The Bel Canto Youth Chorus of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem provides opportunities for excellence in choral performance. Currently representing 13 school districts from the Lehigh Valley and neighboring counties, Bel Canto works to enhance, strengthen, and collaborate with the music education programs in the Lehigh Valley community. Collaboration between Bel Canto and the Bach Choir provides additional performance opportunities for students.
The Bel Canto Youth Chorus was founded in 1993 in the Perkiomen Valley by Dr. Joy Hirokawa, who led the choir for 30 years before passing the baton to Kelly Rocchi in 2023. That same year, Alaina Swartz joined Bel Canto as the Conductor of the Youth Chorale. Bel Canto’s evolving structure continues to serve the unique pedagogical needs of its singers, and three ensembles will be offered in the 2024–25 season: Da Capo Treble Choir, Youth Chorale, and Concert Choir. Musicianship, leadership, and community are cornerstones of the ensembles. Through the performance of vigorous and diverse choral repertoire, including the works of J.S. Bach, a lifelong passion for the choral arts is inspired and cultivated.

Follow us on social media! Facebook: @The Bel Canto Youth Chorus  Instagram: @belcantoyc


Our Choirs

The Bel Canto Youth Chorus of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem provides opportunities for excellence in choral education and performance where all are welcome. Musicianship, leadership, and community are cornerstones of our ensemble. Through the performance of vigorous and diverse choral repertoire, including the works of J.S. Bach, a lifelong passion for the choral arts is inspired and cultivated.

The Bel Canto Youth Chorus currently offers three choirs, each dedicated to musical excellence, with instruction appropriate to singers’ vocal development. Repertoire will explore historical and contemporary choral music from diverse eras and styles, along with an exploration of the music of J.S. Bach.

De Capo Treble Choir

Da Capo is a Treble Choir of singers in grades 3-6. Singers will learn the basics of healthy singing, music reading, and choral technique in a relaxed and inviting environment.

Youth Chorale

The Youth Chorale is a Treble Choir of students in grades 4 through 8. Music reading, ear training, 2 and 3 part singing, and foundational vocal technique are the focus of this ensemble.

Concert Choir

The Concert Choir is a Mixed Choir (SATB) of students in grades 9 through 12 plus freshmen in college. This choir is appropriate for students who have established foundational vocal technique, are strong music readers, and able to sing in four parts comfortably.



Wednesday, April 24: 6-8 PM (Da Capo Treble Choir & Youth Chorale)

Thursday, April 25: 6-8 PM (Concert Choir)

Tuesday, April 30: 6-8 PM (Concert Choir)

Wednesday, May 1: 6-8 PM (Da Capo Treble Choir & Youth Chorale)

Wednesday, May 22: 6-8 PM (Da Capo Treble Choir & Youth Chorale)

Thursday, May 23: 6-8 PM (Concert Choir)

Saturday, June 1: 10AM-12PM (DC&YC) and 5-9 PM (CC)

Sign up for an audition!

Click here to register for an audition

Latest News!

Congratulations to our PMEA All-State Students!

Congratulations to our students Damon Dellanno, Cameron Dunham, Kailey Force, and Dean Tarriff on successfully auditioning into the 2024 PMEA All-State Chorus! And congratulations to all of our students who participated in the PMEA Region V Chorus Festival from Feb. 7-9.

Stand Up: Singing the Underground Railroad Won 2nd Place in the American Prize Virtual Performance 2023 Schools Division

Congratulations to Dr. Joy Hirokawa and all Bel Canto singers involved in making the video!

Click HERE for more information about this award.




2023-2024 Season

Welcome to the Bel Canto Youth Chorus 2023-2024 Season!

As we embark on the exciting journey of our new season, we’re thrilled to begin another chapter filled with beautiful music. Remember to stay tuned to this page for all the latest updates about our season, including news, concert schedules and much more!


Upcoming Events:

February 18, 2024 at 4 PM | The Greg Funfgeld Family Concert
Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, PA

February 24, from 3:30 – 5:30 PM | Region Chorus Prep Session
First Presbyterian Church, Bethlehem, PA

April 21, 2024 at 4 PM | The Bel Canto Youth Chorus Spring Concert
Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, PA


Spring Rehearsal Calendar:

All rehearsals are from 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Wednesday, January 10
Wednesday, January 17
Wednesday, January 24
Wednesday, January 31
Wednesday, February 7
Wednesday, February 14
Wednesday, February 21
Wednesday, February 28
Wednesday, March 6
Wednesday, March 13
Wednesday, Mach 20
Wednesday, March 27 – NO REHEARSAL
Wednesday, April 3
Wednesday, April 10

Dress Rehearsal: Wednesday, April 17

Directors and Administration

Kelly Rocchi, Director of The Bel Canto Youth Chorus

Kelly S. Rocchi has been the Choral Director at Nazareth Area High since 2006. A graduate of Penn State University, she has also earned a Masters in Vocal Performance from West Chester University. She is the director of the high school Concert Choir (non auditioned “come-all” choir), Nightingales (select treble ensemble), Cantus (select SATB ensemble), and oversees two student directed a cappella groups. She also teaches four levels of piano and two levels of music theory at the high school. Nazareth Area School District was recognized as one of the best in the nation for music education by the NAMM Foundation for the past five years.

