Media Releases & Coverage

Media Releases & Coverage – Pennsylvania Girlchoir

Asher’s Legacy – CY Remembers Jack

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 : Media Releases, PGBlog


Emily Harmar, Development Director
W: 215-403-7030
C: 215-740-1460

Asher’s Legacy – CY Remembers Jack
First Annual Scholarship Concert
Saturday, March 3, 2018 l 7:30 pm
First Presbyterian Church in Germantown
35 W. Chelten Avenue, Phila, PA   19144

Germantown, Philadelphia, February 6, 2018 — For many years, the Asher’s Chocolates plant in Germantown produced a variety of chocolate treats that were the delight of children everywhere. John L. “Jack” Asher, Jr., the former co-chairman of Asher’s Chocolates and one of the founder’s grandsons, helped lead the company into a new era of profitability. He passed away on Aug. 30, 2017. On Saturday, March 3, another Germantown-based institution that benefited greatly from Jack Asher’s support and leadership – Commonwealth Youthchoirs – will honor his memory and his many contributions to the community with a concert featuring some of the region’s finest young singers.
Asher’s Legacy – CY Remembers Jack will be held at 7:30 pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown and will be performed by the singers from Keystone State Boychoir (KSB) and Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG). Mr. Asher was founding Board Chair of KSB in 2001. Over the next 17 years, with Jack’s continuing support, KSB would grow into what is today the Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY) organization. What began in 2001 as a choir of 37 boys has grown into the largest youth choral organization in the region, and one of the finest in the world. CY now serves over 600 young people in six different programs, including KSB, PG, New Jersey Boychoir, Garden State Girlchoir, Good Mornin’ Music!, and Find Your Instrument!. FYI! is a choral education program that partners with underserved schools that have no formal music offerings. Thanks in no small part to the vision of Jack Asher, hundreds of children in his beloved Germantown have the joy of singing in their lives.
The event was purposely chosen to take place on Jack’s birthday. Jack’s wife Carol and their children Dave, John and Sue, and their families are expected to be in attendance. “My Dad would be delighted that we are spending his birthday at a performance by CY’s singers. He believed strongly that children gained unique benefits and opportunities from the experience of singing in the choirs,” says Dave Asher.  
At the concert, CY’s scholarship fund will be renamed The Jack Asher Scholarship Fund. All proceeds will benefit the fund so that more children in Germantown and beyond can be transformed through the power of making music together. The choir opens many doors of opportunity – a founding member of Keystone State Boychoir, Vince Cannady, auditioned for the choir while a boy at Project Home – through his choir experience he toured the world and is now one of the final four contestants on Fox 29’s “The Four.”
Jack was beloved by CY singers who each received a box of chocolates at the holidays directly from “Mr. Asher,” says Commonwealth Youthchoirs’ Founder and Artistic Director, Steven Fisher. “Over the years, Jack sent nearly 5,000 boxes of chocolates to our kids,” Fisher adds. “It’s not as if Jack had a child or grandchild who benefited directly from one of our programs. But from the beginning he was incredibly generous with his time, resources and wisdom about how to grow something,” Fisher observes. “The reason was, simply, that Jack understood the power of music in the life of a young person, especially those who are underserved.”
Jack loved both choral and organ music, and was especially fond of repertoire that involves both. “In 17 years, I don’t think that we missed a major CY performance,” says Carol Asher, Jack’s wife.  
At the concert on March 3, young singers from CY will be joined by the visiting Bratislava Boys Choir and special guest organist Alessandro Pittorino to present Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb. The young Pittorino was the first Australian organ student to attend The Juilliard School, from which he recently graduated with a Master of Music in Performance. “What a fitting way to celebrate both Jack’s life and the 75th anniversary of the world premiere of this great work for organ and choir,” adds Fisher. “Pittorinio’s involvement, as an up and coming ‘rock star’ of the organ world, would have greatly pleased Jack. He was all about lifting up young people with potential. Those who knew Jack know how much he enjoyed hearing pieces that pulled out all of the 340 stops of the McLean Memorial Pipe Organ at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, which will certainly be the case when Pittorino plays!”
“Besides being a great supporter of CY, Jack was a great mentor and friend to me personally, and I miss him dearly. It is my profound honor to launch this annual event in his memory,” says Fisher. “There was only one Jack Asher. He will live on through the hearts and voices of thousands of children who knew song because of him, and through thousands more in the years to come.”
Tickets are $40, $60 and $80 and are now on sale here. For more information or to help sponsor the event, go to www.cychoirs/
Download full-size photo of Jack Asher
Download Commonwealth Youthchoirs’ program logos (full-size .jpg file)
Download Alessandro Pittorino Bio
Download Alessandro Pittorino full-size headshot for print
Download Alessandro Pittorino at organ full-size for print

