Holding a BM degree in Music Education from Westminster Choir College and graduate studies towards a MM in Voice Performance and Opera from Temple University, Holly has enjoyed over 30 years in a multi-faceted career working as an accomplished professional singer, voice teacher/clinician, choral director and composer.
Holly has appeared extensively as a concert artist in the tri-state area, as well as in Italy, and was on the rosters of both the chorus of the Opera Company of Philadelphia (now Opera Philadelphia) and The Philadelphia Singers, where she also served for many years as the Director of Education and Voice Builder for The Philadelphia Singers Chorale, the resident choir for The Philadelphia Orchestra.
As a teacher and choral director, Holly has directed music programs in public and private schools, including New Hope-Solebury Jr./Sr. High School, Friends Select School, Temple University (Music Director of Temple U. Music Prep Children’s Choir), Hotchkiss Summer Portals Vocal Music Program (voice faculty and member of resident quartet), Academy of Vocal Arts (theory/solfeggio instructor and Director of the Opera Outreach education program), and St. Joseph’s University (adjunct Vocal Faculty member). She has also assisted in preparing choirs for Opera on the Square and the Welcome America Voices of Liberty Choir on the Parkway. She presently continues her work with Opera Philadelphia in facilitating group workshops for adults and children in vocal technique, as well as outreach teaching for their innovative Hip H’Opera program.
Holly has over 30 years working in both church and synagogues, as soloist, accompanist, or Director of Music. Ms. Phares recently retired after 25 years serving as Director of Music for Tabernacle United Church in West Philadelphia.
Holly was the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Umbrian Serenades, an Italian summer choral/cultural program from its inception in 2005 until 2011. In 2013, Holly founded a unique vocal ensemble, The Healing Presence Singers, a local “comfort choir” which serves those who are experiencing difficult life transitions, such as hospice, homelessness, chronic illness, and social justice events. The other choir for which Holly serves as Music Director is ParkinSingers, a choir especially designed for people living with Parkinson’s and their care partners.
When she is not conducting, singing or teaching in the classroom, Holly maintains an active private studio in voice and frequently offers workshops and seminars in choral and vocal techniques, vocal improvisation and composition throughout the region.