The band Girl Named Tom continued their run on The Voice Tuesday, advancing to the final eight. The sibling trio — made up of two Goshen College alumni, Josh and Caleb Liechty, and their sister, Bekah Liechty — has recently seen their fan base skyrocket on a national scale. Goshen College has become a microcosm of the craze, as many people in the Goshen community have become fans in the past few months.Announcements in the Communicator advertise The Voice watch parties: “Good snacks provided!” Girl Named Tom stickers adorn water bottles and laptops. Girl Named Tom-branded shirts and crewnecks protect students from the blustery fall winds as they head off to class.
On Monday, Girl Named Tom performed their rendition of Coldplay’s popular song, “Viva la Vida.” The trio bounced around on stage, banged on drums and threw in tight harmonies to the arrangement.
“I feel like … this was the biggest challenge for any artist I’ve heard tonight,” Kelly Clarkson said of their performance. “It was so amazing to see your energy and y’all flying around the stage.”
“You’re such a cool family group,” John Legend said. “Seeing you together having fun, being musicians, is so much fun for us to watch. I love Girl Named Tom, everybody!”
The members of Girl Named Tom may appear distant or larger than life when they perform on national TV, but their connections back to Goshen College are as strong as ever. The footage preceding their performance on Monday featured several photos of Caleb and Josh Liechty at Goshen College, as they talked about their background in biochemistry.
Although Josh and Caleb Liechty graduated several years ago (class of ‘19 and ‘18 respectively), there are still a few students who remember being on campus with them. Joel Yoder, a senior chemistry major, remembers singing in choir with Josh Liechty.
“[Josh] was a super kind, nice fellow, incredibly musically talented,” Yoder said. “Just really easy to talk to, a super easy-going guy.”
For certain people, seeing them go from a friend and fellow student to a performer on a national stage could be a weird transition. In the case of Josh, however, it isn’t as strange as one might expect.
“It’s not surprising because of how skilled he and his family are,” Yoder said. “They’re talented enough that they deserve it.”
For other students, Girl Named Tom is a new discovery. The band’s recent concert at Sauder Concert Hall opened a lot of students’ eyes to the group.
However, not all students were recently introduced to the trio. Madeline Bollinger, a first year music major, remembers seeing Girl Named Tom for the first time a few years ago.
“In high school, I went to Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp and Girl Named Tom did the worship music,” Bollinger said. “They did a concert of their own music and I went with some friends and we were like, ‘Wait, this is really good.’”
Bollinger ended up listening to their music during the 12-hour car ride home. “I just remember feeling like this is a group that I want to keep listening to.”
Due to the nature of Goshen College, it’s not surprising that the trio has some relatives on campus. Dan Liechty, the college’s director of alumni relations, is cousins with the sibling’s father.
“It’s been so fun to share the excitement of their run to the top 10 with all those on campus who knew them,” Dan Liechty said. “We are all in support of them.”
Bekah Liechty, the youngest, was accepted into Goshen College before she decided to bypass college and go on tour. While the overwhelming response has been supportive, there is a little bit of good-natured animosity about her decision.
“I wish Bekah was here in school,” Dan Liechty said. “But I also know that she and her brothers are living their dream.”
Whether Girl Named Tom gets knocked out in the next round, or goes on to win it all, the Goshen community will be supportive, and excited about their music.
“They had an opportunity,” Yoder said. “They took it, and they deserve every bit of where they are right now.”