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Bay area choir sings with Bellezza ensemble

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

Choir director Natalie Hazelrigg conducts the Berean Christian School choir during the choral exchange, Jan. 16.

A choral exchange unites Bellezza ensemble, students of Fresno Christian, and the advanced choir of Berean Christian School, Jan. 16. Gathering together in the music suite, the two choirs learned from each other as they listen to unfamiliar voices and song selections.

 Choir director Susan Ainley hopes that the two choirs gain new insight from each other and forge new bonds in the midst of singing together.

“A choral exchange is an excellent way for choirs to get together to sing,” Ainley said. “The many benefits that it holds is the choir singing in a non-competitive environment, hearing what other choirs are working on, and singing together for a bigger sound.”

“Fresno Christian has had several choral exchanges over the last few years,” Ainley continued. “In the past, we have hosted Nipomo High School and Madera High School. Sometimes, I invite first year choir directors to bring their beginning choirs. This gives them a chance to sing with a bigger, more experienced group, and have some fun hearing new music. Other times, we host college choirs so we can hear a college level choir and be inspired.”

Berean Christian School, located in Walnut Creek, is currently traveling in their Singers’ Tour. Choir director, Natalie Hazelrigg, discusses the Singers Tour and the ways it benefits the members of the 35-member choir.

“Our tour started today, Jan. 16, and we left early in the morning,” Hazelrigg said. “We’ve done this tour annually, and our first stop from Walnut Creek is usually Fresno at the Veterans home next to FCS. For 10 straight years, I’ve seen the Fresno Christian sign and I finally decided to call Ainley and see if we can set something up.”

“We actually started the Singers Tour for the sake of blessing older people and ministries,” Hazelrigg continued. “One thing that I believe benefits our kids is the bus rides to every location. All the kids get to know each other and it creates a bonding environment for them.”

The following podcast features a few of the members from Berean Christian High School.

After rehearsal, the members walked to Room 502 together and enjoyed a lunch of Mexican food featuring mini burritos, chips with guacamole and Spanish rice. Jessie Sypes, ’20, one of the students of Berean High School, shares why she enjoys singing in choir.

“I appreciate just being able to hang out with my friends while singing with them as well,” Sypes said. “I love learning from our choir director, learning new songs, and being able to grow with them as a group.”

Joining ensemble at the end of her freshman year, Rylee Schwab, ’21, appreciates being apart of Bellezza and she shares how she first got recognized for her singing ability.

“I was doing an end of the year voice check with Mrs Ainley in choir,” Schwab said. “She heard me sing and she literally asked me about ensemble. I said that I was interested and she basically brought me into the group and made me a part of it.”

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

After singing together, members from both choirs mingle over a lunch from Casa Corona in room 502.

“The choir exchange was so much fun,” Schwab continued. “They were so amazing to hear and fun to be around as well. I enjoyed having lunch with some of the and getting to know them better afterwards.”

Want to know more about Berean High School? Check out their website.

For more articles about Bellezza ensemble, read Bellezza ensemble choral exchange and Bellezza travels to community hospital.

Mackenzie Beckworth can be reached via twitter and via email.

Below is a slideshow of the Choral Exchange, Jan. 16.

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