Kelly has served as the guest conductor for several choral festivals and was selected as the Penn State School of Music Outstanding Music Education Alumni Award winner for the 2020-2021 school year. Kelly was also named as a Semi-Finalist in the Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Program for the 2021 school year. The Nightingales, Nazareth Area High School’s select treble choir, has been invited to sing at several American Choral Directors Association-PA Fall Conferences and Pennsylvania Music Educators Association State Conferences as well as at the 2019 National Association for Music Educators/PMEA Eastern Division Conference. Kelly and her husband Michael live in Coopersburg with their 11-year old twins, Allie and Cameron.

Alaina Swartz, Bel Canto Youth Chorale Conductor

Alaina Swartz is the director of the Bel Canto Youth Chorale. Originally from Reading, PA, Alaina has spent the last 16 years in the Lehigh Valley as a music educator and choral musician. Alaina earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Susquehanna University, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and her Master of Music in Music Education from Ithaca College. She began her career in the Parkland School District at Springhouse Middle School, instructing the choral program and general music classes. Under her tenure, the choir increased fourfold in enrollment. She has most recently taught at Kernsville Elementary School, teaching classroom and choral music. In addition to the classroom, Alaina has taught studio voice and piano lessons. Alaina has performed with the Lehigh Valley Choral Union, Allentown Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and Interrupted Silence Vocal Ensemble. Alaina is passionate about developing an appreciation of the choral arts while fostering healthy vocal development. She is excited to join the Bach Choir family and to share her enthusiasm with the students in the Bel Canto Youth Chorale.



Leah Kun, choir manager of the Bel Canto Youth Chorus

Leah Kun is the choir manager for the Bel Canto Youth Chorus as well as the Marketing and Development Assistant for The Bach Choir of Bethlehem. In 2020, Leah graduated with a B.M. in Music Education from Westminster Choir College, graduating Summa Cum Laude. In the summer of 2020, Leah opened an online, private voice studio to allow for young singers to continue singing and developing vocal technique through the pandemic. She also began singing in the Bach Choir in the 2020-2021 season, and she is now in her third year. In January of 2022, Leah began to study opera performance. Since then, she has performed roles in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea and Handel’s Alcina. Leah has worked with The Bel Canto Youth Chorus since November of 2022, and she is enthusiastic about the season ahead.

Andrea Berntsen, collaborative pianist

Andrea Berntsen started playing piano at age of three and became a professional accompanist at the age of thirteen. She earned a BM in Piano Performance from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and an MM in Piano and Organ Performance from the Yale University School of Music, New Haven, Connecticut. Ms. Berntsen has been an active church organist and choir director for close to fifty years and currently resides in Allentown, PA where she continues working as a church musician in addition to freelancing as a keyboard accompanist.

Tina Lebrecht, collaborative pianist

Mrs. Tina Lebrecht holds a BS in Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a major concentration in piano and minor concentrations in flute, voice and organ.  She is a graduate of Kutztown University with a MEd as a Reading Specialist.  She has been singing with the Bach Choir since 1988 and is a newly retired music teacher from the Southern Lehigh School District.  Active as a children’s choir director for more than 30 years both in church and school, Mrs. Lebrecht is eager to serve as an accompanist and brings her expertise in working with middle school students to Youth Chorale

2023-2024 Bel Canto Committee

Phil Turton, Chair and Representative of the Bach Choir Board of Directors
Leela Breithaupt, Executive Director of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem
Kelly Rocchi, Director of the Bel Canto Youth Chorus
Alaina Swartz, Bel Canto Youth Chorale Conductor
Leah Kun, Choir Manager of the Bel Canto Youth Chorus
Patty Alercia
Shari Dunham
Jesse Gehman
Phyllis H. Gibson
Lindsay Whitman


2024-2025 Program Fees

Tuition helps cover the cost of our summer retreat, scholarship recital, folders, music, rehearsal & concert venues, and other special performances & opportunities.

Da Capo Treble Choir Tuition – $350 for the year ($175 per semester)

Youth Chorale Tuition – $500 for the year ($250 per semester)

Concert Choir Tuition – $300 for the fall semester (CC runs the fall semester only)

Concert Choir Spring Workshops – $125 per workshop, $250 for both workshops (two workshop sessions will run spring semester: January 22 – February 19 and March 26 – April 23)

Tuition Payment Schedule

Tuition may be paid by one of four ways:

  • 1 check for the entire balance due
  • 1 checks per semester (applies to Youth Chorale students only; $200 per semester)
  • Credit card invoicing
  • Equal monthly installments debited from your bank account

Financial Aid

Financial assistance is available, allotted on the basis of need. Students who require assistance must submit an application (provided by the choir manager) with copies of the previous year’s income tax return.