By Ukee Washington
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A choir is not just a choir. It’s a community. A singer is helping local young girls join choirs and find their voices in the hopes girls can change the world.
Growing up, Alysia Lee was a girl on the wrong path. “I was, the best word that I can come up with is a big bully,” she said.
Alysia says singing gave her an outlet for her emotions.
Leyleni Miller, 6, said, “I think that she sings really nice.”
Now Alysia Lee is a classically trained musician and founder of Sister Cities Girlchoir, made up of six free music choirs for 250 at-risk girls ages 6 to 13.
“Those girls, when they have children, will be able to create a whole new set of positive factors for the next generation,” Alysia said, “and that’s how girls can really change the world.”
Alysia keeps the girls busy, always tapping out a beat to teach rhythm. Even snack time ends in a song and dance.
Zoey Murray, 7, said, “Sister Cities Girlchoir is the best thing ever.”
There are four Girlchoirs in Philadelphia, and two in Camden.
Alysia says the program is all girls for a reason.
“A lot of girls are just sitting at home, especially low income girls, and they don’t have activities that are planned just around them,” Alysia said.
Sister Cities Girlchoir is sponsored by the non-profit New York Foundation for the Arts. They hire professional music teachers who teach everything from pop hits to classical music.
“We do field trips sometimes, and we sing on stage,” said 7-year-old Kaelah Gillies.
Alysia said, “They’re going to be leaders in this city, and it’s important to invest in them now.”
Sister Cities Girlchoir has a fundraising concert Sunday, May 18 at Holy Trinity Church, Center City. It kicks off at 5:00 p.m. General admission tickets are $25, with VIP tickets for $100.