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Hamilton-Gibson Choirs at the Capitol

Hamilton-Gibson Children & Youth Choirs sing in 67 counties


by Jan Murphy / - April 30, 2015

No one can accuse Hamilton-Gibson Children and Youth Choirs of not living up to their state House designation as “Pennsylvania’s Singing Youth Ambassadors.”

Since being dubbed with that distinction through the passage of resolution offered by Rep. Matt Baker, R-Tioga, the fourth through 12th graders who have participated in this 20-year-old community choral program have performed in all 67 counties. They completed their “67 Initiative” on Tuesday with a performance in Chester County.

On Wednesday, the 48-member choir celebrated their goal with a performance in the state Capitol where its statewide tour began that often included a performance of the state song, “Pennsylvania.”

The choral program was dubbed singing youth ambassadors in 2001 and began sharing their music with performances in and around their home base in Tioga County.

Over the past seven years, they focused on performing in the rest of the counties, singing in a variety of venues ranging from retirement homes and schools to a Philadelphia Phillies’ game, historical sites, a restaurant and churches. Occasionally, they sang along with other choirs.

One of their performances was at the Little League World Series in 2001 before then-President George W. Bush, which was among the many highlights for those involved with this program.

Choir members said they enjoyed sharing their music with others and making people smile while gaining a better understanding of how big Pennsylvania really is.

Jacob Ritter, 17, a homeschooled student from Blossburg, said he never really spent much time outside of Tioga County before the choir went on its quest.

“I’m just glad to get out of the house,” he said.

His mother, Clare, said the choir members who come from four different school districts, private school as well as some being homeschooled practice one day a week.

Since it began its statewide tour, she guesses more than 100 young people were involved along the way in helping choirs achieve the “67 Initiative” goal.

Reaching that goal took a lot of time and planning but well worth it, said Thomas Putnam, who directs the choirs and was a founder of the program.

“It’s been an incredible journey to be able to travel all over the state and meet really wonderful people and really feeling like ambassadors of song,” he said.


Writing: Jan Murphy /


Produced by Vogt Media

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