Rachael ST

Rachel Sartori-Thomas

About Rachel

I grew up loving music and was a choir girl through college.  Music impacted my life in an incredibly powerful way as I developed both a sense of inner strength and the beauty of singing with a group. As a teacher, I incorporated music into most dimensions of the school day.  Now I bring to the board my passion for choral music and my enthusiasm to effectively promote the mission and vision of PGC.

Why I Serve PGC

I first became aware of PGC in the summer of 2015.  This was when Aaron, my then fiancé, joined the board and I experienced it more as those annoying monthly meetings when I didn’t get to be with the love of my life, than anything else.  I remember attending the Christmas concert that year.  It was the first choral concert I had been to in a long time.  Suddenly, I was taken back to my own youth and my experience singing in choir.  I remembered singing in a local children’s choir as an 8-year old, wondering how I would fit in and how I would learn to sing the songs.  From there, I remembered joining the school choir in 6th grade, learning to read music, sight singing, doing hand gestures to learn solfege… And the memories continued flooding in: singing in small group ensembles through high school, auditioning for upper-level choirs, going to festivals, presenting moving renditions of powerful choral music, complicated rhythms, harmonies, dissonance…”Dip your finger in the water, come and cool my tongue ‘cause I’m tormented by the flame”…

I remember finding my way, finding my voice; I remember belonging.  Being in choir, I knew I had something unique to offer; I was a contribution and my voice mattered.

All this flooded back to me, during that single concert, though, not with words but with emotion; with deep feeling.

As I continued to tag along with Aaron that year, I wondered what, if anything, I could contribute to PGC.  Something had awoken within me and I realized a desire to promote, support, encourage, and engage with this organization.  I realized a desire to ensure that other young women would have such a powerful opportunity to find their voice and their own sense of belonging. 

What I know is that there is something inherently powerful about bringing young women together, to use their voices to create an emotional experience for others.  This ability to create is integral to who we are as human beings; to know that our voice, our contribution matters and can effect change in ourselves and others; we can effect change in the world.  And, as a chorus, each voice matters; one voice cannot do it alone. 

I remember my choir instructor, during my freshman year of high school, saying we were only as strong as the weakest voice, and it was our collective responsibility to support each other and at the same time take full responsibility for our part.  This is movement away from independence and codependence, to interdependence: something our current social context is shy of. 

So many of us, as adults, harbor fear and resentment from all those relationships, both present and past, that have left us feeling insecure, unwilling to trust another person, and determined to do it all ourselves.  With thoughts similar to, “How in the world can I let my guard down and trust that you will actually hold the highest good for me?”

But what if we could cultivate a belief about what is actually possible for humanity?  That we can find places and people where we are held and supported and people take responsibility for their part.  A place where we can stand strong and speak up with our own voice, and be heard.  A place where our authentic expression of heart and soul sends a ripple effect out into the hearts that receive it and goodness, possibility and love expand in the world?

The Phoenix Girls Chorus happens to be just such a place.  Now happens to be just such a time.  Through Leadership, Service and Song, Danya and her exceptional team are cultivating the young hearts of each PGC girl to stand strong, to use her voice, to authentically express what is good and possible in the world.  Through rigorous classical training in choral music; through discipline and self-ownership; through team-work and trust in each other, PGC girls are embracing courage and perseverance that is expanding good in the world.  PGC is dropping a pebble in the water and watching the circles ripple out. 

And now I invite you to consider how your own heart, soul and mind has woken up to a desire to promote, support, encourage, and engage with this organization.  What would it be like to ensure that young women have a powerful opportunity to find their voice and their own sense of belonging?  What would it be like to know that your contribution is impacting the greater world around us?  Here are ways that you can get involved today:

Explore what we’ve been up via Facebook and Instagram and the PGC website

Join us at our next concert

Give to support our programming and operations costs…

And see how the ripples of good continue to expand in the world. 

Thinking of joining Phoenix Girls Chorus?

*Tickets are for eligible choir-age girls (4-17 years old) plus one parent/guardian.

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