Washougal seventh-grader to perform at Carnegie Hall

Emily Lampmann will sing at famed NYC concert hall this summer with Portland Symphonic Girlchoir

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Jemtegaard Middle School seventh-grader Emily Lampmann sings at a Washougal residence, Friday, March 1, 2024.

During her first visit to New York City in 2023, Emily Lampmann attended a concert at Citi Field, home of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets, and a play on Broadway. She’s planning to return to the Big Apple later this year, not as a spectator but rather as a performer — at one of the most prestigious venues in the world for classical and popular music.

Emily, a seventh-grade student at Jemtegaard Middle School, will perform with the Portland Symphonic Girlchoir (PSG) June 23, at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

“I’m really, really excited,” Emily said. “I love traveling, and I love singing, and (with this opportunity), both of those are going to be combined. It’s huge. I’ll get to perform in front of so many people at such a cool place with so many great (singers).”

Emily, who has sung several solos for the Jemtegaard school choir, joined the PSG earlier this year on the recommendation of her voice coach, Vancouver-based Cynthia Bjore.

“We actually scouted out two different choirs for consideration,” said Jennifer Lampmann, Emily’s mother. “Both choirs were competitive, but she ultimately chose PSG because they focus on the growth of the girls individually as a person, as a whole.”

“I was really excited (to join PSG),” Emily added. “I’ve already had a good experience at my school choir, but I thought this would just be a really cool opportunity to hang out with girls who want to sing in a more professional (environment), not necessarily just a class that you were put in.”

The PSG, led by conductors Roberta Jackson and Debra Burgess, performs at a variety of events each year, mostly in the Portland area. It features four age-based ensembles, consisting of girls ages 5 to 18 from more than 90 schools in the Portland metro and Southwest Washington areas who meet weekly at Zion Lutheran Church in Portland to rehearse.

“Basically, we work on different songs,” Emily said. “Usually they’re in different languages. It’s actually pretty cool, though, because I love to learn (new languages).”

The PSG, Portland’s first public choir for girls, was launched by the Portland Symphonic Choir (PSC) in 1989. With a $2,000 grant from the Oregon Arts Commission and assistance from a PSC subcommittee, Jackson, a Portland-area music educator, began recruiting singers, acquiring a venue, and planning concerts.

The PSG premiered at a PSC concert in Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in 1989, performed its first solo concert in 1990, and became an independent nonprofit organization in 1997. It regularly commissions new works and has presented 45 world-premiere performances.

“All of the girls are really sweet and welcoming, and so are the choir directors, (who) are obviously really great singers,” Emily said. “It’s really fun to learn from them. I definitely do want to stay with them (for the next several years). They just bring so many cool opportunities. It’s just really fun being there.”

Emily, a soprano, is a member of the PSG’s Intermezzo ensemble, which consists of singers ages 10 to 13.

“Being in a more professional choir, I’ve definitely improved (my ability) to sing in parts,” she said. “I obviously did that in my school choir, but it wasn’t nearly as advanced. Being able to hold my part while there’s other girls singing completely different notes than I am is something that I’ve really been working on and improving on.”

Emily has been singing for virtually as long as she has been able to speak, bolstered by her own passion and the support of a “musical family,” including her father, Arno, a seasoned piano player, according to Jennifer.

“(Singing) always makes me super happy,” said Emily, who hopes to become a stage actress one day. “It makes me want to dance. It makes me want to yell super loud until my throat hurts. It’s always been a really big part of me, listening to music everywhere I possibly can because it just brightens my mood. I’ve always known that (singing) is something that I just really love.”

Emily has “a pretty good ear” and an ability to sing a song after hearing it for the first time, but distinguishes herself from others with her “fearless” attitude, according to Jennifer.

“The first time that we heard her sing in front of people was when she was in kindergarten. There was a play that her teacher put on, ‘The Little Red Hen,’” Jennifer said. “I remember asking her before the show and after the show if she was nervous or anything, and there was no sign of nerves. She did so well in front of all the people that were there, a full gym.

“We’re a pretty musical family, so (seeing her start to sing) wasn’t that big of a deal,” she continued. “We can carry a tune. But what differentiated her was how she took it to the next level and how she grew within it and (her ability to) put herself out there to perform in front of people and take every single opportunity that comes her way.”

Emily is raising funds for her trip. To make a donation, visit