PGC United in Song, Act 1 Program

O Desayo

a greeting song from Angola
(a menina is a little girl)

O desayo, O desayo
O desayo menina, O desayo

The rain is over it’s fine and shiny weather, o desayo
Fine and shiny for a get together, o desayo

O desayo, O desayo
O desayo menina, O desayo

Drink a cup and then stay for supper then, o desayo
Sing a song and then dance along and then, o desayo

O desayo, O desayo
O desayo menina, O desayo

Off we go again, down the stream again, o desayo
Off we go again, down the stream again, o desayo

O desayo, O desayo
O desayo menina, O desayo

Fueled by the power of a girl’s voice, Princeton Girlchoir presents extraordinary performances at home and throughout the world, while educating the musician, building confidence, and fostering a life-long love of singing together. Founded in 1989 as an after- school activity for girls interested in choral music, Princeton Girlchoir has grown into the area’s premier training and performance choir for girls, with over 300 choristers participating each year. The organization has seven choirs, comprising girls in 3rd through 12th grade. These choirs present music from a wide array of genres, conductors and composers.  While honing their musicianship, choristers begin life-long friendships, enjoy professional performance opportunities, and travel the world.

Princeton Girlchoir has been honored to perform in a wide array of venues for audiences both nationally and internationally. Notable performances include the North American premiere of Tan Dun’s Symphony 1997 with Yo- Yo Ma at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center; multiple appearances at Carnegie Hall; performances for dignitaries such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jeb Bush, Rush Holt, and Sandra Day O’Connor; performing the national anthem at several professional sporting events; and appearances at conferences of the American Choral Directors Association, Organization of American Kodály Educators, and NJ Music Educators Association.

Princeton Girlchoir is a program of Westrick Music Academy, home to choirs, music classes, and summer camps for musicians from kindergarten through adulthood.

Eighth Notes

Carina Banner
Anning Bi-Pan
Gloria Chang
Nina Chauhan
Alessandra Estrada
Shannon Freeman
Zoe Gregson
Erin Irungu
Aaliya Kalsekar
Sahasra Kartikiran
Amy Kuma
Kendall LeCompte
Shloka Maheria
Kaianne Mark
Aadya Nair
Riya Narang
Clementine Oppong
Leora Ozsvath
June Paleudis
Loukia Petrillo
Amelia Pontoriero
Victoria Romagnoli
Honora Sanchez
Naomika Seshasayee
Ella Sharpe
Elina Silvary
Anvita Singh
Meher Sinha
Jannah Strauli-Ellis
Prisha Talukdar
Melody Tang
Isabelle Tora
Nadia Ugur
Aanya Yadav Krishna Vinayak


Olivia Ahn
Anika Amin
Ananya Anil
Ellery Badros
Avery Bahr
Sai Brinda Bhupatiraju
Adelaide Bowen
Sasha Cheeseman
Myra Dahiya
Sivan Deutsch
Antonella Funiciello
Radha Gagarani
Katelyn Gay
Shreya Goda
Samantha Henderson
Yitong Huang
Abigail Johnson
Keerthna Kartik
Amelie Kraft
Melina Kyriakopoulos
Helena LeCompte
Vivian Ma
Jaszlene Martinez
Suki McNulty
Diya Nagella
Kavya Nayak
Isha Patel
Simone Pettit
Celina Qian
Aditi Rapaka
Catalina Rivera
Holly Robinson
Juliet Roden
Aadya Sadana
Veidika Sen
Kaeya Shah
Mahi Sharma
Lyla Shaver
Emma Shlossberg
Sarah Sienicki
Olivia Strauli-Ellis
Sadhana Sureshkumar
Leah Valcin
Grace Wang
Sydney Williams
Alicia Xu


