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Awards & Accolades

Girlchoir was awarded the prestigious ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming in 2015 and 2003, received a 2010 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, was the first choir to be featured on “Art Beat”, Oregon Public Broadcasting’s award-winning program, and were featured Artists-in-Residence for the
20th Anniversary Choral Music Institute held in York, England, in 2006.
Women Choral Conductors and Clinicians You Need to know
By Dr. Janet Galvan
March 21, 2021
Roberta Jackson and Debra Burgess

Why am I Listing these women together when each is so deserving as a clinician?
……..Because that is how they list themselves on the website of the Portland Symphonic
Girlchoir. My original intent was to do two separate features. However, they even merge
their bios on the website. In addition to highlighting what fine artist teachers they are, I want
to point to a shining example of teamwork that serves the singers. They checked their egos
years ago and share leadership in a seamless and beautiful way. People have praised me
for shining the light on others – these two live to shine the light on others. Many of us have
been their clinician for their annual festival. They make themselves background servant
leaders for the entire weekend. This is such a rich, deep, and beautiful musical partnership
that is an exemplary example of putting the singers first. Thank you, Roberta and Debra, for
showing us how this can be done!
“Thanks again for the opportunity to visit.  It was truly a pleasure working with the two of you, PSG, and the visiting choirs for the Music in the Making event.  The individual choirs came to the festival with an enthusiasm and vocal artistry that reminded all of us of the joy we experience through singing.  While it was wonderful to hear the final product of everyone's hard work at the concert, the process of coming together for a common purpose, and the opportunity to nurture the personhood of each singer, were equally important aspects of the weekend. I wish all the singers and conductor-teachers well as we strive to revive the singing traditions in our local communities.”
Rollo A. Dilworth, D.Mus.
Vice Dean and Professor of Choral Music Education
Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts, Temple University 
"Thank you for your devotion, discipline and passion in bringing We Are A Choir, (and some of you, as many as four other works) to life! This has been an amazing journey, full of thoughts, ideas, feelings, and, hopefully, a great deal of fun! Thank you also for your thoughtful questions, your positive attitude and your beautiful voices. We have shared a lot together. You will always have a place in my heart, and you definitely have the most “fabulous feet” in the world! Never stop singing!" Composer - Daniel Brewbaker
“In my time with the Portland Symphonic Girlchoir, I was moved by the community that is present among the singers. It is a family that co-conductors Deb Burgess and Roberta Jackson have established.  Furthermore, I am in awe at the organization’s commitment to new music.  With over 40 works commissioned by their organization, choirs the world over benefit from their generous contribution to the art form.  The warmth and openness of the singers—a reflection of their teachers, made my time in Portland an absolute delight. It was an honor to compose a new work for them and I hope our paths cross again.”  - Dr. Andrea Ramsey


“The Girlchoir is remarkable. The Portland Symphonic Girlchoir is an important organization and it is a privilege to be associated with you.”
Conductor, Master Teacher, Author, Editor - Dr. Doreen Rao

"Thank you for another wonderful collaboration with the Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra and the Portland Symphonic Girlchoir. I feel that the performance today was a great success. 
The choir sang and performed beautifully, and I was very impressed with the flexibility and professionalism of the ensemble. It is extremely unusual for an ensemble of young singers to be thrust into a professional setting where there is such limited rehearsal time and then perform so solidly. This is a testament to the talent of the singers in your ensemble and to your leadership and direction. The orchestra members were delighted with our collaboration, and I am receiving wonderful, positive feedback about the program from many patrons who attended the performance."

Steven Byess, Music Director
Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra

“Congratulations!  So well-deserved (ASCAP Award)!  There's no question that the PSG has made major contributions to treble chorus literature and is truly expert at adventuresome programming. Truly, my collaborations with PSG and its directors have been significant contributions to my growth as a composer and arranger. Bravi tutti!” 

Composer - Lee Kesselman

“Your chorus sounds excellent. Your rendition of I THANK YOU GOD was most inspired! Bravo to you!” 
Composer - Gwyneth Walker
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