“As an educator it sometimes disturbs me because there is an assumption that women should be teachers because we are nurturing. I maintain high expectations, I set a standard for my students and I have a real skill and talent in what I do. I believe that girls and women need to feel purposeful. What I teach them here will grow with them, they develop their talent, their minds and they understand their value as a human being. If the focus for young women is about being beautiful – then all they have is a declining asset. Music and singing is about your unique voice – and really it is all about having a voice that matters. Some girls arrive in the program they don’t value themselves, they are basically apologizing for the floorspace they take up in the room. And over time, I see them see themselves as being of value.” – Dianne Berkun Menaker is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.