Bel Canto Comes Home

by Katelyn Noll

On Tuesday, May 16, 2006 Bel Canto Women’s Choir held its annual Homecoming Concert, bringing the choir’s May tour to a close and celebrating a wonderful year of performances, new friendships, and unforgettable experiences.

This year, Bel Canto went through Northern California and Nevada for their tour, making stops at churches and schools to perform and minister. The women and their accompanist, graduate piano student Leonardo Sciolis, performed and rehearsed together under Director David Hughes, DMA, since the middle of August. The Homecoming Concert was their last performance together.

The choir sang songs of many different genres, including spirituals, Christian pop, and classical, and in several languages, including English, Latin, and German. Friends and families of choir members attended the concert to support the women and celebrate a great year and fun tour.

Before and during the concert, some choir members and supporters received gifts. Megan Olson, president of the group, was recognized for all of her hard work this year. She was honored with flowers and a special slide show of photographs of tour and the rest of the year.

There were three standing ovations at the concert. The first was for Hughes. The women recognized and thanked him for all of his help and encouragement, and for being their "other dad." They also gave flowers to his wife, Carol Hughes, who offered her support and some home-cooked food for the choir.

The second standing ovation was for a surprise guest: Glen Grant, the bus driver during tour. Grant has driven for many APU tours and his father, Don Grant, was once the dean of the School of Music. Glen stood and thanked the women for the influence they had on him during the past 10 days and encouraged them to never forget that they are all special.

One of the final songs was "Precious Child," and was dedicated to the mothers at the concert. "This is our apology for missing Mother’s Day," said one of the choir members before they sang.

The women ended the concert with a benediction, a prayer that God would keep loved ones in His hand, guiding and protecting them. The third standing ovation went to the Bel Canto women. The concert ended with tears, smiles, and hugs, bringing a great end to a wonderful year.