- Wallis Peterson, Founder and Artistic Advisor
- Sylvia Aycock, Artistic Director
- Nicole Allen, Associate Director
- Jorge Valls, Associate Director
- Carolyn Morgan, Accompanist
- Anita Smith, Accompanist
- Lucia Deus, Choreographer
- Elena Galván, Voice Instructor
Founder and Artistic Advisor
Wallis Peterson is the founding Artistic Director of the Girl Choir, and currently serves as Artistic Advisor.
Mrs. Peterson has been an active as a choral director, music educator, and clinician in South Florida since 1990. She began her career as the choral director for South Broward High School, where she built a program that included award-winning mixed, men’s and women’s ensembles. She also served as the music director for the children and youth choirs at First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale, preparing young singers for a variety of performances and festivals locally and throughout the state of Florida.
Mrs. Peterson also served as the director of the Training Choir for the Florida’s Singing Sons Boychoir from 1998 through 2006. In this capacity, she worked with eighty to one-hundred 3rd and 4th grade boys each year, preparing them for a minimum of three concerts throughout the season.
Mrs. Peterson was the music specialist for The Blake School in Plantation from 1994 to 2017, where she directed choirs with members ranging in age from seven to fourteen. She also provided general music instruction to all pre-K through 8th graders, and the entire student body participates in a minimum of two major concerts each year. Her students regularly participated in All-County, All-State, and ACDA honor choirs.
Mrs. Peterson was a member of the National Association for Music Education, the Florida Vocal Association, the Florida Elementary Music Educators Association, and the American Choral Directors Association. She also served as the Repertoire and Standards Chair for Community Choirs for Florida ACDA. She is a former member of Nova Singers and other South Florida community choirs.
Mrs. Peterson holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University.
Concert Choir and Chamber Singers
Sylvia Aycock started singing at age of 11 with the Girl Choir of South Florida, joining the group in its first season. While she was a student at Girl Choir, she earned the title of Figlia di Coro and acted as a rehearsal assistant for the Primes Choir until she graduated.
Ms. Aycock went on to earn her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University where she won several grants to conduct research on community music education in Brazil, and completed her honors thesis on the topic. Applying what she learned in her research, Ms. Aycock started a choir at the PACE Center for Girls and served as the Chorister Assistant at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tallahassee, FL.
Formerly, Ms. Aycock directed five choirs comprising a total of 200 students at Eagles Landing Middle School in Boca Raton, Florida. Her students regularly received high ratings at district and state assessments, and traveled to perform in the Heritage Music Festival in New York City in 2019.
Ms. Aycock is honored to be shaping the future of Girl Choir, teaching and continuing the traditions that helped shape her.
As an alumna and founding member of The Girl Choir of South Florida, Nicole Allen is honored to continue creating beautiful music with this incredible organization. She found her love of teaching and passion for music as a student teacher and active chorister under the direction of Wallis Peterson. Mrs. Allen graduated with honors from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and graduated in 2017 from Florida Atlantic University with a Master of Arts in English Literature.
Mrs. Allen is pursuing a career as a full-time professor and currently teaches English and History courses at Palm Beach Atlantic University. She works as a writing consultant for students, faculty, and community members at FAU and regularly mentors college and high school students.
Mrs. Allen has maintained her private piano studio for 13 years and also serves as a piano, voice, and flute instructor at Creative Arts Academy in Lake Worth. She plays piano and volunteers at Common Ground Church.
Mrs. Allen has been on staff at GCSF since 2012 and served as Artistic Director from 2018-2019.
Jorge Valls is a musician whose passion for musical excellence and youth led him to pursue a career in music education. He holds a B.M. in Music Education from Palm Beach Atlantic University, where he graduated summa cum laude. Over the past six summers, Mr. Valls worked as a cabin counselor at Interlochen Arts Camp and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, both in Michigan. In summer of 2013, he traveled as a performer and staff member for the Blue Lake International Choir, which toured throughout Germany, France, and Luxembourg. In addition, he has taught several workshops for the De George Academy of The Arts at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. Mr. Valls is currently an Associate Director for the Girl Choir of South Florida. He has had the privilege of serving as director for the Primes, Apprentice, Concert, and Chamber choirs.
Mr. Valls currently teaches at Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, FL. Prior to Bak, Mr. Valls built the choral program at Eagles Landing Middle School in Boca Raton. Choirs under his direction consistently received high ratings at district performance assessments and competitions. They have also received first place in their divisions at the Festival Disney competition, Music USA competition in Orlando, Heritage Music Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Heritage Festival of Gold in Chicago, Illinois. In the Fall of 2018, he conducted the Bak Middle School of the Arts Chorale at the Florida ACDA conference held at Stetson University. Students in his programs have participated in many district, state, and national honor choirs. Mr. Valls is an active clinician throughout the state of Florida.
