project leader
Rising Voices Youth Choir A
2700 Wylie Avenue
(The Hill District)
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Our first rehearsal

the project

We believe in music as education and enrichment and that all people in Pittsburgh deserve the opportunity to have quality music in their lives.

We are working with our choir on their musical, cultural, and geographic knowledge. We are fostering talent, knowledge, and tolerance in our community.

Currently, we operate two programs: the Rising Voices Youth Choir for grade school students, and the Rising Voices Junior Singers for younger and less experienced voices. We are creating a multicultural community choir which fosters accessible, affordable, inclusive music enrichment services and civics education.

We are professionals and students with backgrounds in Music Education, Music Therapy, Child Development, Choral Arts, and Vocal Performance.

We are raising funds to support our program's expansion: The formation of the Pittsburgh Liberty Interfaith Choir.

the steps

Step 1) Deepen our roots in our communities

We aim to make this program accessible to every family and community. We are fundraising to employ community members to serve on our staff as music instructors and social justice organizers.

Step 2) Educate our members on tolerance and civic duty

We aim to bring in speakers and presenters who can speak to social justice issues impacting members of the Pittsburgh Community

Step 3) Share our knowledge with others

We want to be involved in events around the city, especially events which promote tolerance, diversity, and civic education. Once we've achieved our goals, we will share our accomplishments with those around us, and will welcome everyone who wants to join our community.

why we're doing it

Music is an important part our our lives, and it is something which every person deserves access to. Tragically, there are students and families with barriers to quality music, music education, or the opportunity to perform or participate in the arts.

The first issue: Cost and Accessibility

The majority of extracurricular and adult music programs come with a high tuition fees or hourly rate. Private lessons are even more costly. This leaves out hundreds of talented students and dedicated families who deserve fulfilling artistic experiences.


In our growing and diverse world, it is more important than ever to educate members of our communities on their civic rights and responsibilities. We aim to mentor youth and families on how to be advocates for tolerance and diversity, and provide access points to these ideas through music.

The second issue: Relating to Others

People are unique, and many other programs do not take this into account. Some experience language barriers, chronic illness, autism, and other differences are often underserved. LGBTQ issues, racial tensions, fear, and assumptions about people different from us compound our difficulty relating to each other.


Our Solutions?
Our program is fueled by our passionate volunteers and interns. Half of our staff are music students in a variety of backgrounds. Because of this, we are able to keep our costs down in a way which other programs cannot compare. Because of this, we are able to provide quality for students without impacting affordability. 

Additionally, our staff is made up of students and professionals with backgrounds in education as well as psychology and therapy. We are uniquely positioned to make our services accessible to every member, regardless of their strengths and challenges. We have successfully served people with English as a second language, persons on the autism spectrum, and those with medical considerations, and we are committed to continuing these services.

We celebrate the differences in our communities. We appreciate the knowledge we can bring to each other. We collaborate to create peace and to be a force for tolerance and change.


$2,000 for the new Interfaith Choir Program in the Hill District to fund accompanists, space rentals, and materials.

Project Subtotal =  $2,000
ioby Platform Fee  $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $100
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $60
Total to Raise on ioby = $2,195

Disbursed Budget:

RAISED = $1,810.00
less ioby Platform Fee  $35.00
less ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $82.18
less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $49.31



Our first rehearsal

We have officially started rehearsing, and my oh my at I excited. We have a small but dedicated group who came to our first practice, and we talked about Ella Fitzgerald, got to know each other, and shared stories of when something unexpected happened in our lives that had positive outcomes. We're officially rehearsing at Pittsburgh Mennonite Church in the East End of Pittsburgh!

Our Youth Division, the Rising Voices Youth Choir, has also begun a new chapter. We have moved into the Friendship Community Presbyterian Church, and we are thrilled to have a new space to call home. This church is in Oak Hill, and is central for most of our students!

We are so close to our goal of $2K! If we reach this goal, we will have the funds to guarantee rehearsal space for our programs for the next year, and we will be able to focus more on expansion and curriculum. What we have now puts us close, can you get us to that final mark?

Stay tuned!


A Potluck for All

I am thrilled to announce two things! The first is that we have reached 25% of our $2K fundraising goal! *cue celebratory music*

Secondly, as a part of our efforts, The Rising Voices were invited to participate in an Interfaith Potluck at Pittsburgh Mennonite during the week of Thanksgiving. What better time to celebrate civic duty, community, and music?

We were asked to host a "pop-up choir," which met right before the potluck to rehearse and discuss songs relating to American History, Protest, and Racial Equality. We were thrilled to have members of Pittsburgh Mennonite, First Unitarian, St Benedict the Moor, Friendship Presbyterian, Ebeneezer Baptist, and Rodef Shalom join us, along with spiritualists and community leaders. 

Students who participated joined in on a lyric analysis and history discussion of This Land is Your Land and Lift Every Voice and Sing, along with an inclusive discussion about "spirit" with the Jazz Standard and Raffi favorite "You Gotta Sing." The adults chimed in with their thoughts on how these topics relate to us today. One of my favorite moments included a rousing discussion of Lift Every Voice and Sing. With the lines "we have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered" and "lest our hearts, drunk on the wine of the world we forget Thee," kiddos and grown ups alike expressed the importance of remembering how far we have come pursuing civil rights, and how far we still have to go. 

After rehearsal, we shared in a delicious vegeterian dinner before leading the "pop-up" choir. We handed out lyric sheets, took to the stage, and welcomed community members of all ages, to sing with us. This went right down to the cutest of 3 year olds, who joyfully danced across the stage while we sang. 

The event was a blast, and we were honored to connect with the thirty-odd people in attendance. We are hoping to help with similar events in the future, and part of that means reaching this $2,000 goal on time! So please, share share share, and give what you can, if you can.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Elizabeth Chitester


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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