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Road to 'Glee' a veritable obstacle course for Whitehall couple

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
File Photo
Jack Kelley of Whitehall operates a laptop equipped with the software Garageband while his daughter Lila Kelley, 8, sings along with her mother Lynnette Kelley, who plays guitar to the song 'Home,' by Phillip Phillips. The song is used for auditions for the family's glee choir.

Lynnette and Jack Kelley have big dreams for the show choir they started earlier this year, intended to mirror Fox's hit television series “Glee” and the 2003 film “School of Rock.”

Yet, the several months of teaching a group of middle and high school aged girls new tunes and how to sway to the rhythm on stage, have showed the Whitehall couple that it won't be easy.

“It was fun. I loved doing it. I just wish the girls loved doing it as much as I did,” said Lynnette, 44.

The Kelleys started a choir — “School of Glee” — for local youths in February, to give the youngsters the opportunity to learn modern music and perform at venues in the Pittsburgh region. The group, based out of the Whitehall municipal building, met weekly for the last several months perfecting their melodies.

Nine teenage girls, six songs and three performances later, the Kelleys say they've learned a lot and they're going to give this hobby a second go-around.

Auditions for the second season of “School of Glee” will be held today, Thursday, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Whitehall Borough Building, 100 Borough Park Drive. The choir is free to middle and high school aged youths with all talent levels.

“In my fantasy world, what this turns into — there are groups that we've seen or heard of that are really good,” Lynnette said, referring to the groups like the PS22 Chorus, directed by Gregg Breinberg, where elementary students from a public Staten Island school have performed at numerous high profile venues and on many television shows. “I would love for us to be that good, for the girls to be that happy. Music brings joy to me and I want to bring that joy to others.”

Getting there will take work, as the Kelleys said they learned in their first several months of “School of Glee.”

“We came across things that I never thought would be an issue,” Lynnette said, like teaching the girls to move to the beat of the music.

Jack, 45, had his place from the start — arranging music for the group. Lynnette quickly learned hers, as director.

“It just became very clear that they needed direction,” she said.

Lynnette said she'd like to step aside from center stage and let the performers take more of a lead.

Songs planned for this year's “School of Glee” include Come Sail Away” by Styx, “When I Grow Up” by the cast of the Broadway musical “Matilda” and “Re: Your Brains,” by Jonathan Coulton.

Those participating in the choir also will have their say on song selection this year, the Kelleys said. And, if they're talented on a particular instrument, that, too, could be included in the performances.

“If the kids keep coming, we'll keep doing this,” Jack Kelley said.

To register for “School of Glee,” email or contact the Kelleys via Facebook at

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or

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