• Lillie Burke

Sister act wows with a capella anthem

As the scoreboard buzzes at zero before a Belmont Bruins basketball game, three small girls walk onto the Curb Event Center court between two rows of towering athletes.

Leaning into one microphone, they begin to harmonize. Their voices combine like only the most experienced groups can do for the first few bars of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

By the end of the anthem, the Agee sisters have brought the Curb Event Center’s captivated crowd into raucous applause.

The three sisters, great-nieces to men’s basketball coach Rick Byrd, have sung at Belmont basketball games for several years. For Morgan, 15, Megan, 13, and Madison, 12, singing at Belmont games is a fun and exciting way to show their Bruin pride.

Music has been a part of the girls’ lives from a very young age. Picking up inspiration from Southern gospel groups like The Ruppe Sisters and The Ball Brothers, the trio has perfected their style and harmonies in a way that can’t be taught, their mother, Stephanie, said.

“The girls have a God-given talent for singing,” she said.

Morgan, Megan and Madison, along with their parents and two younger brothers, have been singing together at events throughout the state for years.

With their passion for music, the girls began competing in singing competitions across the South, representing their school, Faith Trinity Academy, where their parents are the directors of the music department.

Through these competitions, the girls came to learn the national anthem. With tireless practice, they were able to put together an impressive rendition in just a few days. Over time, they have developed three unique stylings of the song.

The girls have performed at countless schools and events since then. In 2011, they sang for the Nashville Law Enforcement Challenge and “A Season to Remember,” a Christmas event hosted by Gov. Bill Haslam at the Tennessee State Capitol.

Despite performing in front of thousands of people, the girls insist that they don’t get nervous.

“Actually, small crowds make us more nervous,” Morgan said. “Big crowds are just exciting.”

The sisters have showcased their talent for numerous crowds, but singing at Belmont games is one of their favorite performances. Whether they are at the Curb or watching online from home, the Agees keep up with the Bruins, each supporting favorite players. And they all agree they could see themselves as future Belmont students.

“Battle of the Boulevard was by far the most fun event we’ve ever sang at,” Megan said. “We love singing here!”

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