Devoted to cultivating music education in the community, he holds memberships in the National Association for Music Education, the Florida Vocal Association, the American Choral Directors Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity.
Primes, Concert & Chamber Singers
Pianist Carolyn S. Morgan received her Master of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory and has held professorships at New Mexico Highlands University, Wells College in New York, and Florida International University.
After winning first place in the North Carolina Symphony auditions, she toured with the orchestra, performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1. For their Carnegie Recital Hall debut, Morgan and duo partner, pianist Douglas Riva, performed works by American composers—the same program they performed on their U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of Spain. The duo subsequently recorded the works for Musical Heritage Society.
Ms. Morgan has performed in many South Florida chamber ensembles and was featured piano soloist with orchestra and chorus in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. In addition to accompanying three of the ensembles with The Girl Choir of South Florida, Carolyn is accompanist for the Broward Women’s Chorale, organist for First Church of Christ, Scientist, and maintains a private teaching studio in Ft. Lauderdale.
Anita Smith, a native Floridian, received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Florida State University. Ms. Smith taught Vocal and General Music in Elementary, Middle, and High Schools in her hometown of Naples, Florida, and in Boca Raton for 36 years. Her choruses consistently received Excellent and Superior ratings at Festivals and her students were chosen to participate in Honor Choirs in Florida and the Southeastern U.S. She conducted the Palm Beach County Middle School Honor choir in the Spotlight on Young Musicians Concert at the Kravis Center in 2005.
Ms. Smith has been organist and soprano soloist at several churches in Naples, and currently at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Delray Beach. She performs as a jazz vocalist and sings with the Prime Time Music Orchestra Big Band.
Ms. Smith is a sought after accompanist in Palm Beach and Broward Counties. She has worked with the Girl Choir of South Florida for three years. This year she accompanies the Mezzo Choir.
Lucia Deus currently teaches Theater at Cooper City High School. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Broward College.
She served as choreographer for numerous Kirk Singers productions at First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale as well as choreographer for Florida’s Singing Sons Boychoir.
Mrs. Deus has pursued an active theatre career as an actor, dancer, director, choreographer, puppeteer, and educator in South Florida for many years. Her regional performing credits include, Helena Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Robin in Godspell, Emma/Poly in Funny Girl, Tia in Breathing Under Water, and Susan in the Sheep Dog Who Danced Ballet. She was a member of both the New View Dance Company and the Iotaro Dance Company.
Praised for her “voice [that] shines with a winsome, lyric luster,” soprano Elena Galván, from Ithaca, NY, is gaining recognition as a young soprano with “deft timing and repartee of a natural comedienne.” Elena’s 2020 season begins with a filmed and virtually produced Gianni Schicchi with Opera Ithaca in which she performs the role of Lauretta. She will also return to First Coast Opera to perform the title role in a workshop of “Penelope Ann’s Revenge” by Curt Tucker. “Elena’s 2019/20 season brought four role debuts in her return to Opera San Jose; Adele in Die Fledermaus, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Papagena and Pamina (cover with orchestral performance) in Die Zauberflöte. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the OSJ production of Die Zauberflöte was postponed. She made her house debut with Hawaii Opera Theatre in the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and also debuted with the Oakland Symphony in 2020 to perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. Also in the 19/20 season, Elena joined Fort Worth Opera for a virtual workshop of the new composition by James Lowe, Poppea, based on the piece by Monteverdi. Elena returned to the mainstage of Florida Grand Opera in 2019 to perform the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, and made her role debut of Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Livermore Valley Opera. Elena joined First Coast Opera for a Bernstein Celebration concert and performed Händel’s Messiah with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Arts at Grace Series, and the Binghamton Downtown Singers.
Elena also has performed leading roles with companies such as Florida Grand Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Kentucky Opera, Lamplighters Music Theatre, Opera Santa Barbara, Virginia Opera, and Opera Saratoga, as well as performing with Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the NuDeco Ensemble, Napa Valley Symphony, and more. Elena has been awarded Second Place in the Lois Alba Aria Competition, and Encouragement awards in two districts of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Elena has maintained a private voice studio since 2010. She holds a Bachelor in Music in both Vocal Performance and Music Education from Ithaca College, and a Masters in Music in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Elena has been a part of Educational Outreach programs through Florida Grand Opera, Kentucky Opera, Virginia Opera, and the San Francisco Opera Guild. Elena has been on the Voice Faculty of Ithaca College’s Summer Music Academy for three years, and currently is an Adjunct Voice Faculty at North Broward Preparatory School. | www.elenagalvan.com