The Bel Canto Youth Chorus will be hosting an Elementary Honor Choir Festival on April 22nd, 2023 in Bethlehem. Teachers are invited to bring singers in grades 4-6 to attend a day of of rehearsing and performing exceptional choral music, co-directed by Chaequan Anderson of the Princeton Girlchoir and Dr. Joy Hirokawa, Bel Canto Artistic Director.

Elementary Honor Choir
Chaequan Anderson and
Dr. Joy Hirokawa

  • for singers in grades 4, 5, & 6
  • extensive experience not required! This festival is about opportunity!
  • repertoire will include traditional Western choral music, contemporary styles, music in other languages, and music taught in the aural/oral tradition.
  • rehearsal tracks will be provided
  • low-cost fee of $30 per singer
  • scholarships available!
  • no limit on the number of singers you can bring!
  • Student Schedule:
  • 8:30 AM Registration
  • 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Rehearsals with breaks
  • 12:00 PM – 12:45 PM Lunch
  • 12:45 – 3:15 Rehearsals with breaks
  • 4:00 PM Concert open to the public

Professional Development
Karla Bell, Clinician

Raising Their Voices: Maximizing the Culture and Collective Genius of the Choral Classroom Community: In this session, we will learn the importance of the student’s voice, culture, and experience in the Choral classroom. Attendees will receive resources to build and maintain a healthy learning community, identify and remove barriers to program safety and growth, and strategies for educator wellness. (3 hours PD)

Rehearsal Observation (2 hours PD)
Online Reading Session (1 hour PD)
Six Total Hours Professional Development

•Free for teachers bringing 5 or more students to the Honor Choir.
•$30 for teachers bringing 0 – 4 students
•Teachers of all levels will find Karla’s presentation valuable!
•Teachers may option for 3 hours of PD (Karla’s workshop)

Questions? Email Joy Hirokawa at or Leah Kun at or call 610-866-4382 x116


Karla Bell is a veteran music educator, honorably and unapologetically serving Black and Brown K-12 music scholars for more than 16 years. She currently serves as a middle and high school Choral Director in Delaware. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Delaware State University and a Master of Education degree in School Leadership from Wilmington University.

Karla is a mentor and teacher’s teacher. Using equity, anti-racist, and restorative lenses, she facilitates
graceFULL learning communities for scholars and empowers fellow educators to do the same. She believes in the brilliance and genius of scholars, and it shows in her grassroots student leadership programs. Karla leads and serves on climate and culture teams and facilitates professional development at the school, district, and state levels. Her professional memberships and affiliations include the National Education Association, National Association for Music Education, Delaware State Education Association, and Delaware Music Educators Association. Karla believes in the gifting and potential of every person she encounters. She is a catalyst. Her passion is removing barriers to uninhibited access to opportunity and laying a strong foundation for present and future generations.

Chaequan Anderson is an active choral conductor and music educator based in Princeton, New Jersey. Chaequan has varied choral experience directing school, community youth and children, and professional choirs. In addition to his work in the classroom, Chae has held positions with Trenton Children’s Chorus, Westminster Conservatory, and has served as a guest conductor and clinician with ensembles in Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Chae is currently the Director of Middle School Choirs at Montclair Kimberley Academy, Associate Director & Conductor Cantores at Princeton Girlchoir, & is the Founding Artistic Director of Glassbrook Vocal Ensemble, a professional choir based in Trenton, NJ.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music, and Kodály Certification Levels I & II, from Westminster Choir College, and is currently completing a Master of Music in Choral Conducting at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Professional memberships include the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Educators, the Organization of American Kodály Educators, the National Association of Negro Musicians, & New Jersey Music Educators Association.

Dr. Joy Hirokawa is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Bel Canto Youth Chorus of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem. She is a passionate advocate for creating musical spaces in which youth can express themselves through the choral art as they navigate and learn about a complicated world. The 2021 Bel Canto video, Stand Up: Singing the Underground Railroad was widely acclaimed for its sensitive and artistic presentation.

She is a frequent guest conductor and clinician. International engagements include the 2018 Bali International Choral Festival, 2020 Hong Kong Youth Music Camp (postponed due to Covid), and the 2022 IFCM World Choral Expo Exchange in Lisbon, Portugal. Her published arrangements include jazz, classical, and multicultural arrangements for young voices. Following 20 years of teaching at all levels in the public schools, Dr. Hirokawa led the music education program at Moravian College for ten years, was an adjunct instructor at Temple University, and led the Lafayette College Concert Choir. Dr. Hirokawa is the ACDA National Repertoire and Resources Chair for Children and Youth Choirs.