Associate director of Choral Activities for LU Choral Arts, Sun Min Lee, introduces the choir on stage on Friday, March 29, 2019 in Baker Hall at Zoellner Arts Center. Lehigh University Choral Arts held a concert to celebrate the anniversary of the premier university choral program's 150-year presence on Lehigh's campus. (Chengming Weng/B&W Staff)

New student music group Belle Voici welcomes different music styles


Richard Lin, ‘23, has established a new student music group on campus this semester. 

The tentative name for this new group is Belle Voici. 

“The name is Italian for beautiful voices,” Lin said. “It’s really a reflection of what I want this to be. It’s not the focus of just one voice, it’s the combination of all of us that creates this truly magnificent thing.”

Lin said although the group is new, the idea has been brewing since his freshman year. 

Lin said he was motivated to start Belle Voici after realizing there was a gap in the styles of music that students at Lehigh are participating in.  

“Currently, the four acapella groups that we have are bound by what ICCA (International Championship of Collegiate A cappella) is and what the contemporary acappella style is,” Lin said. “That’s your ‘Glee’ and ‘Pitch Perfect,’ pop-style singing groups. What I wanted to do was fill in the gaps between something more traditional, like University Choir, and the very focused pop groups.”

Lin said he is not discrediting the work or styles of current acapella clubs, but rather broadening the scope of music opportunities for Lehigh students. 

The four acapella groups on campus are Off the Record and the Lehigh Melismatics – which are both co-ed, the all-boys group A Whole Step Up and the all-girls group the Lehigh Echoes. 

Lin said he is hesitating to call his new group an acapella group. He said the connotation of acappella is to perform without instruments and solely rely on vocals, however, he is open to having an instrument ensemble alongside their vocals if they can gather the talent.

Lin said that if he had to give Belle Voici a label, he would call it a “student-run music ensemble.” Lin said they will play big chords and have a big choral sound.

“With modern pop acapella, there’s a lot of focus around solo singing and a feature soloist being backed up by a larger ensemble of backup singers,” Lin said. “One of the things that I would like to focus on is having a more ensemble-focused sound, so there isn’t necessarily one solo singer. We’re really focused on harmonies and the combination of different voices to create a larger sound.”

Caleb Reed, ‘23, the outreach chair for Off the Record, said the audition process for acappella groups begins at the club fair, where interested students can sign up for an audition slot. From there, students audition with a song and may be asked to complete other musical tasks. There is also a second round of auditioning that involves singing with the groups to get a feel for how rehearsals are run. 

Lin said he finds the current audition process to be efficient and is interested in having Belle Voici be a part of it.

“Another group is definitely going to add something else to offer,” Reed said. “I think each group has something special. I feel like they’re just gonna add a whole new perspective because there’s going to be people who would definitely love to have that option.” 

Elora Marvasi, ‘22, business manager for the Lehigh Echoes, said that if Belle Voici wants to be one of the groups included in the audition process, they would most likely have to reach out to the other groups’ leaders and ask to be part of it. 

Marvasi said the establishment of a new group is an exciting, good thing. 

“I’m not too worried about it as far as competition or anything,” Marvasi said. “To my understanding, they’re specializing in something very different than what the rest of us are doing, so it’ll add something new to campus.”

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