Sister Cities Girlchoir

The Girlchoir Movement in Philadelphia and Camden


Leadership Team




Alysia Lee

Artistic Director



Conducting Staff

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Kendra Balmer

Kendra Balmer is a Founding Teaching Artist for SCG, a passionate music educator and choir conductor. She received a Masters degree in Choral Conducting in 2017, and a Bachelors degree in Music Education with a clarinet concentration from Temple University in 2011.

Ms. Balmer has performed at Carnegie Hall and worked with choirs and orchestras throughout North America, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

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  Kendra Balmer, Founding Teaching Artist

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Ruth Noemì Belonni Rosario

Ruth-Noemí Belonni Rosario holds a B.M. in Music Education, from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. There, she worked as Choir teacher in Música 100 x 35, an El Sistema-based afterschool program that reaches children living in government communities. She also worked as a piano teacher at the Presbyterian Academy of Music for 6 years, where she taught students of all ages.

In 2012, Ruth-Noemí enrolled in Westminster Choir College where she pursued a M.M. in Sacred Music with a Conducting emphasis. There, she studied conducting, liturgy, theology and participated in a number of workshops on Orff, Kodaly, concert programing and others.

   Ruth  -Noemí Belonni Rosario,   Teaching Artist
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Megan Cullinane

Megan Cullinane loves to teach and empower young people! She is the music teacher at Jay Cooke Elementary School, piano and voice instructor at the Institute of Puerto Rican Music, and holds the Teaching Artist position here at Sister Cities Girlchoir close to her heart.

Megan has researched choir culture in South Africa, and toured the USA with choirs and scholars. She holds a B.M. in Music Education, Voice Concentration from Temple University.

  Megan Cullinane, Teaching Artist


Anne Agresta Dugan

Anne Agresta Dugan is entering her 5th year at SCG as a Founding Teaching Artist and Camden City Manager. In addition to her passion for Sister Cities, she has a career full of solo work in Oratorio, Recital and Opera.

Anne currently sings with the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir and made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2012 as a soloist with Aoede Consort. Anne holds a BM in Voice/Music Education from Crane School of Music and an MA in Theatre from SUNYA.

  Anne Agresta Dugan, Founding Teaching Artist


Evyonne Fontroy

Evyonne Fontroy Taylor, has spent most of her life working in the music ministry in the Urban church. She has been conducting choirs and serving as a Minister of Music since she was 12 years old. Fontroy Taylor has also traveled extensively with a host of Gospel and R&B Artists.

Evvy has a great passion for empowering youth and serves several youth-geared activities. Currently, she is a Tutor at the West Philadelphia Salvation Army Learning Zone, Assistant Director of the Salvation Army Learning Zone Gospel Choir,  Girl Scout Troop Leader, and Liturgical Dance Instructor.

Mrs.Taylor has an Associate Degree from Berklee School of Music with a concentration in Musical Theater and an Associate Degree from Community College of Philadelphia in Culinary and Pastry Art.

  Evyonne Fontroy Taylor, Teaching Artist

  Casie Marie Girvin, Teaching Artist

Casie Marie Girvin

Casie Marie Girvin is a proud graduate of Temple University, where she earned her BM in Classical Vocal Performance. Her love of community empowerment through choral singing stems from her early involvement in the Capital District Youth Chorale in Albany, NY. Casie is a seasoned performer in the genres of musical theatre, opera, oratorio, and art song, having performed on stages all over the U.S. and in Italy. She teaches voice and theatre in three studios in Philadelphia and is passionate about making the art of song accessible to people all over the world.


Alysia Lee

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Alysia Lee is an experienced performer and pedagogue with a passion for community building and girl empowerment.  

Lee was selected from an international pool of applicants to the third cohort of the Sistema Fellowship at New England Conservatory in partnership with TED. 

A classically trained mezzo-soprano, Lee is a versatile performer who is equally at home on the operatic and concert stage. She holds operatic and recital credits ranging from Handel to Schoenberg. 

 Lee is a graduate of Peabody Conservatory. 

  Alysia Lee, Founder/ Teaching Artist

Accompanying Staff


Irina Bakis

Irina Bakis is a versatile musician. For 20 years, she has directed music at church as an Organist and a Choir Director. Additionally, she  teaches piano, works and performs with vocalists, instrumentalists, dance and theater companies, and accompanies school and community choirs.

Irina holds two Bachelor and Master degrees in Piano Performance and Teaching from Prokofiev Conservatoire, Donetsk, Ukraine.


Emily Watkins

Emily Watkins is a freelance accompanist and vocal coach in Philadelphia. She has spent the past two summers in Skagway, Alaska performing in The Days of ’98 Show and has served as rehearsal pianist for Opera on the James, Peach State Summer Theatre, and the Russian Opera Workshop.  She earned a B.M. in Piano Performance from the Sunderman Conservatory at Gettysburg College and an M.M. in Collaborative Piano from Florida State University.