Anushka Bhagavathula
Naina Biswas
Katherine Cargille
Isabelle Carter
Grace Choy
Isabella Crapanzano
Samantha Di Nino
Angelina Diaz
Tierney Drake
Nomah Elliot
Julia Franklin
Amenah Ghani
Ria Giri
Leanne Griffiths
Jahnavi Gupta
Lamya Hussain
Meghana Kakaraparthi
Chloe Kim
Sarah Nichols
Anya Nirschl
Valerie Oginsky
Megan Pressler
Cara Pretto
Sangeeta Quddus
Rima Ravi
Abigail Reytblat
Sofia Romagnoli
Maya Sawhney
Henna Sharma
Neha Tengshe
Kyara Torres-Olivares
Devin Vandenberg
Syona Wadhwa
Rebekah Wang
Julia Weiss
Susanna Weiss
Zuri Williams
Jannetka Wojtowicz
Angelina Xu

Katrina Cariaga, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South

Claudia Charles, Homeschool

Isabella Crapanzano, Robbinsville High School

Tierney Drake, Pennsbury High School

Amenah Ghani, Montgomery High School

Chloe Kim, Princeton High School

* Ayaka Numata, Princeton High School

Muskan Paliwal, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South

Anusha Qaisar, Robbinsville High School

Aishwarya Rao, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South

* Abigail Reytblat, Homeschool

* Anushya Shankar, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South

* Paige Stewart, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South

Neha Tengshe, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North

* Kyara Torres-Olivares, Princeton High School

Sanjana Venkatesh, Montgomery High School

Susanna Weiss, Stuart Country Day School

* Melanie Zhang, Montgomery High School

* “Lifer” – Chorister since third grade

Click here to learn more about our staff

Lynnel Joy Jenkins (Artistic Director, Concert Choir and Ensemble) is Artistic Director of Westrick Music Academy and Choral Teacher at Timberlane Middle School of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District. At Westrick Music Academy, Dr. Jenkins conducts advanced groups, Princeton Girlchoir Ensemble and Concert Choir. She is a choral educator of international stature, having lectured and conducted choral festivals or music programs in Switzerland, China, Hong Kong, Iceland, and South Africa. Nationally, she has conducted honor choruses for one national, four regional, and several state conferences for American Choral Directors Association, two national conferences for OAKE, and numerous All-State choruses. Jenkins has earned degrees from Westminster Choir College (B.M.), Temple University (M.M.), and University of Arizona (D.M.A.), and at the first two institutions was awarded the Elaine Brown Conducting Award.

Fred Meads (WMA Education Director, Eighth Notes and Quarter Notes) has been director of choirs in public and private schools, churches and at the collegiate level for the past twenty-five years. He currently serves as Director of Children and Youth Choirs at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. Most recently he was Director of Vocal Studies at the American Boychoir School and served as Artistic Director of the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir in Fort Wayne, IN before moving to New Jersey. He has conducted honor and all-state choirs in Wyoming, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Nebraska, Ohio and Oklahoma. In 2017 and 2011, he conducted the OAKE National Children’s Honor Choirs. In 2014, he served as guest conductor for the Northwest ACDA Children’s Honor Choir.

Internationally, he traveled to Hong Kong to present choral workshops for music educators. Fred has presented workshops for IMEA, ACDA, OAKE and Westminster Choir College. Each summer he teaches in the Kodaly program at Westminster Choir College. Fred received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Ithaca College, NY and the Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He completed his Kodály training at Capital University in Columbus, OH.

Chaequan Anderson (Associate Director, Cantores) is an active choral conductor and music educator based in Princeton, New Jersey. Mr. Anderson has varied choral experience directing school, community youth and children, and professional choirs. In addition to his work with Princeton Girlchoir, Mr. Anderson is Director of Middle School Choirs at Montclair Kimberley Academy, Intermediate Choir Director at Trenton Children’s Chorus, Cantus Choir Director at Westminster Conservatory, and Co-Founder & Artistic Director of Glassbrook Vocal Ensemble, a professional choir based in Ewing, NJ.  

