Nova Jimenez and Susanna Jimenez, who perform as Bella Sorella, are joined at the hip — and have been for quite some time. They met their freshman year at the University of Pacific where they were both vocal performance majors. They sang together in cafes, which they continued to do while pursuing graduates studies at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
“We started out singing mostly opera,” says Susanna (left in photo). “Then, we expanded into art songs along with some sacred and popular pieces.”
For several years, they lived on opposite coasts (Susanna in California and Nova pursuing singing opportunities on the East Coast). They reunited in 2005 — and married brothers to make their partnership familial.
Local audiences will be treated to their varied repertoire — sung in French, Italian, Spanish, German and English — when the duo shares billing with Joan Baez at a fundraiser for the Peninsula College Fund on Saturday, March 2 at the Homer Center at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton. The 7:30 pm concert is preceded by a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception at 6:00; tickets are available online.
The Peninsula College Fund, founded by Menlo Park resident Charles Schmuck, assists low-income, first-generation college students from the Mid-Peninsula in their quest to graduate from college, supporting their education and career goals. Nova and her husband Tomas are both PCF mentors.
“The music we are singing at the PCF concert are the pieces we toured with and that have special meaning to us,” says Nova.
Adds Susanna: “We had some pieces arranged especially for our group. We have a violinist — Joyce Lee — she’s really a third voice. And, Danielle Naler is our pianist. So, the music has been arranged for two voices, violin and piano.”
Whether there will be a third voice — that of Joan Baez — joining them for a tune or two at the PCF fundraiser is unknown but both Nova and Susanna are thrilled at the possibility.
Photo by Scott R Kline