ABOVE PHOTO: Steven Fisher
There’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 insure 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 have a decidedly ‘girl power’ tone to it. 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 surround 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.” Danya Tiller, Artistic Director of Phoenix Girls Chorus is thrilled to represent her state, “we are proud to send two of our dedicated and talented singers to add to the amazing nationwide power of girls’ voices,” said, 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, The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America, 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“LetFreedomSING!” 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, along side the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, sang for Pope Francis in Philadelphia this past September.
Leave a Comment