Our Singers

Meet Our Performers

Belle Voci Singers

The Voice Behind The Music

Paula DeWit

Paula DeWit is a well known musician and conductor with a great interest in the artistic direction of both choirs and orchestras. She has excelled with the support and encouragement of her friends, family and fellow musicians. After studying music at Queens University and the Canadian Forces School of Music, Paula played trumpet for the Canadian Forces for 11 years. During her tenure she was featured regularly as a vocal soloist. She performed extensively throughout Canada, the USA, Belgium, France and Germany.

A lifelong musician, Paula DeWit presently lends her talents toward conducting the Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, The Starlets, Belle Voci a cappella ensemble, The Chilliwack Children’s and Youth Choir and the White Rock Community Orchestra. She also arranges music and plays the trumpet.

Throughout her musical career, Paula has been committed to the pursuit of fine detail in the making of great music, and is dedicated to inspire each of her singers and instrumentalists to a high standard of excellence.

In addition to being a Rotarian, she is the founder of Belle Voci a cappella ensemble. After obtaining her conducting credentials at Capilano University, Paula has continued her conducting studies at international workshops in Canada and the United States.

Paula was recently nominated for the prestigious Canadian Heinz Unger conductor award.  Ms DeWit is the recipient of a honorary Paul Harris Fellow.

Sylwia Karwowska

Sylwia Karwowska comes from Poland. She obtained her Master of Arts degree in choral conducting from Academy of Music in Wrocław. She also holds Associate of Royal Conservatory of Music diploma in voice performance. Her diverse repertoire includes opera, oratorio-cantata and choral music.

Currently she performs with Opera Pro Cantanti in Vancouver, including the title role in “Norma” by Vincenzo Bellini and Abigaille in G.Verdi’s Nabucco.  She is also active pianist and cellist performing string chamber music.

In addition to performing she teaches voice, piano, cello and ear-training at Tri-City School of Music and Bergthorson Academy of Musical Arts.

Jim Banman

Jim Banman was born and raised in Vanderhoof, BC. He started playing piano at the age of 8 and began giving piano lessons at the age of 16. At 17 he spent a summer at the Banff School of Fine Arts for gifted youth.

After high school he attended Trinity Western University majoring in piano and voice and touring throughout BC with singing groups to perform in churches of various denominations.

After receiving a teacher’s certificate and teaching briefly, he returned to school to study Piano Technology for two years at George Brown College in Toronto.

Jim sang with A Cappella Plus and the Island Consort Chamber Choir in Nanaimo for several years before moving to Chilliwack in 2010.

Presently, Jim is a teacher at Cascade Christian School. He also keeps busy with volunteer work at church and as the conductor of the Chilliwack Songs of Praise, as well as a board member and a sound/media technician. He sings bass in Belle Voci.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meghan C. Kotai

Meghan Kotai was born and raised in Abbotsford, BC. She began formal piano lessons at age 4. By age 16, she had completed the Grade 8 Royal Conservatory of Music Exam with Honors. During her youth she sang with her church choir and accompanied the youth choir on the piano at her highschool.

Meghan studied Nursing at college and worked in the healthcare field for 10 years as a nursing aide, doula and breastfeeding counselor. Five years ago she again took up her love for music and sang with a local women’s choir, the Serenata Singers, in Mission, BC.

Meghan is thrilled to be a part of the Belle Vocci a cappella Ensemble and singing some of the favorite classical pieces she grew up listening to. 

 

 

 

Cameron Engel

Cameron is delighted to collaborate with all the other passionate musicians of Belle Voci, and looking forward to another great season of wonderful music.

A resident of the Lower Mainland for 30 years, Cameron got his education at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio, where he focused on bassoon, recorder and Early Music performance practice. During his time there, he studied choral music and conducting with Daniel Moe, Weston Noble and Karle Erickson, among others.

In 1981, he was part of the inaugural group of musicians at the Lutheran Music Program, a summer month-long camp that travels around the Midwestern United States, at a different college or university campus each year. He started as a student and joined the faculty from 1984-1987.

He has performed with a number of choral groups in Vancouver, including the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Gaudeamus, and the Vancouver Bach Choir. He also plays principle bassoon in both the West Coast Symphony and the Vancouver Philharmonic, and a number of chamber music groups. He founded and organized Vancamerata, a chamber music group made up of musicians from the Lower Mainland.

He also gets together regularly with some other Early Music professionals to play shawms, sackbuts, dulzian, recorders and other Renaissance and Baroque instruments. He has been a church music director/organist/choir director in a number of churches over the last 30 years. Cameron is also an accomplished composer, having had choral and instrumental works premiered in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Guatemala.

