps that begin at 45 and foot stomps/hand claps that begin at 127/131.
    • See below Feb 4 to remind you about Soft Rains.  We'll start with that next week.
    • Review melody of Ah, comme c'est chose belle for your 18-19 Bel Canto audition.  The text is linked here; please learn it on your own.
  • For February 4:
    • Solidify measures 1-84.  Bring the French text to the front of your mouth - it needs to be more percussive and sometimes more nasal.  We didn't have time to focus on the body percussion, but please keep that going as well.  Be sure you are spending a LOT of time with the text so you know how it feels.  (Links under Jan 14)
    • Speaking of text..."taste" every consonant in "Soft Rains."  Learn/solidify notes to the end of the piece.  Think about the long lines and how to bring the text forward while still maintaining that sense of length.  We'll use the eighth notes as the steady pulse from measures 71 through 73.  :)  (Thanks for a GREAT discussion of that, though!)
    • Be sure you are still practicing The Echo Song, and that you can sing it throughout on the Italian.  Again, please remember the links below (under Jan 7).
    • Review /re-listen to Da Kami... (under Jan 28)
    • Get comfortable with your part in the Finale.  We will likely need more second sopranos, so if you are at ALL concerned about the A line throughout, please consider jumping up to that part.  I might need to reassign a few singers if we don't have adequate coverage (I need to see how many CB singers are covering it, too).
  • For January 28:
    • Solidify through measure 66 of "Soft Rains."  Learn measures 66-85.  Watch rhythms overall.  Think about tall vowels, especially on long notes/diphthongs.
    • Learn, on the French, mm 1-48 of "O Yo Yo."  Reference the pronunciation linked below (Jan 14).  Put body percussion to it, too, as you are able.  Note that the body percussion line corresponds with the vocal line (i.e. at m. 46, those singing the melody on top have a different percussion part than the rest of the choir singing the bottom line)
    • Solidify all of "The Echo Song" on Italian.  I'll work on those beginning whole notes.  :)
    • Review your parts thus far in "Da Kami Ay Anan-ak" (see the pronunciation guide you received) and spend a little time with the video (begin at 4:45).

Thanks for a great rehearsal!!

  • For January 21- Click to view homework assignments.

    • Continue to work on The Echo Song (reinforce the first half; solidify the second half) in Italian.  The pronunciation link remains below (Jan 7).
    • Learn your part in There Will Come Soft Rains up through measure 34 (if solfege is helpful, note that we are in the key of C; the vocal line begins on Do).  Speculate on why the composer is playing with 3's and 2's, and notice where these ideas appear in the music.
    • Review your part in Da Kami Ay Anan-ak from measures 21-60 and 127-end.  Check out the pronunciation page you received and be ready to sing this on the text.  In addition, bring one bit of information you learned about the Philippines from this website: as well as your thoughts about the many festivals that take place in the country:
    • Work on the French pronunciation and score familiarization for O Yo Yo as linked and described below (Jan 14).
  • For January 14- Click to view homework assignments.

    • WONDERFUL first rehearsal back, singers!  Thanks a bunch!  This will be a busy semester, and the work will be steady but doable if you don't get behind.  Thanks, in advance, for keeping up - your fellow singers are counting on you to pull your weight.
    • Learn your part of The Echo Song (all of it) on "la" and on the Italian (pronunciation link is below).  Sop 1 and Sop 2:  learn the *opposite* line in measures 38-41 and in measures 53-54.  I apologize - that was my error.  (So S1 learns the S2 line in those spots, S2 learns the S1 line in those spots.)
    • Spend some time  listening to There Will Come Soft Rains.  As you listen, please notice what interesting things are happening compositionally - we'll discuss thsoe next week when we discuss the text.  We'll also split into four parts  next week.
    • Familiarize yourself with the score of O-Yo-Yo for next week, particularly regarding the body percussion and how it is notated.  Notice that the "x" on the note head is above or below a line; notice that there is a definition of what happens (finger snap, hand clap, etc) above/below that line, and that it changes periodically.  Listen to this recording to start to get an idea of how it will go.  Please begin to practice (and write pronunciations into your music for) the pronunciation of the French.  Basically, I repeat the text of each melodic line twice in that linked recording, once for the top voice and once for the bottom. When the parts align, you'll hear it only once. I did not record all of the inner nonsense syllable lines, as they seemed obvious based on the text that is already there.  Please ask if you have questions!
  • For January 7- Click to view homework assignments.

    • Practice your Italian pronunciation
    • Study "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Sara Teasdale.  It's on the handout and I can't link it here for copyright reasons, but you should be able to find the poem online.  Come to rehearsal with your thoughts, ready to share.  Does the poem raise any questions for you?  What do you think the music we sing will sound like?  (If you are interested in reading more of her poetry, download "Flame and Shadow" by Sara Teasdale for free through the Kindle app.)
  • Second Semester Riser Schedule:  Those of you in YO will not have riser setup duty (you will be scheduled for strike duty only), but are still expected to arrive to Bel Canto in time to begin at 5:45 pm weekly.

Riser Schedule

  • 2017-18 Calendar - Click the button below to download and print the yearly calendar for Bel Canto. This calendar was updated on 9/1/17

Calendar 2017-18

2017-18 Dress Rehearsal and Concert Dates

  • Tickets for the March concerts are now available for purchase through the Lawrence University Box Office.
  • View other important rehearsal and concert information under the "Announcements" section.
March Dress Rehearsal
Date Friday, March 23
Time 3:45-6:30 p.m.
Location Lawrence Memorial Chapel
March Concerts
Date Saturday, March 24
Time 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.
Location Lawrence Memorial Chapel
Webcast 7:00 p.m. concert will be available to
watch online through Livestream

Choir Materials

  • Girls must bring a black three-ring binder and two sharpened pencils to every rehearsal.
  • Music is the property of the Academy.

Concert Uniform

  • Black performance dress purchased by each participant.
  • Girls are to wear black, closed-toed, flat-heeled dress shoes, and black pantyhose.
  • Necklaces will be provided by the Academy and must be returned after each concert.
  • Post-style earrings for concerts are acceptable, no hoops.
  • Hair accessories must be small and the color of the hair. Hair must be its natural color

Electronics Policy

Cell phones, iPods, electronic readers, and other electronic devices are strictly prohibited during ensemble rehearsals and back stage during concerts.   If a family emergency takes place during a rehearsal or concert, please contact the ensemble manager.

The institution will comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and DPI's Nondiscrimination Provision for all students.

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