Pennsylvania Girlchoir Welcomes Melissa Keylock, First Full-time Music Director

Monday, July 24, 2017 : Media Releases


Pennsylvania Girlchoir

Melissa Keylock


Emily Harmar, Development Director
W: 215-403-7030
C: 215-740-1460



Melissa Keylock, Pennsylvania Girlchoir’s
First Full-time Music Director


The Board of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY) is thrilled to announce that Ms. Melissa Keylock will be joining the organization as Pennsylvania Girlchoir’s first full-time Music Director, effective August 1. “Melissa brings a staggering wealth of experience with, and a great love for, all things children’s choirs,” states CY Founder and Artistic Director, Steve Fisher. “She is poised to apply her breadth of knowledge, formidable musical talents, and deep passion for making music with young people so that the Pennsylvania Girlchoir can attain even greater choral heights in the years ahead.” Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG) was created in 2004 as the sister choir of Keystone State Boychoir and over the last 13 years has earned a stellar reputation as one of the leading ensembles of its kind in the country.

Keylock will succeed Vincent Metallo, who has served as the part time Music Director of PG for the last six years. “We’ll always be extremely grateful to Vince,” says Fisher. “His impeccable musicianship and high choral standards helped Pennsylvania Girlchoir to blossom in incredible ways during his tenure. For a long time, the board has dreamed of having a full-time PG music director. But Vince’s other commitments precluded him from taking on a larger role. And so we’ve been waiting for the right person to come along, and finally she did. I know Vince wishes Melissa the very best and looks forward to watching PG grow in wonderful ways with full-time leadership.”

For the last ten years, Keylock has served as the Associate Director of the Princeton Girlchoir. Since 2014, she has served as Adjunct Professor at Rider University, supervising graduate music education student teachers. For many years, Keylock worked as Director of Admissions and Recruitment at the American Boychoir School and conducted its community after-school program. Prior to that, she was a conductor at the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. Keylock has spent her career in various leadership positions in the American Choral Directors Association. Currently, she serves as its Eastern Division Repertoire and Resources Chair for Youth Choirs. Keylock holds an undergraduate degree in music education from Wheaton College and a master of music in conducting from Butler University. Read Keylock’s full bio here.

By virtue of her position as PG Music Director, Keylock will also serve as Assistant Artistic Director of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY), working closely with Fisher to transform the lives of young people through the power of making music together. More than 700 singers, half of whom are underserved, take part in Commonwealth Youthchoirs six award-winning programs:  Keystone State Boychoir, Pennsylvania Girlchoir, Find Your Instrument!, Good Mornin’ Music, Garden State Girlchoir, and New Jersey Boychoir. Keylock shares, “It is with great joy that I join the dedicated staff of the Pennsylvania Girlchoir and the larger Commonwealth Youthchoirs family. I’m humbled and excited to have the opportunity to lead this fine Girlchoir, building on the foundation that has been set by Vincent. Onward and upward PG!”

PG has an exciting season of performances ahead. In collaboration with the Keystone State Boychoir, it will perform Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in honor of the composer’s centennial. The CY organization will host Choirs ROCK! Concert, bringing together 10,000 singers for the largest choral concert in US history. To finish out the season, the brother – sister choirs will embark on a concert tour of South Africa where they will represent America at the World Choral Games.  

For more information, visit

Download a publication quality photo of Melissa Keylock, Pennsylvania Girlchoir Music Director, here.

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