Media Releases & Coverage – PG

Media Releases & Coverage – Pennsylvania Girlchoir

Welcome Melissa Keylock, first full-time PG Music Director!

Monday, July 24, 2017 : CY, PG

A message from Commonwealth Youthchoirs Artistic Director Steven M. Fisher

Melissa Keylock

Melissa Keylock
Newly appointed Pennsylvania Girlchoir Music Director

Since the inception of the Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG) in 2004, it has been a dream of mine for PG to have full-time musical leadership. I am elated to share with you the wonderful news that Ms. Melissa Keylock has been appointed its very first full-time Music Director. Melissa hopes to lead this remarkable group into a new era of even greater choral heights. Created in 2004 as the sister choir of Keystone State Boychoir, over the last 13 years PG has earned a stellar reputation as one of the leading ensembles of its kind in the country.

Melissa is an outstanding choral educator and conductor, with extensive expertise and experience with young singers of all levels, from elementary to high school age. Melissa is a shining star in the children’s choir and girlchoir universe, and we are very fortunate to have her join our organization. She is also a gem of a human being. The girls and young women of PG will love her, as has every group of singers who’ve had the opportunity to sing under her direction. (Wait until they experience her yoga choral warm ups!) To learn more about Melissa, you can read her bio here. You can read the press release here.

For the last six years, the Girlchoir has been fortunate to have a stellar conductor in PG Music Director Vincent Metallo. His impeccable musicianship and high choral standards helped Pennsylvania Girlchoir to blossom in incredible ways during his tenure. Of course, we would have loved to have Vincent as a full-time Music Director from the beginning of his tenure with PG. But his other professional obligations – including a full-time position at Princeton High School – precluded him from this extensive of a commitment with us.  And so we bid a fond au revoir to Vincent, who has served PG so well. He, like all of us, wishes Melissa the best. He agrees wholeheartedly with the need for a full-time Music Director, and looks forward to seeing PG grow in wonderful ways with the full-time leadership it deserves. In turn, we wish Vincent the very best and will always be grateful for the incredible musicianship and high choral standards he brought to PG. He’ll always be a part of the PG/CY family. In fact, not only are we going to honor Vincent in a very special way in the coming season, there are plans to have him back as a guest conductor with a very special work. Stay tuned!  

PG has an exciting season of performances ahead. In collaboration with the Keystone State Boychoir, it will perform Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in honor of the composer’s centennial. The CY organization will host Choirs ROCK! Concert, bringing together 10,000 singers for the largest choral concert in US history. To finish out the season, the brother – sister choirs will embark on a concert tour of South Africa where they will represent America at the World Choral Games.  

By virtue of her position as PG Music Director, Melissa will also serve as Assistant Artistic Director of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY), working closely with me to transform the lives of young people through the power of making music together. More than 700 singers, half of whom are underserved, take part in Commonwealth Youthchoirs six award-winning programs:  Keystone State Boychoir, Pennsylvania Girlchoir, Find Your Instrument!, Good Mornin’ Music, Garden State Girlchoir, and New Jersey Boychoir. For more information, visit

KSB and PG Singers Give Voice to Philadelphia

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 : CY, CY Sampler, KSB, PG

PG singers with representative from the MIT Media Lab

On Thursday, May 4, members of the Graduate and Motet choirs participated in the launch of a collaborative work by composer Tod Machover commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Voices.

MIT’s Media Lab was at the event, demonstrating the mobile recording app that will help create the piece. Calvin Wamser, a member of the Grad Choir, observed, “Philadelphia Voices is the future of music; it especially interests me because it takes technology that people often say is a waste of time (like cell phones) and combines it with the community building power of music.” Anyone in the city can take part by downloading the Philadelphia Voices app to submit their own recordings of the “voice of Philadelphia.” Learn more here from the Philadelphia Orchestra.

KSB singers with representative from MIT Media Lab

Members from the Philadelphia Orchestra — violinists Yiying Li and Daniel Han, violist Marvin Moon; cellist Gloria dePasquale,  and bassist David Fay ― performed works by Machover, and KSB and PG singers took part in improvisatory experiences. “It was an incredible experience to collaborate with the Philadelphia Orchestra and a composer as respected as Tod Machover,” noted KSB singer Matthew Flynn, “Especially when the piece is inspired by my home!”

Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir are proud to be part of the collaboration along with the choir from the High School of the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), Sister Cities Girlchoir, and Al Bustan Seeds of Culture and others. A period of discovery will include in-depth discussions, workshops, interactive music sessions, recording “safaris,” and vocal explorations, all of which will inform the final composition.

Sound, voice collection, and community workshops will continue through the fall of 2017. The world premiere of the finished composition takes place April 6-8, 2018, in Philadelphia, followed by its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall on April 10, 2018.


Powerful Performance of “The Children’s March”

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 : CY, CY Sampler, FYI, KSB, PG

The Children's MArch - animated slide show

On Tuesday, May 2, 2017, fifty-four years to the day after the Children’s’ Crusade of Birmingham, Alabama, began, hundreds of young singers from Find Your Instrument! Choir, Keystone State Boychoir, and Pennsylvania Girlchoir continued the message of heroism and hope when they performed The Children’s March at Girard College in Philadelphia. In the 1960s, the Children’s Crusade was a pivotal event in the Civil Rights Movement that exemplified bravery by hundreds of children who used non-violent protest in the face arrests and fire hoses. 

The Children’s March was written by two Philadelphia artists: composer Andrew Bleckner and internationally renowned storyteller and librettist Charlotte Blake Alston. A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) helped fund this performance of The Children’s March, which was originally commissioned by Singing City in 2013. Many remember news reports and TV footage of the heroic actions of hundreds of children in the face of police dogs, fire hoses and batons which brought national attention to the Civil Rights Movement and helped end segregation in Birmingham. The youngest marcher, who was jailed for a week, was only 9 years old.

Some of the singers performing at Girard College are the same age as the protesters were at the time. “The message of this piece is powerful,” said Steven Fisher, founder and artistic director of Keystone State Boychoir. He added, “We want our singers to know that they matter, that their voices matter, and that by singing together, they have the power to change the world.”

The Children’s March garnered public attention including articles in The Philadelphia Citizen, The Philadelphia Tribune, and coverage by 6ABC.


Let Freedom SING! Girlchoir National Convention unites 100 All-American Choristers from all 50 States together in Bipartisan Song

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 : CY, PG

Let Freedom SING! Girlchoir National Convention unites 100 All-American Choristers from all 50 States together in Bipartisan Song

July 24-29, 2016 in Philadelphia

Let Freedom Sing - Girlchoir National Convention logoThere’s a power-broker convention coming to Philadelphia in July but it’s not the one you’re thinking of. Yes, the Democratic National Convention will be held in Philadelphia in late July, but so will the “Let Freedom SING!” Girlchoir National Convention (LFS! GNC), a six-day choral festival celebrating the beauty, recognizing the power, and affirming the importance of girls singing together. When these 100 young women raise their collective, bipartisan voice in song, they will ensure that Philadelphia will be “City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love.”

“Let Freedom SING!” Girlchoir National Convention (LFS! GNC) is being hosted by Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG) and its parent organization, Commonwealth Youthchoirs, and is the brainchild of Founder and Artistic Director Steven Fisher. “The fact that these two conventions are taking place at the same time is no coincidence, said Fisher.  “In presidential election seasons, I – like most Americans – grow weary of partisan politics dividing us as a country. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to showcase choral music and its extraordinary ability to – quite literally – unite all 50 states.” But why a National Convention of girl singers? “Let’s just say,” Fisher adds, “I hedged my bets that Philadelphia would be a unique place to celebrate and encourage female empowerment in the arts. As a founder of an organization that aims to transform the lives of young people through the power of making music together, I’m keenly aware of the how choral music empowers young women in a unique way when they have the opportunity to make it surrounded by other girls, helping them to develop into strong, confident women who are at the ready to – literally – let their voices be heard.”

The six-day choral festival involves preparation in advance, as Singer Delegates must learn a repertoire of ten songs before they arrive. “It will be a magical choral moment at the opening of the Convention when these young women get to hear for the first time how 50 states singing together sounds,” Fisher predicts. “From that moment on, they will no longer be strangers, but friends in song, creating a nationwide network of choral sisterhood that will last a lifetime.”

