A handful of young women have dedicated their vocal talent to new ensemble Belles Canto.


Created by voice teacher Diane Haslam, the group currently consists of eight young women ages 14 to 18 who have been signing together since September. Each singer auditioned to become part of the group and began with some previous training in music.


“The majority of girls in the group take voice lessons from Ms. Haslam,” said Belles Canto member Clare Henry. “A lot of us love to sing. It’s a good way to learn new music and make good friends.”


The group sings in two-, three- and four-parts, and sing both classical and lighter music, according to Haslam.


“The girls are using their experience in the ensemble to develop their musical skills, learn more about teamwork and personal responsibility, having fun and making some beautiful music together,” Haslam said.


Belles Canto got their first taste of performing together publicly during the City of Aiken Christmas tree lighting and are coming together again for several more concerts. The group will be performing at Anchor Health and Rehabilitation on Sunday and are preparing a holiday program, Sing a Glad Noel!, at the Aiken County Historical Museum on Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. There will be ensemble numbers, solos, duets and trios accompanied by Pat Adams on piano.


The public is welcome to attend for $5. The program is free for students and those younger than 18.


Belles Canto member Maddie Anderson said she feels audiences enjoy hearing young people keep music relevant through singing.


“This is going to be a fun season,” said Julie Pretorius.


Haslam envisions the group expanding to 16 to 20 girls in the future and performing regularly in retirement communities as well as in regular community concerts.