Harkening the Furman Belles

By: KaFeatured imageteBaule, ContributingWriter

We haveall been acquainted with the melodious presence of the FUtones, Bell Tower Boys and other musical groups on campus. Now a new organization has stepped onto the campus: an all-women’s a cappella group ready to show that women are just as capable as men at creating beautiful harmonies and casting spells on audiences.

The Furman Belles, led by the “Core Four,” otherwise known as Belles President Emily Lange, Vice President and Music Director Elise Etherton, Public Relations Manager and Secretary Hannah Cox, and Treasurer Sandy Sharis, are a newly formed ensemble of Furman women passionate about music and the ability to collaborate with fellow music-minded students.

“Truly, I have been nurturing the idea since my freshmen year. I have always been very good friends with the music directors of the Bell Tower Boys. I have been observing their operations for the past year and found what made a successful group. I knew the people who would make it possible, got in contact with them, and everything fell into place,” Lange said.

As for the inspiration for the name “The Belles,” Lange said it was the result of brainstorming via text with co-founder Etherton, and the name occurred to them in a moment of serendipity.

“I approached Elise Etherton last spring to help me begin this group. During the summer, she texted me asking what we should name the group. We came up with several names, ranging from the ‘Swan Lake Darlings’ to the ‘Furman Pitches.’ Elise finally texted me ‘the Furman Bells’ and I responded ‘the Furman Belles!’ Thus came the name. It’s punny, of course, because we’re ‘southern belles’ and [because of] the ‘Bell’ Tower,” said Lange.

The Belles plan to sing arrangements of pop songs as well as classical choral pieces. A Christmas concert with the Bell Tower Boys is a possibility, and the Belles are keen on cooperating with other a cappella groups while maintaining their unique identity as the first all-female a cappella group at Furman.

In the past, “The FUtones was the only a cappella group a girl could audition for, which meant very few women could participate in an a cappella group on campus. The men on campus have the opportunity to audition for two groups, the Bell Tower Boys and the FUtones. We wanted more opportunities for women’s a cappella on campus, and the more women we get singing, the better!” Sharis said.

Lange agreed. “[With] the feedback and support the Bell Tower Boys and FUtones receive, it seemed time for an all-female group to come along for women to shine.”

With a name that beautifully conveys the Belles’ purpose and new members already selected for the 2014-15 academic year, it seems the Belles stand in the ideal position to begin their debut year, though a few challenges may lie ahead.

“The hardest part is almost behind us in getting the group created, but the next obstacle will be preparing the group for performance and getting our name out to the communityto perform. I hope that with the help of the student body and the Greenville community, we will be able to get this group in full swing. We have to take into consideration that we are students and are here to study, therefore time management and organization are of great importance to keep this group running smoothly and successfully,” Lange said.

The Belles hope to perform at local gigs and Greek philanthropy events. Contact them via email (thefurmanbelles@gmail.com) if you would like them to perform at your event. They can also be found on various social media outlets including Facebook: (Facebook.com/theFurmanBelles) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/theFurmanBelles).

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