“We are proud to send two of our dedicated and talented singers to add to the amazing nationwide power of girls’ voices,” said Danya Tiller, Artistic Director of Phoenix Girls Chorus, and Shelly Winemiller, Artistic Director for Bella Voce Young Women’s Choir, from Minnesota affirmed, “What a truly remarkable occasion for young women to gather in song to celebrate the gift of young women’s choral music.” South Carolina Singer Delegate Ashleigh Allen, from the Cane Bay Choirs, is thrilled to get the once in a lifetime opportunity, “I can’t wait to sing with so many other amazing singers from across the country!”

Singer Delegates must arrive in Philadelphia with all music already learned. The repertoire includes patriotic favorites “America the Beautiful” by Samuel A. Ward, “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key and “God Bless America”, by Irving Berlin, and stunning selections of “Child of My Heart” by Jacob Narverud/Bette Milleson James and “Still I Rise” by Rosephanye Powell, and many more. Each of the various pieces that make up the breathtaking repertoire will be led by dynamic conductors. The roster of LFS! GNC Conductors & Guests include:

  • Christine Bass, conductor of the Women’s Chorus of Temple University
  • Rollo Dilworth, Associate Professor of Music Education at Temple University and children and youth choir extraordinaire
  • Angie Johnson, artistic director of Young Naperville Singers‘ Young Women’s Choir, Bella Voce
  • Melissa Malvar Keylock, associate director of Princeton Girlchoir, and Director of Admissions of American Boychoir
  • Vincent Metallo, Pennsylvania Girlchoir music director and former music director of the American Boychoir
  • Danielle Molan, conductor of Pennsylvania Girlchoir‘s Scholas and one of the most exciting, up and coming conductors of Girlchoirs.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Parker, Pennsylvania Girlchoir conductor and associate professor of music at Temple University.
  • Andrea Ramsey, one of the most sought after women choral conductors, composers, and clinicians.

In addition to a culminating “Let Freedom SING!” Concert on July 27 in “The Castle” at Arcadia University, there will be other “pop-up” performance opportunities at historic sites throughout Philadelphia. DNC delegates taking in the city should not be surprised if they suddenly have a soundtrack to go along with their cheesesteak experience in South Philly or their Rocky experience on the Art Museum steps.

It won’t be all singing. Peer connections are a big part of the experience, according to Fisher. “In what is being called ‘choral caucuses,’ the young women will have an opportunity to explore all the ways that unite them – no matter what state from which they hail or their walk of life. The caucuses will also spotlight careers for women conductors and composers, led by leading women composers. Participants will also take part in civic activities around a town that can rightfully claim to be “the birthplace of America.”  And, of course, with teenagers there will be the all-important social time. The high school tenors and basses of the Keystone State Boychoir (KSB), PG’s brother-choir, will be invited to a dance and social on the Arcadia University campus. KSB, and its now famous soloist Bobby Hill, recently drew the world’s attention when they, alongside the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, sang for Pope Francis in Philadelphia this past September.


About “Let Freedom SING!” Girlchoir National Convention

The “Let Freedom SING!” Girlchoir National Convention (LFS! GNC) is a six-day choral festival that will bring together two young women “Singer Delegates” from each of the 50 states in the Union to celebrate the beauty, recognize the power, and affirm the importance of girls singing together. The GNC will be held Sunday, July 24-Friday, July 29, 2016, in Philadelphia. and is hosted by Pennsylvania Girlchoir and its parent organization Commonwealth Youthchoirs.

Photo Opportunities during all events are available upon request – for more Press information, please visit the LFS/NGC website

One Book, One Philly inspires local choirs in Northwest Philly

Sunday, February 28, 2016 : CY, FYI, KSB, PG

The Good Raised Up!

Bastiaan Slabbers, Newsworks

WHYY’s Newsworks on February 25, 2016 reported: “The Keystone State Boychoir, Pennsylvania Girlchoir, and choirs from several local schools performed ‘The Good Raised Up!,’ at the Johnson House in Germantown last week. The performance is an original work about the Underground Railroad composed by jazz musician John Blake. It is part of The Free Library’s One Book, One Philadelphia celebration this year.

See Newsworks‘ Bastiaan Slabbers’ photo essay on the Newsworks  site.

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