Sister Cities Girlchoir

The Girlchoir Movement in Philadelphia and Camden


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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Anne Agresta Dugan

Anne Agresta Dugan is entering her 6th 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

Alysia Lee, Founder


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.  Full Bio

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.