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Today's Concert Program

The program

Combined Choruses


Rosephanye Powell

Helen Kernizan, conductor

Adult Chorus

Caritas Abundat

Hildegard von Bingen

Nancy Grundahl

Jennifer Jenkins, soprano

On the Common Ground

Alice Parker

Vanessa Silva, soprano

Jennifer Jenkins, conductor


Arabesque No. 1, Op. 61

Cécile Chaminade

James Lubrano, piano

Youth Chorus

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Mary Lynn Lightfoot

The Turtle and the Flamingo

Jill Friedersdorf & Melissa Keylock


Diana Sáez


Andrea Ramsey

Be the Change

Laura Farnell


Prelude in G minor

Clara Schumann

Brenda Day, organ

Adult Chorus

Light Looked Down

Eleanor Daley

Brenda Day, organ and conductor


Elaine Hagenberg

Margie Thomas, cello

Maddie Meier, conductor

Lamiya's Song

Michael Bussewitz-Quarm

Jessica Rowe, conductor

The Gift To Sing

Joan Szymko

Maddie Meier, conductor

Take What You Need

Reena Esmail

Maddie Meier, conductor

Combined Choruses


Rosephanye Powell

Helen Kernizan, conductor

Helen Kernizan

Meet the Conductors and soloists


Ms. Helen Kernizan is the Youth Chorus director with Rise Up Chorus. Her biggest passion is educating young people to become the best musicians possible. Her educational philosophy is guided by three tenets: all children have a right to an education in the Arts, have the ability to be musical and improve musicality regardless of musical aptitude, and have the capacity for music literacy. Since 2017, Ms. Kernizan has worked as the Choral Director at the Township of Ocean Intermediate School (TOIS), where she directs both its Choir and Select Choir. At TOIS, she collaborates with colleagues to organize the District’s Annual Music in Our Schools Month Concert series and the Intermediate School’s Annual Arts Cafe. In addition to her work with Rise Up Chorus and in a public school setting, Ms. Kernizan is the K-8 Chorus and Music Chair with the Central Jersey Music Educators Association (CJMEA). She is responsible for organizing Region II Intermediate and Elementary Honor and Region choirs. CJMEA consists of six counties: Hunterdon, Monmouth, Mercer, Somerset, Middlesex, and Union.

Maddie Meier

Maddie Meier, an internationally-trained soprano, conductor and teacher from St. Louis, Missouri, received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Bachelor of Arts in German with a minor in French from Montclair State University. She graduated in 2020, summa cum laude. During her time at Montclair, she received a full-ride scholarship to study for a year at the Kunstuniversität Graz in Austria. She has done solo voice work with different Baroque Chamber Ensembles in and outside of the United States, and has sung a variety of different operatic and musical theater roles, in addition to concert works. Recently, she has performed as a soprano soloist for Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and the American Repertory Ballet Theater. She has also performed as the soprano soloist for Handel’s Messiah, in addition to performing Haydn’s Creation with the South Orange Symphony Orchestra. Maddie Meier was a finalist in The Kentucky Bach Choir’s Audrey Rooney Vocal Bach Competition in 2021. She is also thrilled to be collaborating with professional singing ensemble, The Princeton Singers, for their upcoming Fall, 2022 concert series. As a conductor, Ms. Meier has been accepted as a Conducting Fellow at various conducting institutes across the country. She is looking forward to working as a Conducting Fellow with the Princeton Girlchoir this coming Fall (2022), in addition to continuing her work as a Choral Intern with Rise Up Chorus's Adult Chorus. Ms. Meier is the Choral Music Director at Neptune Township High School, where she directs two SATB choruses, in addition to directing the after school dramatic and musical productions. She also directs the school’s international, award-winning a cappella ensemble. She currently resides in Princeton, New Jersey, where she performs and runs her own private voice, violin, piano and language studio (Maddie Meier Music Studio, LLC). In her spare time, Maddie is a voracious reader, who loves to paint, hike, cook and garden.


Moriah Kam


Moriah Kam is the Youth Chorus Intern for Rise Up chorus. She has a passion for educating young minds through self-discovery, games and inquisitive questions. 

She is currently working as the General Music Teacher and Choir Director for Frost Elementary School at East Brunswick. She also graduated with a Music Education with a concentration of choral music as a pianist at Rutgers, Mason Gross School of the Arts. Under the tutilitiage of Karina Bruk since 2018, she hopes that she will be able to advance in her piano studies. She was involved in a variety of ensembles as a member or staff accompanist; Voorhees Choir, Symphony Band, Rutgers Children's Choir, Rutgers Scarlet Singers, St. Luke's Metuchen Choir, St. Luke’s Schola, Roosmoor Interfaith Church and Roosmoor Adult Choir). She has studied and performed in several festivals and facilities including Brevard Music Center (South Carolina), Summer Music In Tuscany (South Tuscany), and Carnegie Hall (New York). She discovered her passion for teaching when privately teaching  in 2018 in the New Brunswick and Bridgewater area. Moriah has a background in musical theater, wind ensemble, sewing and ultimate frisbee!

