Singing is the first way in which we engage with the world. Babies sing before they speak! When children develop their singing voice, they lay the foundation for a life time of music making. Singing provides the foundation for other musical study — vocal, instrumental, or dance. It releases endorphins and improves mood. It is something that can be done alone or together. Singing is a skill that can be taken anywhere and used for your whole life.
Don’t believe us? Check these out:
- Singing Changes Your Brain
- Can singing in a choir make me healthier?
- How singing together changes the brain
Why girls (or women) only?
At PGC, we love working with girls and young women. The artistic, intellectual, social, and emotional needs are more successfully met in a girls’ only environment. Through our big sister/little sister program as well as in many other ways, leadership skills are developed.
Because girls do not have to deal with a drastic voice change in adolescence, their musical needs are different than boys and more easily met in a girls’ only environment. The girls achieve a high level of vocal and artistic skill, which enables them to tackle the world of women’s choir music.
Where and when are the practices?
Rehearsals for all girlchoirs take place at Shadyside Presbyterian Church.
- Melodia: Tuesdays, 4:30pm – 5:45pm
- Harmonia: Tuesdays, 6:00pm – 7:45pm
- Via: Tuesdays, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
- Concentio (girls in 8th – 12th grade): Fridays, 4:10pm – 6:30pm + one Saturday per month, 10:30am – 2:30pm
- Chamber Choir: Mondays, 7pm – 9pm
Women of Song rehearses Wednesdays in February, March, and April from 7- 9 pm at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Highland Park.
What does it cost?
Pittsburgh Girls Choir runs on tuition income, foundation grants (see our foundation partners at the bottom of the page), and generous gifts from individual donors. Tuition covers less than 50% of our total annual expenses. Besides staff, rent, and materials, we also need to cover the cost of insurance, performance rights, music, administrative costs, marketing, websites, and more. Despite this, we strive to keep our tuition costs affordable and want to be accessible to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Our tuition levels are based on the choir level and are also on a sliding scale. They can be found here.
Why a sliding scale?
As of school year 2017-2018, Pittsburgh Girls Choir charges tuition based on a sliding scale.
This sliding scale does two things for our organization:
- Makes tuition more affordable across the socioeconomic spectrum.
- Reduces the complexity and workload required to run a scholarship program.
Instead of long scholarship applications, interested families need only verify their income bracket.
What type of music do they sing?
At PGC, we are holistic in our approach to repertoire. We choose music that meets the intellectual, musical, emotional and social needs of each age group. Sacred and secular music from a variety of genres is chosen, including classical, folk, musical theatre and popular. Our choirs sing music from many time periods and in many languages. Although the unique style of each piece of music is addressed, our goal is to teach our choristers to sing with healthy, age-appropriate technique regardless of style.
What are Kodaly and solfege?
Our approach to musical literacy and excellent intonation is rooted in Kodaly, a music education method developed by Hungarian pedagogue, Zoltan Kodaly. Kodaly is a carefully sequenced curriculum which facilitates musical literacy using the same sequence as language/reading acquisition. Folk songs, dances and games are the core of the program. Solfeggio is the musical language used (doh, re, mi…) Our choristers develop sight singing and music reading skills in a very natural, fun and meaningful manner.
What is expected of my chorister or our family once we join?
Students are expected to attend weekly rehearsals and to participate in concerts.
Parents and choristers are asked the following:
- Help with 2 events a year
- Provide for snack and attend 2 rehearsals a year
- Harmonia families participate in the Holiday Singathon — raising donations for the choirs in order to sing for nursing homes on the first Saturday in December
- Via families participate in the Holiday Singathon — raising donations for the choirs in order to sing for nursing homes on the first Saturday in December; and the Lasagna Dinner — a family-friendly meal of lasagna and simple auctions to raise money for tours
- Concentio and Chamber Choir families participate in the Holiday Singathon — raising donations for the choirs in order to sing for nursing homes on the first Saturday in December; and the Lasagna Dinner — a family-friendly meal of lasagna and simple auctions to raise money for tours
- All families are invited to attend as paying guests to the board fundraisers and house concerts
How do I audition and what is the audition like?
Girls in 1st and 2nd grade do not need to audition. Girls in 3rd – 12th do need to audition for best placement. We believe every girl can sing and accept all. However, in order to thrive, it is crucial that the chorister be well-placed. See audition page for more detailed information.
Is it necessary to read music before I audition?
It is not necessary to read before joining our choirs. Sight-singing is a very different skill than sight reading on an instrument and requires a very carefully sequenced program — which we provide!