Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Bella, 10, accepts her Robert Johnson award

Little girl with angelic voice wins annual award

Added on Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Salvation Army is proud to announce that a 10-year-old girl named Bella has won our 2018 Robert Johnson Memorial Award.

Bella (pictured at top) of Mankato, Minn. won the award for her singing abilities during a weeklong music camp at Salvation Army Northwoods Camp in Finlayson, Minn. Each year, the award is given to the music camp participant who demonstrates the biggest improvement in his or her music skills throughout camp. 

Bella started camp feeling shy, but by the end, she’d blossomed into a powerhouse. 

Jose Sanchez speaks to kids“At first she was nervous, but then she became more relaxed and started making friends,” said Jose Sanchez (pictured right), music director for The Salvation Army Northern Division. “She has so much talent.”

By winning the award, Bella will receive a scholarship to go to next year’s music camp. Past recipients of the award have been singers like Bella or have won for their talents in percussion, coronet, saxophone, and other instruments. 

When Bella was announced as this year’s winner of the award, she was totally surprised.

“It took her a while to realize that it was in fact her name we were calling,” Sanchez said. “But that’s how people with big hearts are – they work hard without expecting recognition. For that reason and her big talent, Bella definitely deserves this year’s Robert Johnson Memorial Award.”

Robert Johnson (1924–2010) was a lifelong Salvation Army officer who loved three things: God, kids and music. He could play just about any instrument he picked up, and he spent countless hours driving kids to Salvation Army locations and returning them home safely. His award helps give kids the opportunity to develop skills as musicians and teaches them how to worship God through music.

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