Jennifer Jenkins

After receiving her B.A. from Montclair State University, Jennifer Jenkins has been a vocal and general music teacher for 20 years in NJ. Since 2000, she has made a home at Nettingham Middle School in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District teaching 5th and 6th grade general music and directing the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade choruses. While working in the SPF District, Mrs. Jenkins earned her M.M. in Music Education from Rutgers University and her Kodály Certification from NYU.  During her time at Nettingham, she established the Crimson Choir, a 7th and 8th grade auditioned choir; sponsored students in NJMEA and ACDA Regional, State, Eastern, and National Choirs; managed, accompanied, and conducted the Region II Intermediate SSAB Chorus (2013) and Treble Chorus (2019); and conducted the NJMEA/ACDA NJ Jr. High Honor Choir (2022).  In 2007, she was accepted into the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program.  From 2010-2015, Mrs. Jenkins conducted the Youth Choirs of the Celebration Singers, a community choir located in Cranford, NJ.  While conducting the Youth Choirs, she instituted the Middle C’s, an advanced HS ensemble, premiered the Youth Showcase, and prepared the Children’s Choir for a performance at Carnegie Hall.  Mrs. Jenkins met her husband while singing with the Adult Choir of the Celebration Singers, and now they enjoy sharing their love of music with their 9 year old son, Ryan.  Mrs. Jenkins currently sings in an annual AIDS benefit concert with the Triad Vocal Ensemble and Rise Up Chorus in Middlesex County. 


Brenda Day


Brenda Day recently retired from her position at the First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen where she served for 39 years.  She is a graduate of Westminster Choir College where she studied with Donald McDonald.  She is looking forward to being a substitute organist at area churches as well as doing some accompanying and teaching.  One of her favorite activities is playing with her three-year old granddaughter, Cadence.

Jessica Rowe

Jessica Rowe is a passionate music teacher that specializes in the Orff Schulwerk approach to elementary core music. She currently teaches at the Elias Howe School, P.S. 51, in New York City. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance and her Master’s degree in Music Education from New York University.


Margie Thomas


Margie Thomas began her studies of the cello at age 8. A graduate of Metuchen High School, Mrs. Thomas attended the New School of Music, as a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, where she studied with Orlando Cole, of the Curtis String Quartet. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The University of Miami (FL) and a Master of Music degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Mrs. Thomas was awarded a full tuition scholarship from SMU to study with Lev Aaronson, Erick Friedman and Anshel Brusilow. She has performed as principal cello with the New Brunswick chamber Orchestra as a member of the New Jersey Pops Orchestra. Most recently Mrs. Thomas has performed with the Northern Neck Orchestra of Virginia. This is Margie’s second appearance with Rise Up Chorus.

Ms. Thomas has appeared at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and in New York City’s Carnegie Hall. She performed two tours in Italy with the Rome Festival Orchestra. Margie has taught chamber music and cello at the FAME Festival, and at the Philadelphia International Music Festival. In addition to maintaining a private studio in Edison, New Jersey, she is currently in her 20th year as a member of the music faculty in the Metuchen, New Jersey Schools.

Mrs. Thomas is a certified instructor of Social Emotional Learning and Character Development in Schools and After-School Programs, (for direct instruction) from Rutgers. Margie was a member the New Jersey SEL Arts task force, integrating SEL competencies into the NJ Visual and Performing Arts Standards and presented webinars for ArtsEd NJ on SEL integration into core content.

James Lubrano

James Lubrano has served as pianist for many choral festivals and honor choirs, including All-State and Regions for NJACDA and NJMEA. He is also a collaborative pianist for the Celebration Singers, Manhattan Concert Productions, Princeton Girlchoir, Rise Up Chorus and the choirs at The College of New Jersey, Somerville, Ridge, and Woodbridge High Schools. In addition to coaching Broadway performers and soloists of the Metropolitan Opera, he recently premiered Dan Forrest’s Jubilate Deo at Carnegie Hall, under the direction of Henry Leck. He has prepared and performed with various ensembles at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kimmel Center, and NJPAC. He has performed in the UNICEF / Steinway "Peace Piano" World Tour Showcase, the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, and Lied Austria International. Additional performances include the 2015 Midwest Clinic with the Eastern Wind Symphony, and the 2016 ACDA Eastern Division Conference with the NJ Youth Chorus. He has also served as Music Director/Accompanist for over 150 musical theater productions.


Florence Simons


Pianist Florence Simons enjoys a varied career as a piano teacher, accompanist, music director and performer. Florence has been a staff accompanist at Westminster Choir College, has accompanied for various elementary and middle school choirs and orchestras and has played for workshops, master classes, and recitals. In addition to teaching piano for various community music schools, Florence also maintains her own private piano studio in Princeton New Jersey where her students have participated in master classes, given Dr. James Goldsworthy, and prestigious competitions such as the Mid Atlantic Music Teacher’s Guild and Golden Key Festival. Florence’s other great love is musical theater where she has accompanied/music directed over 20 productions for various musical theatre summer camps and community theaters in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Favorite shows include, 13 the musical, Urinetown, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and Avenue Q. Currently Florence teaches piano and accompanies all musical productions, recitals, and musical theater classes at Music Nation Academy in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. She also accompanies the middle school orchestra at Martin Middle School in Marlton, New Jersey and is the pianist/accompanist at Tuckerton United Methodist Church in Tuckerton New Jersey. She loves teaching and passing on the gift of music!

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