Lynnel Joy Jenkins is the Artistic Director of the Princeton Girlchoir and choral teacher at the Timberlane Middle School of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District in Pennington, New Jersey. Ms. Jenkins' varied conducting and teaching experience ranges from the elementary to collegiate level. She has served as Assistant Professor of Music Education at the Westminster Choir College of Rider University and Conductor of the Resident Training Choir at the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey.
Ms. Jenkins is a choral conductor and music educator of international stature, having lectured and conducted in China, Hong Kong, Iceland, and South Africa. She has served as guest conductor for numerous Honor Choirs, All-States, and Choral Festivals in the United States and a clinician for several professional music conferences. She currently serves on the conducting faculty for the Vocal Arts Camp of the James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Ms. Jenkins has earned degrees from Temple University and Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and at both institutions was awarded the Elaine Brown Conducting Award. Westminster’s Music Education Department inducted Ms. Jenkins into the Westminster Music Education Alumni Hall of Fame and the Alumni Association presented her with an Alumni Merit Award. She is pursuing a D.M.A. degree at the University of Arizona. She holds a certificate in Kodály pedagogy from Westminster Choir College and level two Orff-Schulwerk certification.
Melissa Keylock is Director of Admissions and Recruitment at the American Boychoir School, where she conducts the community after-school boychoir program. She is in her tenth year as Associate Director of the Princeton Girlchoir, conducting the Semi-Tones and Grace Notes choirs. She is the Founder of the Children Making a Difference benefit concert, which in eight years has raised over $18,000 for non-profit organizations. She is an Adjunct Professor at Rider University, supervising their graduate music education student teachers. Previously, she was Director of Satellite and After-School Programs with the Indianapolis Children's Choir, and taught public and private school, including K-12 vocal music and AP Music Theory. Melissa served on the American Choral Directors Eastern Division Board of Directors as Repertoire and Resources Chair for Boy's Choirs, and previously served on the NJACDA board as Chair for Children's and Youth Choirs.
Melissa Keylock holds an undergraduate degree in music education from Wheaton College and a master of music in conducting from Butler University, where she directed the collegiate Women's Glee Club. Melissa completed her Kodály studies at Capital University, Orff Level One at Kansas State University, and is listed in Who's Who in American Women. She enjoys traveling as a guest clinician and presenter at choral conferences and festivals. Past engagements include Fellowship of American Baptist Musicians in Wisconsin, Kentucky Music Educator’s Conference Children’s Choir, North Carolina Sings! Women's Choir, First Coast Honor Choir in Florida, New Jersey Children's Honor Choir, Appleton Boychoir, Pennsylvania Elementary Song Fest, Philadelphia Festival of Young Musicians, New Jersey Intermediate Chorus, seven Circle the State With Song festivals in Indiana, and serving as Artist in Residence at the Peck School. She regularly leads teacher workshops, including the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools, New Jersey Music Educators Association, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, and New Jersey chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and the New School for Music Study. She is a Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor, who infuses yoga breathing, strength, balance, and posture into her choral rehearsals. Melissa and co-writer Jill Friedersdorf have published over twenty songs, which have sold over 100,000 copies. Their compositions and arrangements are published with Colla Voce, Chorister's Guild, and Hal Leonard Publishing.
Fred Meads is Director of Vocal Studies at the American Boychoir School where he conducts daily rehearsals of the Training Choir, teaches private voice lessons and leads ear-training classes. During the summer, he serves as Assistant Director of American Boychoir Experience, an auditioned camp for boys from throughout the United States.
Mr. Meads has been director of choirs in public and private schools, churches and at the collegiate level for the past twenty-five years. From 1999–2009, he was Artistic Director of the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir in Fort Wayne, IN, where he led the group on national and international tours, prepared the choir for annual symphonic engagements, and commissioned works from diverse and renowned composers. Mr. Meads has been invited to conduct various honor choirs and all-state choirs in Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Nebraska and Ohio. In 2014, he conducted the Northwest ACDA Division Children’s Honor Choir in Seattle and in 2011 he led the Organization of Kodály Educators National Children’s Honor Choir in Phoenix. Internationally, he traveled to Hong Kong to present choral workshops for music educators and the Yip Children’s Choir. Mr. Meads has also presented workshops for the Indiana Music Educators Association, ACDA, OAKE and Westminster Choir College. He has served on the boards of both the Indiana Choral Directors Association and the New Jersey Choral Directors Association.
Mr. Meads received the 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 where he was a scholarship recipient. He was selected as a participant in master classes for Chorus America and the Toronto Children’s Chorus and was a recipient of the Excellence in Arts Award when living in Fort Wayne, IN.
Fred Meads is enjoying his seventh year on the staff of the Princeton Girlchoir. He first served as an accompanist for Semi-Tones and now leads the Quarter Notes.
