The Virginia Belles
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2010)|
The Belles performing at The Virginia Gentlemen's Family Weekend Concer
|Origin||Charlottesville, Virginia, United States|
|Labels||A Cappella Records|
The Virginia Belles is the University of Virginia's oldest all-female a cappella group based in Charlottesville, Virginia. The group was established in 1977 by Katherine Mitchell as the female counterpart to the Virginia Gentlemen, the university's oldest a cappella group. Completely student-run, the Belles continue to perform an eclectic range of vocal music from oldies and classic rock to indie and R&B. They sing in and around Charlottesville, and up and down the East Coast and all across the U.S. (often wearing little black dresses), and have received awards and honors from internationally acclaimed organizations such as the Contemporary A Cappella Society, Varsity Vocals, and the Recorded A Cappella Review Board.
The Belles were founded in the fall of 1977 by Katherine Mitchell, a student at the University of Virginia. A woman who continues to love music, Katherine noticed then that there was no outlet for female a cappella at the university. The Virginia Gentlemen, the university's oldest all-male a cappella group had been established since 1953, so Katherine formed The Virginia Belles as the female counterpart to the Virginia Gentlemen. Initially the Belles were a select part of the Virginia Women's Chorus. The most talented members of the Women's Chorus were asked to audition for the Belles, singing both madrigal and popular music. Today, the Belles hold auditions every semester for every female student at the university to attend.
The Belles Today
The Belles today are a Contracted Independent Organization run through UVA's student council and are no longer a part of the Women's Chorus. The group is entirely student-run and affiliated with the UVA McIntire Department of Music. The Belles sing for almost every type of occasion, be it fundraising events on Grounds, private parties, weddings, sports events, concerts, or business meetings. The Belles are known for wearing their signature "little black dresses" to perform around the country.
The Belles tour the East Coast every year on a trip they call Fall Roll, visiting numerous other schools, colleges, and universities. Past trips have included visits with the Harvard Din & Tonics, The Yale Alley Cats, University of Pennsylvania Penchants, Vanderbilt Dodecaphonics, Davidson Generals, Clemson Tigeroar, University of Georgia Accidentals, and The Hill School in Pennsylvania, Darlington School in Georgia, etc.). The University of Virginia's Fall Break is always reserved for this excursion.
The Belles record and release a new CD biyearly. They have released numerous CDs throughout the years, garnering praise and national acclaim from fans and the a cappella community. Their repertoire today continues to be an eclectic mix of all different genres of music.
Up until 2007, the group spent their recording career with accomplished sound engineers Paul Brier and Chris Doermann, formerly of Virginia Arts Recording in Charlottesville, VA. However, with the release of Taking Every Detour, the group switched the production studios of both Brier and UVA alum James Gammon with James Gammon Productions. With their album acaBELLEa, James Gammon Productions took over the entire recording, editing, production, and mastering processes. James Gammon is an alumnus of The Academical Village People, an all-male a cappella group at the University of Virginia. His clients have won many national and international a cappella awards thanks to his success in the studio. The Belles' most recent album, "Good Morning Mr. Jefferson," was released in March 2011 and had a track featured on Voices Only 2011, "Love, Save the Empty."
Awards & Honors
|2014||Voices Only A Cappella Compilation CD, Vol. 1||"Do My Thang" (Tintinnabulation)|
|Best Of College A Cappella (BOCA)||"Fire" (Tintinnabulation)|
|Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards of CASA||Best Female Collegiate Album Nominee - "Tintinnabulation"|
|Best Female Collegiate Song Nominee - "Fire" (Tintinnabulation)|
|Best Female Collegiate Soloist Nominee - Jasleen Bawa "Winter Trees" (Tintinnabulation)|
|Best Female Collegiate Arrangement Nominee - Michelle Gahagan "Winter Trees" (Tintinnabulation)|
|2013||Voices Only A Cappella Compilation CD, Vol. 1||"Rumour Has It" (Tintinnabulation)|
|2011||Voices Only A Cappella Compilation CD, Vol. 2||"Love Save The Empty" (Good Morning Mr. Jefferson)|
|2010||Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards of CASA||Best Female Collegiate Album short list - (acaBELLEa)|
|2009||Recorded A Cappella Review Board||Song of the Year - "Big Girls Don't Cry" (acaBELLEa)|
|2003||The Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella||3rd place Regional Quarterfinals|
|2001||The Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella||2nd place Regional Semifinals|
|Vocal Percussion, My-Van Nguyen and Solo, Lindsay Wilkonson|
|2000||Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards of CASA||Best Female Collegiate Album First Runner Up - (Bellissima)|
|Best Female Collegiate Song - "Fast Car" (Bellissima)|
|Best Female Collegiate Arrangement Winner - Joelle Heise (Bellissima)|
|Best Female Collegiate Soloist Nominee - Heather Bates (Bellissima)|
|The Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella||3rd place Regional Quarterfinals|
- Tintinnabulation (2013)
- Good Morning Mr. Jefferson (2011)
- acaBELLEa (2009)
- Taking Every Detour (2007)
- Essentially Covered (2005)
- Sterling (2003)
- Aurora (2001)
- Bellissima (1999)
More A Cappella at UVA
- Virginia Gentlemen - all male
- Hullabahoos - all male
- The Academical Village People - all male
- Virginia Sil'hooettes - all female
- Hoos In Treble - all female
- The New Dominions - co-ed
- CHoosE - Christian
- Remix - hip - hop