Members of the Goshen College community near and far watched last Monday as Girl Named Tom, a sibling band featuring two GC grads, sang for renowned musicians on NBC’s The Voice.After winning the favor of all four judges, the group will continue to perform on the 21st season of the popular music competition show under the tutelage of multiple Grammy award-winner Kelly Clarkson. The show’s other judges are John Legend, Blake Shelton and Ariana Grande.
Girl Named Tom is a sibling band with three members: Caleb, Joshua and Bekah Liechty from Pettisville, OH. The two oldest are graduates of Goshen College.
Joshua and Caleb Liechty, who both majored in biochemistry at GC, started touring with Bekah Liechty when she graduated from high school in 2019. During their time at GC, Caleb and Joshua were very involved in the music department, despite not being music majors.
“I’ve taught a lot of people at Goshen College,” said Matthew Hill, chair of the Goshen College music department. “I’ve very rarely met someone with the type of maturity that I see in this family.”
Caleb Liechty studied piano extensively under Hill, while Joshua Liechty spent years studying voice with Scott Hochstetler, taking voice lessons and singing in choirs.
“I learned so much at Goshen through music,” Joshua Liechty said. “Every other week I was on some stage in some capacity … Scott was always pushing us to perform.”
Music was a big part of the Liechty siblings’ life growing up.
“Our parents surrounded us with music from day one,” Bekah Liechty said. “We all took piano and vocal lessons growing up … [but] we really didn’t think about ever singing together or being a band.”
In the spring of 2019 that changed. Bekah Liechty graduated from Pettisville High School and Joshua Liechty from Goshen College. With a push from their mother, they teamed up with Caleb Liechty, class of ‘18, and started making music together.
“It was kind of just a transition moment for all of us in our careers,” Bekah Liechty said.
The siblings headed out across the country playing in whatever venues they could find. Bars, elementary schools, retirement homes and backyards all became stages for the newly full-time musicians.
Although the group only planned to tour for a year, they decided to continue after building a large fan base and repertoire.
In January of 2021, they got an email from their voice coach, urging them to participate in the last call for The Voice auditions. They sent in an audition tape; NBC responded quickly. Videos, paperwork and interviews filled up the next four months before NBC decided to fly them out to Los Angeles.
“We never envisioned ourselves on reality TV,” Joshua said. “It’s a really cool culture they have, really supportive.”
In the blind audition, which aired on Sept. 20, the Liechtys wowed the judges by singing an arrangement of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s 1969 song, “Helplessly Hoping.”
“We chose ‘Helplessly Hoping’ because of the three-part harmony throughout,” Caleb Liechty said. “We can be as smooth and buttery as we love to be with our sibling harmony. And we love bringing oldies from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s to our generation of listeners, because it’s new for us and we love it and respect it and we want people to love it from our generation.”
Kelly Clarkson hit her “I WANT YOU” button six seconds into the song, which alleviated some stress for the performers.
“We were all nervous the entire time but after she turned, it was like, ‘Okay, we’re going to the next round, this past month hasn’t been for nothing,’” Joshua Liechty said. “We just have to finish the song and not freeze up.”
John Legend was the second to turn, and although the other two judges took a little longer, they eventually turned as well.
“I was just over the moon that we had chairs at all,” Bekah Liechty said. “I wasn’t going for the four.”
Caleb Liechty had a different attitude.
“I was trying to will the other two chairs to turn,” he said. “I knew that there were two chairs left and I was just like, ‘Come on, we gotta convince them!’”
Girl Named Tom will perform in Sauder Concert Hall on Friday in front of a sold-out audience. For all three of them, this is a return home.
“It’s a dream come true,” Caleb said. “It’s a dream we had for the next two to three years, to sell out Sauder, so for it to happen now is just surreal.”
After performing in Goshen, Girl Named Tom will continue their run on The Voice. New episodes air Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm EST. Their music is available on Spotify and Apple Music.