Los Alamos High School Bel Canto Treble Choir Performs At 2020 All-State Honors Choir At Popejoy Hall

Los Alamos High School’s Bel Canto Treble Choir. Courtesy/LAHS

LAHS’s Bel Canto Treble Choir. Courtesy/LAHS

By CELINA LONG

LAHS Choir Booster Member

Los Alamos High School’s Bel Canto Treble Choir, under the direction of Jason Rutledge, had the privilege of performing by invitation as the 2020 All-State Honors Choir at Popejoy Hall Thursday, Jan. 9, in Albuquerque before a full audience of their peers and music educators.

Equally significant and meaningful was the fact that this was the first all female Honors Choir invited to perform at this event in more than 30 years. The theme of the concert was “A Journey Through Laughter, Love and Loss”, a depiction of young adolescent girls transitioning to womanhood, all expressed through music sung in various languages and evoking each of these emotions.

The Los Alamos High School Bel Canto Choir is an auditioned treble choir of 32 young women. Bel Canto ladies enjoy singing advanced literature at an accelerated pace and commit to the creation of a positive learning environment. These young women have consistently earned superior ratings at the district Music Performance Assessment festival and were runners up last year at the New Mexico Music Awards State Choral contest.

In Bel Canto, the young ladies embrace the qualities which define them as individuals but never fail to support one another with love and laughter. Singing beautiful music and supporting one another on the journey from adolescence to womanhood they state: “we are unapologetic young women. As a group of strong beautiful singers, we are often underestimated. We unite and encourage each other to create emotion-filled music that demonstrates our maturity and confidence.” 

And this is precisely what Bel Canto Choir did last Thursday at Popejoy Hall. They sang gracefully and emotionally, their music seeming to touch the heavens. Their complex and challenging music included six pieces, an unprecedented five of which were in foreign languages: Bulgarian, French, Norwegian, Hebrew and South African. Bel Canto was fortunate to have a string quartet from LAHS orchestra, under the direction of Michele Rochelle, to join them for one music piece, “Five Hebrew Love Songs.”

Their final song, “Long Time Traveller,” held a special place in the hearts of Bel Canto. Their beloved friend and choir member, Sophia Feldman, who unexpectedly passed away this fall, had advocated to make this piece a part of the program. Bel Canto carried on her memory in their performance and sang with all their hearts this emotional folk song of a person lost but not lost in their hearts.

Rutledge as well as several of the school administration who attended the performance, including Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus, could not be more proud of the dedication and abilities of these fine young ladies.

Rutledge is in his eighth year of conducting choirs at Los Alamos High School. He holds a Baccalaureate degree in Music Education from the University of Arkansas and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Highlands University.

LAHS’s Bel Canto Treble Choir. Courtesy/LAHS

LAHS’s Bel Canto Treble Choir. Courtesy/LAHS

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