Jonathan Leung

Bass- baritone Jonathan Leung started learning piano and music theory at a young age, his love of music didn’t get ignited until he was asked to join the Felsted Senior School Choir in Essex, England. This English public school choir was directed by Michael Kibblewhite, one of UK’s best known choral directors. Jonathan went on tour with them to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Wight singing various works, including the African Sanctus by David Fanshawe.

After moving to Vancouver, he yearned for the same kind of choral music experience but family life and engineering work in general got the better of him. This is until he found out about Gregorian chants in Latin Mass, and subsequently directed the church choir and schola locally.

Since 2009, Jonathan has been singing with the Handel Society of Music in South Surrey, under Johan Louwersheimer. During the years he expanded his repertoire to include pieces such as St. John’s Passion, Mass in B minor by J.S. Bach, Requiems by Mozart, Duruflé and Haydn, and Masses by Haydn, Schubert, Dvořák and Puccini.

 

Anabella Nootebos

Anabella Nootebos comes from a large musical family and began singing at a young age in school and parish choirs. At the age of 7, she began piano lessons and transitioned to organ 3 years later, and with the support of many musical mentors, began playing organ for Mass at Precious Blood Parish in Surrey at age 12. During her high school years, she directed the parish Youth Choir. She occasionally serves as organist for funerals and weddings in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, and recently had the wonderful opportunity to further her skills through taking organ lessons with renowned organist Edward Norman.


Currently, Anabella studies at Trinity Western University where she is pursuing a degree in Education, with two minors in Music Education and Catholic Studies, and she is a member of TWU’s Chamber Choir. While she has been involved in various church-based ensembles throughout her life, a highlight for her was being a member of the choir which served for Friday Latin Masses at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver. During the covid-19 pandemic lockdown, she started the Sacred Music Sundays project to gather church musicians around the Vancouver Archdiocese and share the beauty of Sacred Music.


Anabella sings Alto and loves Gregorian chant and the vast treasury of sacred music in the Catholic tradition.

 

Bevin van Liempt

Bevin van Liempt was born into a musical family and has developed his own niche in the music industry. Bevin is the rehearsal pianist for the Chilliwack Symphony Chorus and the Handel Society of Music. He is one of the assistant music directors and the rehearsal pianist for the Chilliwack Children’s and Youth Choirs. Additionally, Bevin is on staff at the Bakerview Music Academy and assists with the choir direction there. He plays the organ at St Joachim and Anne Parish as well as leads or sings in their schola. Bevin has a deep love for the pre Vatican II catholic liturgy and is an advocate for preserving the heritage of sung liturgy in Latin mass. He was very instrumental in initiating the 2018 BC Sacred Music Symposium and sits on the committee for the BC Sacred Music Symposium.

Bevin has sung in various groups such as Valley Festival Singers, Chilliwack Symphony Chorus, Chilliwack Opera Troupe, but has a special place for Belle Voci.

Bevin is the president of the Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. When not sharing his musical prowess, Bevin is studying at University to achieve his goals of becoming a crown council.

 

Jaime Rene

Music has been a part of Jaime’s life for as long as she can remember. She grew up in a musical family, the daughter and granddaughter of accomplished musicians. Jaime began her own musical studies with the violin, piano and later flute. She began singing duets and trios with her parents in church by grade five.

In her teens, she sang with the chorus of the Everett Opera, and toured the country with her high school jazz choir and band. Later, she attended Trinity Western University, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in history and music, studying under Janet Kirkley and Ingrid Suderman.

At TWU, she was actively involved with the Chamber Choir, travelling to China and Korea to perform. Under the leadership of Dr. Wes Janzen, she performed the Canadian premiere of Penderecki’s Requiem with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

In the early 2000s, Jaime accompanied her husband to St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, where she continue to enrich her musical skills, studying composition with Dr. Mark Bailey and directing the seminary choir.

Since then, she has continued to lead church choirs in Calgary, Cranbrook, and Chilliwack, while she teaches full-time at Traditional Learning Academy, supports her husband in his ministry, and raises her three children, Lily, Gabriel and John. Her involvement with Belle Voci is just the latest adventure in a lifelong journey of musical joy. 

Rachel Vroege

Rachel Vroege is an experienced musician who studied flute and piano performance at Kings University in Edmonton, AB. Rachel also studied Music Therapy at Capilano College in North Vancouver and at Taylor Seminary (Edmonton, AB) and Regent College (Vancouver, BC) in the Master of Divinity program.
Rachel Vroege is a talented and inviting worship leader who draws worshippers into a respectful and thoughtful interactive worship experience. She receives regular invitations to lead worship at conferences and churches.
Rachel works for Diaconal Ministries Canada in overseeing and implementing programs to engage churches in community and outreach ministry, equip leaders in benevolence and visitation, and mobilize churches in responding to injustices.

