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Girls Choir of Harlem debuts

November 24, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Girls Choir of Harlem finally took center stage, dazzling a packed house in its first public performance since being created 18 years ago as the counterpart to the popular Boys Choir of Harlem.

The girls, who range in age from 8 to 18, sang for more than 2 1/2 hours Sunday night at Lincoln Center. Their voices were equally at home with composer Robert Schumann’s romantic moodiness and the joyful refrains of ``He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.″

``This is first time I’ve seen I’ve seen her sing,″ said Roger Leathers, watching his 16-year-old daughter, Juanita. ``This is nice, very nice.″

Though the girls choir was created in 1979, chronic financial problems in the boys’ program meant that the girls choir has been more off than on. A nationwide campaign this summer netted more than $800,000 in donations and saved the choir program, which had a $400,000 hole in its $3.2 million budget.

The girls choir now has a full-time director. But while the boys choir has 125 dates each year, the girls still don’t have an official concert schedule. Revlon sponsored Sunday’s performance.