Instead of helping her prepare for a solo singing performance this past Saturday, a Chester County couple was grieving the loss of their 11-year-old daughter as police investigated her shooting death.
The West Chester Area School District posted memorial service information on its web site Tuesday for Katherine "Katie" Jane Kolinger Urban, a sixth-grader at G.A. Stetson Middle School who enjoyed soccer and music. She was the daughter of Paul Barry Urban Jr. and Jane Lantz Urban.
Authorities say she was the victim of an apparent accidental shooting by her 14-year-old brother at the family's Westtown Township home in the 500 block of Coventry Lane at 3:26 p.m. on Friday.
Westtown-East Goshen Township Regional Police have released few details, such as whose gun was involved and why it was loaded, saying that the incident remains under investigation. An update on the probe is expected later this week, police said Tuesday.
"She was a lovely and kind girl with a sweet voice," said Paula R. Zerkle, a music professor at Moravian College in Bethlehem.
Zerkle, who heads the college's choral music program, said Katie Urban was scheduled to perform at Christmas vespers the day after she died. She was one of six students selected in November to sing solo portions of a traditional Moravian hymn, "Morning Star," said Zerkle, who described the audition process in October as competitive.
Singers must also have a connection to Moravian, Zerkle said. Katie Urban's mother and her grandfather both attended the college.
"Katie was a beloved and very outgoing young girl, with a long list of friends gained through school and extracurricular activities such as soccer, Girl Scouts, and a children's chorus," said Robert Patridge, a spokesman for the West Chester Area School District.
Patridge said she was particularly known for in stringed instruments and chorus. In addition to school programs, she was a member of the Kennett Symphony Children's Chorus, he said.
"She was so energetic in her musical pursuits that she pushed her music teacher to explore additional performance material last year, and he came away being thrilled with what they accomplished," Patridge said.
He said Tuesday that more than two dozen students had availed themselves of counseling services the district made available after the girl's death. Katie Urban was in her first year at G.A. Stetson Middle School after attending Sarah Starkweather Elementary School, he said.
"Several parents reported that their children were quite upset by the tragedy and looked to their peers for support in getting through this," Partridge said.
A viewing is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday at Danjolell Memorial Homes and Crematory in Broomall, 2811 West Chester Pike, Broomall. A memorial service is to be held Friday at 11 a.m. at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, 727 Harvard Ave. Swarthmore, according to the funeral home.
The family has requested donations in Katie Urban's memory to the West Chester United Soccer Club in Westtown Township, Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, or the Kennett Symphony Children's Chorus in Kennett Square.