- Jessie Pierpont directs middle school chorus students earlier this year
Tween and teen female singers take note: Choir director and music teacher Jessie Pierpont is launching the Vermont Girls Choir in Burlington this fall. Auditions will take place this summer. Pierpont aims to enroll 25 girls, ages 12 to 18, in the choir, which will practice two afternoons a week at the First United Methodist Church on Buell Street. The musical selections will range from sacred anthems and psalms to pop, folk and show tunes. Pierpont says an all-girls group creates a unique learning environment, one that fosters female empowerment and allows singers to focus on developing skills without "drama and distraction." The Chelsea resident knows. Growing up in Connecticut, she sang with the New Haven-based Elm City Girls' Choir, a formative experience that sparked her passion for choral music. After graduating from Castleton State College (now Castleton University) with a degree in piano performance in 2014, Pierpont earned her master's degree in choral conducting from the University of Arizona, then settled in Chelsea in 2016. That's where she started the original Vermont Girls Choir as well as the Vermont Chamber Artists, with financial backing from the Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon. But the small population in the region made it hard to sustain singing groups, so she put those projects on the back burner to teach music at two elementary schools and, most recently, fill in as the director of choral activities at Northern Vermont University. But she "missed ... developing girls' voices," she said, so she looked to the more populous Burlington to revive the girls choir.