Rachel Vroege lives in Chilliwack, BC with her husband Russ and four children.

 

Sonja Strimbei

An enthusiastic singer since childhood, Sonja started with voice lessons and choir in elementary school. She went on to sing with her high school choir, and also joined the choir at a private girls’ school in Tokyo, Japan, where she studied on exchange. Sonja continued to pursue voice, piano and theory lessons with music teachers all over the Lower Mainland. She graduated from UBC in 2010 with a BA (Hons.) in German and English Language.

Since moving to the Fraser Valley, Sonja has sung with Evensong Chamber Singers for several seasons. While enrolled at the Chilliwack Academy of Music, she was awarded scholarships for Senior Voice Performance in 2015 and 2016. She has also participated in local music festivals, including the Chilliwack Lions Club Music and Dance Festival, where she won awards for Senior Vocal Champion in 2015 and Open Masters Vocal Champion in 2016 and 2017. Recently, Sonja received the Dr. Jeanette Gallant Award for a Promising Senior Classical Voice Student at the 2018 Kiwanis Fraser Valley International Music Festival.

Sonja is a soprano and has a strong interest in early, renaissance and baroque music performance.

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Whiteside

Andrew Whiteside lives in Richmond, British Columbia and possesses a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Trinity Western University. He has studied many disciplines throughout his degree program including piano, voice, conducting, and timpani. He currently studies piano with Suzanne Klukas, voice with Alison Nystrom, and conducting with Dr. Joel Tranquilla and Dr. Jon Thompson at Trinity Western University.

Andrew has been a member of the Trinity Western Chamber Choir and Chamber Singers as a tenor and has developed a passion for the choral arts throughout his studies. He is currently the assistant conductor of the Valley Felstival singers in Abbotsford.

He has toured extensively with the TWU choirs in China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. Andrew also performed with the Vancouver Chamber Choir in its Focus program in 2016, 2018 and 2019 as well asin 2020 participated in their annual conductors symposium with Jon Washburn and Dr. Kari Turunen.

Andrew enjoys singing music from all time periods, especially early renaissance music.

 

.

Theresa Donnelly

ON SABBATICAL*Coming from a large musical family, Theresa began singing at a young age. She has been a member of Holy Family Parish choir, directed by her father, Mark Donnelly, in Vancouver for the past 15 years. When she was fourteen, she started singing with a few of the more experienced choir members in a group call Cantores Joannis Baptistae through which she developed her sight singing skills.

 Apart from her parish choir, Theresa also sings for weddings and other events with her family. In 2009 she recorded a Christmas CD, “Carol of the Bells” with her father and older brother and sister. While attending Thomas Aquinas College, Theresa sang in one of the college’s student run choirs, Chrysotomos, and directed the same choir during her senior year in 2016.

 Although she enjoys many different styles of choral music, her favourite is the early Renaissance music of Josquin des Prez and John Dunstable. When she is not singing, Theresa can be found working as an artisan cheesemaker at Golden Ears Cheesecrafters in Maple Ridge or baking sourdough bread at home. Theresa is excited to be singing with Belle Voci for the first time.

 

Henry Waldock

ON SABBATICAL* 

 

Tickets- Concerts

Find Our When We Perform Next and How To Get Tickets

Audition for Belle Voci

Celebrated a Capella Singers

Are you interested in singing with us? Admission to the Belle Voci a cappella ensemble is by audition/invitation, and we’re always interested in meeting new singers. who we’re looking for Prospective choristers are invited to contact the Artistic Director at any time during the year for an audition. In addition to filling permanent vacancies, we sometimes need substitutes for singers who are unable to perform certain concerts, or want to augment our roster for certain repertoire.

interested candidates are expected to:

• have an innate sense of musicality
• have a solid understanding of music theory fundamentals;
• be good sight readers;
• have a voice that blends easily in a small ensemble; and
• be committed to the choir’s rehearsal and concert schedule.
the audition Auditions are conducted by the Artistic Director and an accompanist. the 15 – 20 minute audition consists of:
• Performance of a solo piece.
• Unaccompanied sight singing.
• An interview.

Starting in September, Belle Voci rehearses every Sunday from 6-9:00 p.m. at Sts Joachim and Anne in Aldergrove BC. The choir is also expected at all dress rehearsals, preparation sessions with the symphony (if applicable), and occasionally, extra choral practices. contact information If you would like to audition or need more information about the Belle Voci a cappella ensemble, please contact the Artistic Director, Paula DeWit at [email protected]