Slideshow: Beyoncé's Original All-Female Band Reunites After 10 Years

Belinda Huang
March 17, 2017
Beyonce's original all-female band take the stage.
The 4 lead singers of the show perform together.
Faculty Tia Fuller plays a saxophone solo.
Rie Tsuji plays the keytar.
Lead singer and background dancers perform "Get Me Bodied."
Crystal Torres plays trumpet.
Niya Norwood sings "If I Were a Boy."
Background dancers line up in a row.
Crissy Collins sings "If I Were a Boy" with Niya Norwood."
The lead singer performs "Single Ladies."
Beyoncé’s original all-female band kicks off a 10-year anniversary concert with a high-energy performance of “Déjà Vu.”
Students Alexis Newman, Amber Kiner, Pamela Robles, and Shania Wilcox front the concert as the lead singers, working the crowd with powerful vocals and signature Beyoncé dance moves.
“The lesson in [the life stories of Beyoncé’s original all-female band] is that if something is for you, it’s for you, especially if you have a big picture and a crystallized vision for yourself,” said ensemble professor Tia Fuller. “Step out in faith and not fear.”
Alumna Rie Tsuji B.M. ’02 returns to the Berklee Performance Center stage, playing with passion and joy.
Student Amber Kiner poses for the “cameras” in a dynamic rendition of “Get Me Bodied.”
“Once you start getting opportunities, a lot of times, our greatest fear is not failing. Our greatest fear is succeeding beyond our wildest dreams,” says Crystal Torres, trumpeter for Beyoncé’s original all-female band.
Vocal director and student Niya Norwood demonstrates her impressive range and brings the audience to its collective feet with a powerful version of “If I Were a Boy.”
The Berklee Signature Series concert featured lively choreography performed by Boston Conservatory at Berklee student dancers.
“For every dream and everything that you do, yes, there are going to be obstacles. Yes, there are going to be people that will tear you down. Yes, there are going to be nonbelievers,” says Crissy Collins, one of Beyoncé’s original backup singers. “But you have to believe in yourself and lift up your head and say, ‘God, as long as I got you, I’m going to make it.’”
Ebony Williams B.F.A. ’05, best known as one of the dancers in the music video for Beyoncé’s "Single Ladies," performs the iconic dance moves on stage, doubling as the choreographer for the sold-out show.
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson

On March 2, the Berklee Performance Center buzzed with excitement and energy as the original members of Beyoncé’s all-female band commanded the stage, reuniting to play a sold-out 10-year anniversary concert, joined by many Berklee student musicians, vocalists, and Boston Conservatory at Berklee dancers.

Organized by Tia Fuller, saxophonist in Beyoncé’s original band and professor in the Ensemble Department, the show proved to be the tangible reality of her dream to bring together both the band members and the students in one epic production. The two-hour show’s set list featured many of Queen Bey’s classic hits, such as "Crazy in Love," "If I Were a Boy," "Run the World (Girls)," and "Single Ladies," featuring original choreography from Boston Conservatory at Berklee contemporary dance alumna Ebony Williams B.F.A. '05, as well as performances by Berklee alumna Rie Tsuji B.M. '02 and Nikki Glaspie '05.

Watch Beyoncé's original all-female band perform "Single Ladies" with students from Berklee:

The process of putting together the production was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all the student singers, musicians, and dancers involved, who were able to rehearse and learn firsthand from the original band members prior to the show. The experience also included a clinic for students the day before the concert in which each member of the band shared how she became a part of Beyoncé’s group, and gave advice on having faith, staying true to your artistry, and fighting for your dreams.

"I went [to Beyoncé's audition], and I had 50 bucks in my pocket," said drummer Glaspie. "I always say this: high risk, high reward. I stepped out on faith because I really had nothing in sight, but there's a greater power at work."

"As far as letting everyone know that you're transitioning from being a musician to becoming an artist, you have to make people believe in you, and you have to believe in yourself first because you're the hardest person to convince," said keyboard player Brittani Washington. "You have to own yourself."

Watch Beyoncé's original all-female band perform "Crazy in Love" with students from Berklee:

Watch Ebony Williams B.F.A. '05 discuss Beyoncé's "Formation" choreography: