Staff & Board of Directors
Leah Givelber, Interim Executive Director
Leah Givelber is an accomplished performer and violin teacher. Leah began playing violin at the age of 4 and has degrees from the Eastman School of Music and New England Conservatory. She has brought her love of the violin and classical music to students as a teacher for the past two decades. Leah’s goal as a teacher is to help her students find beauty in music, life and in themselves through mastery of the violin.
As a performer Leah can be found playing with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Opera and the Pittsburgh Symphony. She is also a long term member of the Academy String Ensemble, performing many string quartet performances in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas.
Leah’s work on the Pittsburgh Girls Choir administrative team allows her to advance her belief in the arts as a powerful tool for both performers and audiences.
Kathryn Barnard, Artistic Director & Founder
Kathryn Barnard is a pioneering figure in children’s choral music education in western Pennsylvania. She studied at Concordia College New York, where she received degrees in Church Music and Piano Performance, earned the degree of Master of Music from the University of Texas, and has studied vocal development at Westminster Choir College and the Eastman School of Music. Prior to founding PGC, she taught at the Peabody Preparatory School, and has conducted numerous children’s, youth and adult ensembles in Baltimore, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh. Ms. Barnard leads Melodia, Concentio, Chamber, and Via choirs, supervises all outreach and education classes, and has provided inspired artistic and organizational leadership to PGC (and its earlier incarnations) for sixteen years. Apart from her work with PGC, she mentors young choral teachers. A life time student, Kathryn studies conducting with Mark Anderson and Conversational Solfege with John Feierabend.
Emily Tiberi, Women of Song Director
Emily Tiberi, soprano, is a passionate singer, voice teacher, and choral conductor. She has sung numerous operatic roles (Giunia, Lucio Silla; Marie, Marie Begins; Noémie, Cendrillon; Mother, Avow; First Lady, Die Zauberflöte; Nella, Gianni Schicchi; Madame Silberklang, The Impresario; Lisette, La Rondine; Berta, I barbiere di Siviglia). Emily has premiered two roles: Princess Peach in I fratelli Mario, a comedic opera about Mario Bros., and Angela in Evenings in Quarantine: The Zombie Opera. She has placed first in both the state and regional NATS competitions. Emily is also an accomplished choral singer, singing regularly with the Philadelphia Symphonic Orchestra Chorus, regularly under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and twice as a Resident Chorister at Spoleto Festival USA. She is a graduate of Westminster Choir College, where she won the Westminster Voice Awards scholarship competition and served as the graduate assistant in the Presser Voice Lab. Emily has served as an Adjunct Professor of voice at Rowan University, as well as a choral conductor and educator for the Pittsburgh Girls Choir (PGC) and PGC’s Women of Song. She is thrilled to return to conduct Women of Song and work with the girls in Harmonia.
Samantha Smith, Melodia and Harmonia Director
Melissa Tickner, Via Assistant
Melissa Tickner is a Pittsburgh native and avid choral music enthusiast. She studied music at Community College of Allegheny County. Melissa, being a charter member of the Pittsburgh Girls Choir (formerly Oakland Girls Choir), has worked with Kathryn Barnard for 15 years and very passionately believes in Kathryn’s mission for education and community for young girls. Melissa directs the Children’s Choir at Church of the Ascension, assists Kathryn in teaching the Pittsburgh Girls Choir, sings in a local a Capella group, and enjoys making music all the time and everywhere.
Charise Webster, Melodia, Harmonia, Concentio and Chamber Choir Assistant
Charise Webster began studying music at the age of five and has taught music to children of all ages for the past thirty years. In high school, she studied piano, solfège, and theory at the Carnegie Mellon Music Preparatory School under Mineko Avery and Nancy Galbraith. Following completion of a Bachelor of Ministry degree in Music Education, she directed the special music program at her church in California and taught numerous college classes including music theory, sight singing & rhythm, and music history. She has trained various choral and small vocal groups of all ages and especially enjoys arranging. Currently she teaches private piano, coordinates the special music at her church, and directs a children and teen choir also at her church. Charise has a special passion for teaching youth of all ages how to sight-sing well and is thrilled to be joining the PGC team.
PGC Board of Directors
Mariana Whitmer, Board Chair
Craig Denison, Vice President
Timothy Nye, Treasurer
John Barnard, Secretary
Dr. Paula Clemens