Bel Canto Alaska - Musical Entertainers - Anchorage, Alaska
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Bel Canto, Inc. dba Bel Canto Alaska is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to providing quality vocal performances and educational programs to Alaskan audiences.

The group was formed in 2002 by singers who met at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. We realized there was an unfilled niche for mature singers in the Southcentral Alaska region. All of our singers are classically trained and many are music educators. Our goal is to provide performance opportunities to singers and other musicians through a series of musical concerts, master classes, and shows and in so doing, provide quality entertainment and education for our growing audience!
  
During that period, we worked administratively to become incorporated, which we achieved in 2004 and also to become a 501 (c) 3 non-profit arts organization, achieving that in 2006.  (No moss growing under our collective feet!)  Beginning with the 2006 – 2007, Bel Canto began working with Andrew Sweeney, a talented singer, music arranger, stage director and accompanist!  For the next 4 seasons, Andrew took us in an exciting direction!  Adding scripts, props, choreography, special effects, and story lines which tied together the variety of pieces members had prepared to create entertaining, comedic as well as dramatic shows, including: “That’s Amore!”, “Opera’s Greatest Hits (and a miss or two)!”, “Cabaret and Cabernet!”, “Press #1 For English!”, “It’s Magic!”, “Best of Bel Canto!”, “Bel Canto Makes A Scene!”, “Discover Bel Canto!” presenting the Alaska premier of “The Audition” by Martin Kalminoff, “Classical Child’s Play!” and more. In 2007, we held our 1st Singing Competition as part of our community outreach with the three winners joining us for “Cabaret & Cabernet!”  2009 was a very exciting year as we hosted our 2nd Anniversary Singing Competition with the winners joining us for “Discover Bel Canto!” and also in that same year, with the help of Blue Diamond Webs, we developed our own web page:  www.belcantoalaska.org  Sadly, Andrew moved on to other things but the members of Bel Canto persevered – utilizing the multitude of talents within its own membership and began writing its own scripts, developing its own arrangements, choreography and more. Additionally, from 2010 until our spring concert in 2015, we had the delight of working with accompanist Freya Wardlaw-Bailey and as a bonus, her cellist husband, James! 
 
The 2010-2011 season expanded the from competition winners as guests to inviting talented individuals from our community to be guest artists for our shows.  And what a wonderful addition they have been – our grateful thanks to:  BuzzOPlex Marionettes (Buzz Schwall), Brian Hutton, Christine Keene and Sara Shipp for their delightful contributions to our fundraiser: “Bel Canto Pulls Some Strings”, and Waylon Waddell, for his wonderful performance in our final show of that season: “Bel Canto Unleashed!”
 
In our 2011-2012 season, we continued and strengthened our tradition of guest artists with Tim Fosket joining us for “Unusual Suspects” and again for “Love and Other 4-Letter Words” along with the three winners’ of our 3rd Anniversary Singing Competition! BuzzOPlex Marionettes again joined us in a highly successful fundraiser: “Raiders of the Lost Art!” at a new venue – the Alaska Museum of Science & Nature! 
 
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For our 2012-2013 season, we again discovered another delightful venue – the Ann Stevens Room at the Loussac Library where we presented “Bel Canto After Dark!”  Continuing our spirit of collaboration, we performed “Be Our Guest!” at the Museum of Science & Nature with guest artists: Resty Yongko, Tim Fosket, Sally Jungreis, and the Winds of Time.  Closing the season, we did some outreach and traveled to Mendeltna Creek Lodge where we performed “The Diva’s Bequests!”  And yet another progressive development for Bel Canto – our own logo, made even more special because is was designed by the daughter of one of our members – Linda Porter’s 15 year old daughter, Sarah. A talented young artist! Sarah chose a swan because they are native birds in all countries – reflecting the fact that the singers of Bel Canto indeed enjoy performing pieces from composers of all nations. Made elegant with the circular line and music staff, it is a perfect reflection of Bel Canto – ‘beautiful song’.

Our 2013-2014 season saw more growth as we added three new members to our group and hosted a Master Class featuring Zachary Milliman, who was also our Artistic Director.  Another opportunity presented itself and we performed as guest artists with the Anchorage Lutheran Concert series at the Anchorage Lutheran Church presenting:  “Not The Same Old Grind!”  Following this, we re-visited a favorite venue, the Alaska Museum of Science and Nature with an encore of “Not The Same Old Grind! adding wine, hors d’oeuvres and our silent auction scholarship fundraiser!  Those funds were utilized in sponsoring our 4th Anniversary Singing Competition and final show of the season at UAA’s Fine Arts Building Recital Hall: “Bel Canto On The Big Screen!” with our three competition winners as guest artists!

For the 2014-2015 season, we again had the delightful opportunity to work with Zach Milliman as part of the program of the Anchorage Lutheran Concert Series with: “The ‘Reel’ Bel Canto!  And finishing the season with our annual show and silent auction fundraising event:  “Away We Go with Bel Canto!” at another new venue – the Chester Park Cooperative.  While the shows and events were successful, we were saddened to bid adieu to Freya Wardlaw-Bailey, who wanted to focus on building her own studio and her family (she and James now have two lovely children, Melody and Felix) and to Zachary Milliman, a Fulbright Scholar who is pursuing his Doctorate.

So, our 2015-2016 saw us again ‘on our own’ in developing our shows – but, not so fast!  With so much talent out there, we were delighted that Erin Turner has joined us as our accompanist and we also invited Christine Renee Keene, talented singer, vocal and acting coach, to be our guest Artistic Director!  The result were two highly active and entertaining shows:  “Life, Love and What I Sang!” presented as guests of the Anchorage Lutheran Concert Series and “Bel Canto – Center Stage!” presented with the winners of our 5th Anniversary Singing Competition and also as a highlight of our annual silent auction fundraising event!

It’s hard to believe, but here we are in our 15th Anniversary Season – 2016-2017!!  Please check our Upcoming Events for what’s in store for you this season!

We also believe in the support and development of our community. Our members have sung at a variety of events including naturalization ceremonies, charitable fundraisers and as guest artists for Anchorage Opera Guild. Additionally, we provide free tickets to numerous community organizations whose clients may not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy shows such as ours. Please consider becoming a supporter by visiting our donation page to see how your tax deductible contributions can help grow our seasons.

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Bel Canto Singers
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Bel Canto Singers
Bel Canto Singers

Bel Canto, Inc. is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to providing quality vocal performances and educational programs to Alaskan audiences.

The group was formed in 2002 by singers who met at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. We realized there was an unfilled niche for mature singers in the Southcentral Alaska region. All of our singers are classically trained and many are music educators. Our goal is to provide performance opportunities to singers through a series of musical concerts, master classes, and shows and in so doing, provide quality entertainment and education for our growing audience!

We also believe in the support and development of our community. Our members have sung at a variety of events including naturalization ceremonies, charitable fundraisers and as guest artists for Anchorage Opera Guild. Additionally, we provide free tickets to numerous community organizations whose clients may not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy shows such as ours. Please consider becoming a supporter by visiting our donation page to see how your tax deductible contributions can help grow our seasons.

For information about booking Bel Canto for a function, please email us at: belcanto@belcantoalaska.org or call (907) 240-1730.

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