The Virginia Belles
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The Belles performing at The Virginia Gentlemen's Family Weekend Concert
|Origin||University of Virginia|
|Labels||A Cappella Records|
|Members||Class of 2016
Class of 2017
Class of 2018
Class of 2019
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 members with their expected graduation years are:
- Emily Avery ('16)
- Jasleen Bawa ('16)
- Alison Lenert ('16)
- Callie Wright ('16)
- Christine Alexander ('17)
- Kristen Folkerts ('17)
- Mary Moore ('17)
- Arden Johnson ('18)
- Cat Wyatt ('18)
- Doris Farje ('18)
- Rose Zilla-Ba ('18)
- Beth Cashin ('19)
- Maddie Conroy ('19)
- Monica Gonzalez ('19)
- Nikki Pope ('19)
- Jeanette Yan ('19)
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 Princeton Footnotes, 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, "Right Hook," was released in August 2015 and, within a month of its release, has already been featured on Voices Only.
|2016||Right Hook||Best Female Collegiate Album||Nominated|
|Jasleen Bawa for "Team" (Right Hook)||Best Female Collegiate Soloist||Nominated|
|Brianna Meese, Michelle Gahagan for "Don't Wake Me Up" (Right Hook)||Best Female Collegiate Arrangement||Nominated|
|2014||Tintinnabulation||Best Female Collegiate Album||Nominated|
|"Fire" (Tintinnabulation)||Best Female Collegiate Song||Nominated|
|Jasleen Bawa for "Winter Trees" (Tintinnabulation)||Best Female Collegiate Soloist||Nominated|
|Michelle Gahagan for "Winter Trees" (Tintinnabulation)||Best Female Collegiate Arrangement||Nominated|
|2012||"Love, Save the Empty" (Good Morning, Mr. Jefferson)||Best Female Collegiate Song||Nominated|
|2010||acaBELLEa||Best Female Collegiate Album||Nominated|
|2002||Aurora||Best Female Collegiate Album (Runner Up)||Won|
|2000||Bellissima||Best Female Collegiate Album (Runner Up)||Won|
|"Fast Car" (Bellissima)||Best Female Collegiate Song||Nominated|
|Heather Bates for (Bellissima)||Best Female Collegiate Soloist||Nominated|
|Joelle Heise for (Bellissima)||Best Female Collegiate Arrangement||Won|
|2009||"Big Girls Don’t Cry" (acaBELLEa)||2009 Song of the Year||Won|
Selection for "Best Of" Compilation Albums
|2014||"Fire" (Tintinnabulation)||BOCA 2014: Best of College A Cappella||Won|
|2015||"Goodness Gracious" (Right Hook)||Voices Only 2015, Vol. 2||Won|
|2014||"Do My Thing" (Tintinnabulation)||Voices Only 2014, Vol. 1||Won|
|2013||"Rumour Has It" (Tintinnabulation)||Voices Only 2013, Vol. 1||Won|
|2011||"Love, Save the Empty" (Good Morning, Mr. Jefferson)||Voices Only 2011, Vol. 2||Won|
A Cappella Competitions
|2003||Virginia Belles||ICCA Quarter-Finals—3rd Place||Won|
|2001||Virginia Belles||ICCA Semi-Finals—2nd Place||Won|
|My-Van Nguyen||Outstanding Vocal Percussion||Won|
|Lindsay Wilkonson||Outstanding Soloist||Nominated|
|2000||Virginia Belles||ICCA Quarter-Finals—3rd Place||Won|
- Right Hook (2015)
- Five - EP (2015)
- 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
- "Virginia Women's Chorus comes back". The Cavalier Daily. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- "CIO Spotlight: The Virginia Belles". The Cavalier Daily. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- "Current Repertoire". The Virginia Belles. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- "Upcoming Events". The Virginia Belles. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- "Aca-awesome Wahoos". The Cavalier Daily. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- "Virginia Belles Constitution". "@UVA". Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- "Virginia Belles". "@UVA". Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- "Affiliated Ensembles and Organizations". UVA McIntire Department of Music. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- "The Belles". The Virginia Belles' own web site.
- "Virginia Belles will sing works from new album during 'Off to the Races' a cappella concert". C'ville Pulse. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- "Voices Only 2015". Voices Only. Retrieved 1 September 2015.