On Saturday morning April 1, 2023, at Sammamish High School in Bellevue, Washington, 43 high school and college students came together for a unique experience. It’s hard to put into words the atmosphere of the first annual Bellevue Youth Choral Festival, but the anticipation among the students was palpable. They did not know exactly what to expect but they were leaning into the experience.
Led by clinicians Donny and Amy Rose, the current Evergreen District champion quartet InVoice, and supported by more than 30 volunteers from the Bellevue Chapter, the Festival exceeded everyone’s expectations. Donny’s introduction of the barbershop style was wildly popular, especially with the Altos when they learned that in our style of a cappella they get to sing the melody! After InVoice demonstrated the style with a song and dispersed to act as section leaders, Donny invited all the students and their directors to join their desired section and the learning got underway in earnest.
As the day progressed the students bonded with the men of InVoice so completely that they sought them out at lunch to listen and learn more. By the time of the evening show Donny, Amy and InVoice had melded the students into a cohesive choir, one that brought the audience to their feet when they performed for friends and family.
“AMAZING” was the most frequent comment from the participants and their directors. All of them want to return for the second annual festival, and all want to bring their friends.