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Fair Verona: a standout all-girl band at U.Va.

The band talks representation, inspiration and the supportive University music scene

<p>While the members said they have gained inspiration from other bands they see play at the University, they also said there is a noticeable gap in the representation of women as performers in the larger University arts scene.</p>

While the members said they have gained inspiration from other bands they see play at the University, they also said there is a noticeable gap in the representation of women as performers in the larger University arts scene.

Among a plethora of student bands, from fraternity bands to cover bands, one made entirely of female musicians sets itself apart from the rest, Fair Verona. Fairly new to the Charlottesville band scene, the only all-girl band at the University — according to Emma Gorman, drummer and fourth-year College student — consists of four members who are united by their love of indie pop/rock, performing and the University’s music scene. 

The band was born during the Fall 2023 semester when Isabel Xiao, bassist and second-year College student, and Megan Clancy, former vocalist and third-year College student, had the idea to start an all-girl band. They contacted Gorman, who said joining the group was an immediate yes. 

“I was in [an all-girl band] in high school and loved it and missed it. So as soon as I got that text message, I was like, ‘Absolutely,’” Gorman said.

Fair Verona is currently made up of Xiao, Gorman, Whitney Edgerly, electric guitarist and fourth-year College student and Carina Velocci, vocalist and third-year College student. While the girls did not join musical forces until last semester, the band’s members already knew of each other from their respective time spent in the University’s music scene as performers in other bands and as spectators at house shows — musical concerts usually presented in a basement or a backyard. 

While the members said they have gained inspiration from other bands they see play at the University, they also said there is a noticeable gap in the representation of women as performers in the larger University arts scene. Gorman described an eye-opening experience she had just two years ago at a house show where she noticed that out of 12 featured performers, there was only one woman. 

Because the University’s music scene is such a collaborative community, they said they hope to inspire others and be an inspiration for aspiring girl bands and women performers.

Gorman described some qualms with the identifier of a “girl band.” She noted that the term can serve to celebrate novelty where there should, in theory, be none. 

“We exist as a girl band for a reason. But also, a group of men can just be in a band, and it's not a guy band … It's just a band,” Gorman said. 

Despite these struggles, Fair Verona said they’re grateful to be able to continue such a rich, storied and crucial history of women musicians. One of the ways that the group does this is by only performing music that features female artists, especially music from all-girl bands, at their gigs. The group prefers to play indie pop or rock and says they try to feature newer female artists whose work might have been overlooked by other bands in the current University music scene, like Lana Del Rey or Phoebe Bridgers. 

Their recent set lists have included Mitski, The Runaways, Blondie and Boygenius. The band has also shared that fans can expect songs by Bikini Kill, beabadoobee, Sir Chloe and No Doubt in their upcoming shows. 

“Coming together to play music by women is just really cool to do,” Velocci said. “It's just so much fun, and it's like an energy that wasn't there.”

In addition to being able to pay homage to the female artists that have come before them, the band said they also enjoy playing for the University community because of how supportive it is. The band specifically highlighted Indieheads and University Records when describing the uplifting nature of the music community here at the University. The two on-Grounds student groups frequently set up house shows and create opportunities for students to perform in order to support the tight-knit student music scene.

“You get to know people, and then you join bands and then you go support your friends,” Edgerly said. “It’s sort of like this cycle a little bit. Everybody knows everybody in some form or another.”

The band highlighted how this cycle of support and community through music is beneficial to everyone involved. They explained how being a spectator has helped them hone their craft as performers. 

“It is a huge inspiration and help to watch other people perform because it shows you what works and what you want to emulate,” Velocci said.

Edgerly agreed, sharing that the group is happy to be part of a community with such immense talent. 

“I find it so inspiring to be in a population of people who are so musical. You get to see other people work on their craft, have so much fun together and see these friendships form,” Edgerly said.

Fair Verona plans to play at more house shows this semester, supporting and participating in the University’s thriving live music community while representing music by women. Their next Indieheads show is set to take place March 16. Updates, upcoming shows and performances can be found on their Instagram, @fairveronaband

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