He has performed with several choral ensembles in the area, including the Philadelphia Orchestra Symphonic Choir, Princeton Pro Musica, and VOICES Chorale of Hopewell. Additionally, he was a member of the highly acclaimed Westminster Choir of Westminster Choir College. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Kodály Certification from Westminster Choir College, and professional member-ships with American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Educators and Organization of American Kodály Educators

Tom T. Shelton, Jr. (Associate Director, Semi-Tones) is associate professor of Sacred Music at Westminster Choir College, in Princeton, NJ. Focusing on children’s and youth music at Westminster, Professor Shelton teaches classes in conducting, sacred music, music education, and conducts the Williamson Voices Treble Ensemble. In addition, he is the director of Children’s and Youth Choirs at Princeton United Methodist Church.

Before moving to NJ, Mr. Shelton taught middle school choral music in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, (NC) for 18 years. During that time he was selected Teacher of the Year multiple times and was presented the North Carolina Middle School Music Teacher of the Year award by the North Carolina Music Educators Association.

Mr. Shelton has conducted choral festivals and presented workshops in throughout the United States and Hong Kong. He has served as an adjudicator for the Penabur International Choral Festival (Jakarta, Indonesia); the Rovdo International Choral Festival (Belarus); and worked on several projects with the “Soul Sounds Academy” (Sri Lanka). He is the Series Director for the Music for Young Voices Series with GIA Publications and has over 60 compositions published by Choristers Guild, Colla Voce Music, G. Schirmer, Galaxy, GIA Publications, Growing in Grace Curriculum, Heritage Music Press, Hinshaw Music Company, Musicspoke.com, Santa Barbara Music Press, and Walton Music. 

An active member of the American Choral Directors Association, Mr. Shelton served as the National President (2017-2019).

Kyle Blackburn (Collaborative Pianist, Semi-Tones) is currently a music educator and accompanist in New Jersey. He is a graduate of Westminster Choir College and specializes in choral accompaniment, musical theater direction, and music technology. As a singer, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, and Verizon Hall, along with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Ryan Brechmacher (Collaborative Pianist, Cantores) is an active performer, composer, teacher, and pianist. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in both Piano Performance/Pedagogy and Theory/ Composition, studying with Ingrid Clarfield and Stefan Young at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. Ryan has served as an accompanist for the Westminster Youth Chorale, Voices Chorale, and singers and instrumentalists in the area.

An accomplished composer, his works have been heard throughout the United States and Europe. He has had pieces premiered by the Westminster Schola Cantorum, Westminster Youth Chorale, Bowling Green Junior High School Bands, the Bowling Green Area Community Band, VOICES Chorale, Princeton Day School choirs, and Princeton Girlchoir’s Concert Choir. His choral and piano compositions have been published by Alfred Music Publishing, GIA Publications, and Trans-continental Music.

Mr. Brechmacher is also the full-time Staff Accompanist at Princeton Day School, where he also teaches AP Music Theory.

François Suhr (Collaborative Pianist, Eighth Notes) is the choral and general music teacher at Monmouth Junction and Constable Elementary Schools of the South Brunswick School District. During the summer, he acts as the professor of musicianship classes for the Kodály certification and Masters degree program at the American Kodály Institute at Loyola University Maryland. It is from this institution that François earned his Kodály certification and Master of Education in Kodály Music Education. He also holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University

In addition to teaching, François works as a pianist and music director for many different community theatres throughout the state of New Jersey most recently completing projects at the Villager’s Theatre, Kelsey Theatre and with Phoenix Productions.

Ruth Ochs PhotoConductor and educator, RUTH OCHS, is Lecturer in Music at Princeton University, where she conducts the Princeton University Sinfonia and teaches undergraduate music performance courses. She holds degrees in music and orchestral conducting from Harvard University (magna cum laude with highest honors in music) and the University of Texas at Austin (Master of Music in orchestral conducting), and completed her Ph.D. in musicology at Princeton University with a dissertation on Karol Szymanowski’s neo-nationalist ballet, Harnasie. As a Fulbright Scholar, she studied music at Humboldt Universität in Berlin, Germany, and she has studied the Polish language at the Uniwersytet Jagielloński in Kraków, Poland. A student for many summers at the Pierre Monteux School in Hancock, Maine, the School’s director, Maestro Michael Jinbo, was her principal conducting mentor. In 2008 she served as the School’s first conducting associate.

