Encyclopedia of UNCG History

An online resource for exploring the history of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Darlinettes with their backing band, the Rhythmettes
Darlinettes with their backing band, the Rhythmettes

The Darlinettes and their four-member vocal group, The Rhythmettes, were a big band consisting of Woman’s College students, formed in 1942.

Many of the Darlinettes’ and Rhythmettes’ performances took place at Woman’s College. They played many of the formal dances and “soldier dances” held on campus during and immediately after WWII. But the group was not confined to the WC campus. They played shows at the USO Club on North Elm Street, and they entertained troops stationed at the Army Air Corps’ Overseas Replacement Depot in Greensboro. In 1946, they traveled to Asheville to provide entertainment at the 1st annual conference of the 191st District of Rotary International. Cleveland Thayer, General Chairman of the Distrct, wrote to offer his personal thanks to the Darlinettes for “the fine work of your orchestra.”

Darlinettes practicing in the Brown Music Building
Darlinettes practicing in the Brown Music Building

The founding leader of the Darlinettes and Rhythmettes was Cherry Folger, who also played trumpet. She formed the Darlinettes soon after arriving at WC in 1942 (she transferred after spending her first two years of college at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester).¬†When Folger graduated in 1944, Doris Funderburk took over the baton for the Darlinettes. Under Funderburk’s leadership, the Darlinettes continued their busy performing schedule. But they also found time to record an album, titled Autumn Serenade. The 78 rpm records were made May 26, 1946, at the Vic Smith Recording Service in Greensboro. They featured 10 songs, including an original piece written and orchestrated by Funderburk called “You Don’t Get it From Books.”

The group continued performing, with membership swapping out with each graduation, through the early 1950s.