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Westrick Music Academy History

The power of a girl’s voice, the confidence of a young adult, and the empowerment of a generation of women are all benefits and legacies of Princeton Girlchoir. PGC is an institution that has thrived in the Princeton, New Jersey area for the last thirty years. Today, its seven choirs serve more than 300 girls each year.

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But it was from humble beginnings that this organization first took root. In the late 1980’s, music teacher, Jan Westrick, enjoyed the concerts given by the American Boychoir and wondered why no similar organization existed for girls. Busy with marriage, children and career, Jan’s musings remained just that until 1989 when her youngest child left for college. Finally with some time on her hands, Jan decided to start a choir for young girls. With that aim in mind, Jan placed advertisements in three local papers for auditions for a newly created girlchoir.

Twenty-seven girls made up the first choir; twenty-seven girls who did not regularly sing in two-part harmony.

They came from local schools and practices took place at Princeton Day School on Mondays – a rehearsal day that continues thirty years later.

Quickly, the size and the scope of the choir changed. The choirs expanded as more girls and their parents realized the advantages that come from raising their voices in song, the confidence earned by performing at home and abroad, and the rewards of an incomparable musical education. Throughout this growth, under the stewardship of Ms. Westrick, the choirs continued to flourish, and honors and distinctions followed the girls. 

They have performed on concert stages from Carnegie Hall to St. Peter’s Basilica for dignitaries and world leaders and at prestigious national conferences.

Quickly, the size and the scope of the choir changed. The choirs expanded as more girls and their parents realized the advantages that come from raising their voices in song, the confidence earned by performing at home and abroad, and the rewards of an incomparable musical education. Throughout this growth, under the stewardship of Ms. Westrick, the choirs continued to flourish, and honors and distinctions followed the girls. 

They have performed on concert stages from Carnegie Hall to St. Peter’s Basilica for dignitaries and world leaders and at prestigious national conferences.

Westrick Music Academy Choirs Timeline

1989-90

Princeton Girlchoir founded, Concert Choir, grades 5-7

1993-94

Incorporation year

1994-95

Apprentice Choir added by Jan Westrick, grades 5-6; Concert Choir, grades 7-9

1995-96

Apprentice Choir, Linda Mindlin, Director

1996-97

Renamed Apprentice Choir to Semi-Tones, Mary Szeles, Director

1997-98

Grace Notes added, Irene Allesee, Director

2004-05

Alumnae Choir, Rob Ridgel, Director

2006-07

Alumnae Choir renamed Cantores, Bryce Hayes, Director

2008-09

20th Anniversary, Founding Director Jan Westrick retired

2009-10

Lynnel Joy Jenkins joins as Artistic Director

2009-10

Lynnel Joy Jenkins joins as Artistic Director
Quarter Notes added, KellyAnn Westgate, Director

2011-12

Ensemble reestablished, KellyAnn Westgate, Director
Executive Director Janet Perkins retired

2012-13

Hilary Butler joins as Executive Director

2017-18

Eighth Notes added, Fred Meads, Director
Princeton Boychoir established: Apprentice Trebles, Advanced Trebles, Young Men’s Ensemble. Fred Meads, Director
Westrick Music Academy formed

Directors

Concert Choir

Jan Westrick – Founding Director

Lynnel Joy Jenkins

Ensemble

Jan Westrick

KellyAnn Westgate

Steve Kim

Lynnel Joy Jenkins

Semi-Tones

Mary Szeles

Cynthia XXX

Becca Elpus

Melissa Keylock

Tom Shelton

Quarter Notes

KellyAnn Westgate

Fred Meads

Eighth Notes

Fred Meads

Grace Notes

Irene Allesee

Toby Simon

Melissa Keylock

Tom Shelton

Cantores (Alumnae)

Robert Ridgell

Bryce Hayes

Raegan Ruiz

Tom Shelton

John Wilson

Jamie Bunce

Chaequan Anderson

Princeton Boychoir: Treble Choir, Young Men’s Ensemble

Fred Meads

Apprentice Choir

Fred Meads

François Suhr

Poco Voce Now Registering

We’re currently registering girls and boys for Poco Voce. If you know a younger kid who wants to sing, sign up now!