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.
Auditions for Bel Canto are held in April for the following academic year.


  • For January 21:
    • 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:
    • 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:
    • 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

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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