By Cheryl Dellecese
Alumnae Association of Smith College
Arianne Abela ’08 had no intention of becoming a conductor until she came to Smith. Though music had always been a major part of her life (she sang in the San Francisco Girls Chorus for many years), she grew up as a left leg amputee and missing most of her fingers on both hands. “My hands have always been my greatest insecurity,” she says.
But all that has changed. Abela, conductor of 3 Penny Chorus and Orchestra, has spent the summer competing on television’s America’s Got Talent with the ensemble she founded with Yale School of Music classmate Colin Britt. The 55-person, all-volunteer group includes professional musicians, but also individuals of all ages and from all walks of life. The goal of the orchestra is to perform pop music with a classical twist. “We want to show people that you don’t have to love just one kind of music,” says Abela. MORE