This year, newVoices is proud to recognize Linda Hash with well-deserved distinction of the Rick Bjella Honorary Chair.
This honorary “chair” was established to celebrate the 25 years of leadership Rick Bjella dedicated to our organization. During his tenure, he maintained high artistic standards and a passion for the art form of choral singing. The only requirement for being selected to hold this honorary position is that the holder displays the same passion Rick did.
“I am honored to receive this award because it places me in the stellar company of previous honorees and it reminds us of the many different ways a person can contribute to an arts organization,” Linda says.
Linda Hash has sung with the soprano section of newVoices since 2007. She’s always willing to dedicate her time and talents outside of rehearsals, and has previously served on the Choir Council as the Soprano Representative, chaired concert committees, and frequently volunteers her time to assist with a variety of tasks in the choir office.
But, without a doubt, one of her most admirable undertakings with the choir has been coordinating newVoice’s outreach program with the Fox Valley Memory Project’s Memory Cafes since 2017. Several times per year, Linda puts together a small group of singers to attend these social engagements and share music with people who are dealing with dementia, cognitive decline, or other memory loss. Linda plans programs around the café’s chosen theme, and also gathers and organizes music, lyrics, and audio files for all of the songs.
It’s a big job, but one that Linda has found to be incredibly fulfilling. “Leading the café participants in song is always rewarding, as we once again experience the power of music to communicate with people, some of whom are no longer very communicative, and enrich their lives,” she says.
Linda herself has a long history with music, having grown up in the Lutheran choral tradition both as a child in church choirs and as a student at Luther College in Decorah, IA. In addition to newVoices, she’s also currently a member of the Faith Lutheran Church Chorale and Wednesday Musicale.
And, Linda also takes every opportunity to keep the music tradition alive in her own family. “There’s nothing quite like making music with other people, especially family,” she adds. “I am excited to have my son, Logan, join my choir family as a High School Master Singer, just as his older brother, Kevin, did in 2012.”
Past holders of the Rick Bjella Honorary Chair
2018-19 Carol Jegen
2017-18 Jennifer Johnson
2016-17 Mike Bryan
2015-16 Nancy Rickhoff
2014-15 Dave Frederick
2013-14 Rebecca Ryan
2012-13 Traci Diehl
2011-12 Christine Serna
2010-11 Kathryn Ann Weyenberg
2009-10 Mary Schmidt