When she arrived at Princeton in the fall of 2002, Ochs assumed directorship of the Princeton University Sinfonia and steered its growth from a chamber orchestra to a full-size symphonic orchestra performing repertory from the baroque to the most recent, including new works by Princeton University student composers. She also has worked closely with the Princeton University Orchestra, leading rehearsals and sectionals, and conducting the orchestra often in concert.

Passionate about raising the bar with all aspiring and eager musicians, Ruth Ochs also shares her time with community and youth orchestras. She is now in her twelfth season as conductor and music director of the Westminster Community Orchestra, based in Princeton, New Jersey. With that orchestra, Ochs has led successful opera gala performances, collaborations with partner ensembles and performance faculty from the Westminster Conservatory of Music, and a popular series of children’s concerts. She was the founding conductor of a collaborative youth orchestra that joins middle school musicians of the Princeton Charter School and the Westminster Conservatory of Music, which she conducted until 2017. A supporter of new music, she led the premieres of several compositions by Laurie Altman, and conducted the premiere recording of his “Homage a Stravinsky” for Albany Records. She has also premiered many compositions by Princeton University and Westminster Choir College student composers.

Alongside conducting, Ruth Ochs enjoys performing as cellist and harpsichordist, often leading chamber orchestra performances from the keyboard. Since 2013, she has delivered several preconcert lectures for the Princeton University Concert series. She lives in Lawrenceville, New Jersey with her husband and two sons.

Princeton Girlchoir and Westrick Music Academy wishes to thank the following individuals and organizations for making today’s concert possible:

  • New Jersey State Council on the Arts
  • Discover Jersey Arts
  • Princeton Area Community Foundation
  • Patriots Theater at the War Memorial: William Nutter, Executive Director
  • Briann Dixon Videography, LLC

Board of Directors

Michael Wasden, President
Archana Pradhan, MD, MPH, President-Elect
Mark J. Badros, Treasurer
Daniela M. Phayme, Secretary
Tasneem Hajara
Xiaobing Li
Frederick A. Pettit, Esq.
Eeraj J. Qaisar
Laura Fenster Rothschild, PsyD
Raegan M. Ruiz
Carolyn Sauer
Joan A. Valcin
Jason Vodicka, DMA
Lynnel Joy Jenkins, DMA, Ex Officio
Hilary K. Butler, Ex Officio

Advisory Board

S. Tina Biswas
Carol Burden
Jordan M. Corn
Patricia Cornet
Barbara Burke DiCostanzo
James M. Jordan
Peter F. Kelly, Esq., Legal Advisor
Beth Nichols
Janet H. Perkins
Alice Teti
Jan A. Westrick

Princeton Girlchoir Staff

Lynnel Joy Jenkins, DMA, Artistic Director, Concert Choir and Ensemble
Hilary K. Butler, Executive Director
Fred Meads, Education Director, Eighth Notes and Quarter Notes
Chaequan Anderson, Associate Director, Cantores
Tom Shelton, Associate Director, Semi-Tones
Rachel DiBlasio, Operations Manager
Carolyn Sienicki, Development & Communications Director
Blanca Gonzalez, Office Manager
Kyle Blackburn, Collaborative Pianist
Ryan Brechmacher, Collaborative Pianist
Julia Hanna, Collaborative Pianist
François Suhr, Collaborative Pianist
Stefanie Watson, Collaborative Pianist
Adrian Camano, Concert Choir Conducting Fellow
Leigh Huber, Ensemble Conducting Fellow
Anna Matone, Cantores Conducting Fellow
Maia Finkel, Conducting Fellow
Isabella Crapanzano, Eighth Notes Intern
Leanne Griffiths, Eighth Notes Intern
Abigail Reytblat, Eighth Notes Intern
Henna Sharma, Quarter Notes Intern
Julia Weiss, Quarter Notes Intern
Amenah Ghani, Semi-Tones Intern
Muskan Paliwal, Semi-Tones Intern
Anushya Shankar, Semi-Tones Intern
Devin Embrich, Rehearsal Coordinator
Rosemary Gurak, Rehearsal Coordinator

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Click here to learn more or make a donation today!


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