PRESS RELEASE: The Singing CPA President

Hellertown Singing Sensation Elected to Lead State Association

PHILADELPHIA - Cheri H. Freeh, a certified public accountant from Hellertown, Pa., was elected 2011-2012 president of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) at its annual meeting and conference, held this year in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Freeh, a principal with Hutchinson, Gillahan and Freeh PC in Quakertown, Pa.,
is former chair of PICPA's State Taxation Committee. She also serves on the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's (DCED) Act 32 advisory committee and the advisory committee on the local earned income tax register for the governor's Center for Local Government.
"For the past several years I have been very involved with PICPA's legislative agenda, and I look forward to continuing our efforts in improving the business climate for our membership, accountants in general, and the entire business community," Freeh said. "I believe PICPA is capable of helping to make Pennsylvania a better place to live and do business. I'm also excited about PICPA's efforts to address diversity in our profession, and anticipate continued momentum in developing these initiatives."
Despite having a full schedule as a CPA and PICPA volunteer leader, Freeh still finds time to devote to one of her passions: music. A talented singer, Freeh recently sang the national anthem before an audience of over 400 at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) 2011 spring council meeting in Washington, D.C. "I was pretty nervous because it's a difficult song to perform. I had this fear of pulling a Christina Aguilera and forgetting the words," said Freeh of the experience. "Now that it's over I can say I enjoyed doing it."
This wasn't the only time Freeh has performed before an audience. Singing since elementary school without ever having taken a lesson, Freeh started performing in school musicals and choir groups. "I've been blessed with a talent that people seem to like," said Freeh. She has performed the national anthem at little league all-star games and frequently performs in church. Freeh even recorded a CD with a contemporary Christian band. "I tease that I'm a professional," said Freeh, "because I've been a paid soloist for weddings and funerals."
But singing isn't the only musical gift Freeh possesses. After taking violin lessons and learning how to read sheet music as a child, Freeh taught herself how to play the flute, piano, and organ. "Once you know how to read music, the rest is easy," Freeh said.
Music has physically worked its way into Freeh's professional life too: her office is a converted church that houses one of the few working pipe organs in the state. The building was originally constructed in 1894 by the Reformed Church, which later became the United Church of Christ, and was one of Quakertown's first churches. After the building became too small to house the expanding number of parishioners, it was sold to a Baptist congregation, and then to a nondenominational Christian group. Hutchinson, Gillahan and Freeh PC moved into the building in the early 1990s. The church is listed on the Heritage Conservancy Register of Historic Places and is part of the recently recognized historic district in Quakertown on the National Historic Register. Inside the building a showcase displays historic documents about the church. "The sanctuary is still intact and we rent it to a church that has services every Sunday," explains Freeh. "During tax season I do the ultimate in multitasking: I do tax returns and attend church, because on Sunday mornings I can sit in my office and listen to the service while working."
Every Christmas the Hutchinson, Gillahan and Freeh PC office holds an open house bringing in a professional organist to play for an audience of 200 clients, community members, and local politicians. "We encourage any of our clients who want to play the organ to stop in," says Freeh. "I come in after hours sometimes to play."
Although juggling a career, an office building that's over 100 years old, a professional leadership role, and a family would be enough to fell even the most talented multitasker, Freeh ups the ante through her charitable works. A breast cancer survivor, Freeh has been donating her hair to Lock of Love for years. She is a member and vice-chair of the board of trustees of St. Luke's Quakertown Hospital, and a board member for the Upper Bucks Chamber Foundation and the Quakertown Alive Main Street Organization. An animal lover, Freeh also volunteers with a Labrador Retriever recue group and serves as a foster home. Most recently Freeh opened her home to a 12-year-old black lab and a blind Great Dane who passed away this Easter. "When the travel during my presidency [for PICPA] slows down, I'll rescue another dog," says Freeh. "Knowing me, it will most likely be a special needs dog. I think it's going to be my Christmas present to myself."
The other officers elected were Robert C. Jazwinski, president-elect (Hermitage, Pa.); Robert F. Firely Jr., vice president (Sinking Springs, Pa.); Lisa A. Myers, vice president (Camp Hill, Pa.); and Julius C. Green, treasurer (Philadelphia).

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For more information or to set up an interview with Freeh, please contact Jacqueline Barnard, public relations coordinator, at (267) 675-6255 or jbarnard@picpa.org, or Kathleen Miller, communications manager, at (215) 972-6188 or kmiller@picpa.org.

The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants is a professional association of more than 20,000 members who work in public accounting, industry, government, and education. Founded in 1897, PICPA is the second-oldest state CPA organization in the United States. To find a member CPA in your area, visit our website at www.picpa.org and click on Find a CPA.