John Wilson is the choral director at Bridgewater-Raritan High School where he conducts seven ensembles. His choirs have consistently received superior and first-place ratings in festivals throughout the state, earning praise most recently for performances of Gustav Holst’s Hymns from the Rig-Veda. Mr. Wilson’s ensembles have performed at major venues in the New York/New Jersey area under the baton of Ryan Brandau, Alan Raines, Lee Nelson, and Andrew Megill.
John has served as a conducting fellow at the 2014 Yale School of Music Choral Conducting Workshop, held in Norfolk, Connecticut, where he worked with Simon Carrington. In June of 2014, Mr. Wilson worked with Harold Farberman, Guillermo Figueroa, and Eduardo Navega at Bard College’s Orchestral Conducting Institute. For the last two years, Mr. Wilson served on the faculty at Westminster Choir College’s High School Vocal Institute, where he conducted the women’s choir and led classes in conducting.
Mr. Wilson is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting at Rutgers University, where he also teaches courses in music education and assists Dr. Patrick Gardner in the musical preparation of the prestigious Rutgers University Glee Club and Kirkpatrick Choir.
In addition to his work as a teacher and conductor, John is also active as a professional singer. He has performed as a soloist in J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass (2012) and G.F. Handel’s Israel In Egypt (2013) with the Westminster Chamber Choir and Orchestra in Princeton. John is delighted to be a part of the Princeton Girlchoir family, and is looking forward to working with the wonderful singers of the Cantores ensemble!
Ryan Brechmacher is an active performer, composer, teacher and pianist. Originally from Bowling Green, Ohio, Ryan Brechmacher 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. As a solo performer he has given recitals in Ohio and New Jersey, and has served as an accompanist for the Westminster Youth Chorale, Voices Chorale, and many singers and instrumentalists in the area. He has taught at Bowling Green State University's Summer Piano Camps, Westminster's Middle School Piano Camp with Lillian Livingston and at Westminster's High School Piano Camps with Ingrid Clarfield.
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 and Quarter Notes. His piece, "The Lobster Quadrille", was the winner of the 2010 Cincinnati Children's Choir Composition Competition and has recently been published by Alfred Music Publishing.
Mr. Brechmacher has been teaching private piano lessons at Princeton Day School since the Fall of 2008, where he also serves as the Staff Accompanist.
Todd Simmons comes to PGC from Westport, CT where he was the Assistant Director and piano instructor at the Westport School of Music since 2000. He frequently performs across the region on piano, harpsichord, and organ, accompanying solo musicians and choirs of all shapes and sizes. He has been the accompanist for the Fairfield County Children’s Choir Chamber Singers, performing at location in various places around the world including England, Ireland, Canada, and Hawaii.
Mr. Simmons has been choir director at Ridge High School and Princeton High School in New Jersey, as well as Fairfield High School in Connecticut. He also served for four years as the Director of the Women’s Choir at Fordham University, in Bronx, NY. He has also been the Director of Music for the United Methodist Church in Westport, CT, and most recently at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Wallingford, CT. For the past two years, Mr. Simmons has been the choral accompanist for the CT All-State Choir.
Mr. Simmons holds his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the Eastman School of Music and a Master's degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has studied piano with Ingrid Clarfield and Vincent Lenti, and harpsichord with Dana Ragsdale. He has studied choral and instrumental conducting with Helmut Rilling, Timothy Koch, and David Effron.
Janet Westrick, founder of the Princeton Girlchoir, retired in 2009 after twenty years of devoted leadership. An accomplished music educator and choral director for over forty years, she also was a member of the music faculty at Princeton Day School for twenty-two years, and for six of those years, she was Head of Music and Performing Arts before retiring in 2005. She is an honors graduate of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, has done graduate work at Western Michigan University and Westminster Choir College, and is certified in both Kodály and Orff instruction. A life member of the American Choral Directors Association, Ms. Westrick has served that organization in committee and conference work. She has presented workshops at Westminster Choir College and was a presenter at the American Boychoir National Choral Conference in 2002 and 2003. Her peers recognize her as a specialist in drawing out the very best from children's voices. She was the 1997 recipient of the Women of Distinction Award for the World of the Arts presented by the Delaware-Raritan Valley Girl Scout Council, and a recipient of the 2005 Princeton YWCA Tribute to Women Award. Ms. Westrick currently serves as parish musician at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Kendall Park, New Jersey and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Trenton Community Music School.
It has been my joy and privilege to shepherd and watch the Girlchoir grow into the strong and vibrant organization it is today. I look forward to watching its continuing evolution, and to listening to much beautiful music in the future from all our wonderful girls. In addition, I hope to keep in touch with our many alumnae members.