Bee Chow

The Alameda County Arts Commission are recognizing six individuals for their achievements and contributions impacting the arts community and residents of Alameda County with a ceremony on Oct. 1.

Among the recipients is Bee Chow, the founder of Cantabella Children’s Chorus in Livermore.

In 1992, Chow started the organization with a small music literacy class for 11 children. She was inspired by composer Zoltan Kodaly’s philosophy that the singing voice should be every child’s first and lifelong musical instrument. The name Cantabella Children’s Chorus was derived from the Italian ‘canta bella,’ which means to ‘sing beautifully.’

From these beginnings, Chow grew and nurtured Cantabella Children’s Chorus into an international award-winning organization with a total membership of more than 250 singers ranging from kindergarteners to high school students. The mission of the Chorus is to develop healthy vocal techniques and choral artistry within children and youth through excellence in music education, fine choral production, and collaborative cultural arts experiences to enrich and reflect the diverse community.

While Chow’s official retirement as artistic director took place in 2015, she continues to encourage, nurture, and support the organization, contending that the enjoyment of musical performances transcends social and economic differences.

The award recipients will be honored by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors with a commendation ceremony, presented in conjunction with the County’s celebration of National Arts and Humanities Month, on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 10:45 a.m. The event, which is open to the public, takes place at the Alameda County Administration Building, Supervisors’ Chambers, 1221 Oak St., Oakland.

In addition to Chow, the honorees are Suzanne Gayle of Hayward, Kendra Barnes and Laura Elaine Ellis of San Leandro, and James Gayles and Rob Jackson of Oakland.