Bobby Hill, who stunned the world with his soprano voice at the Festival of Families in the presence of Pope Francis, will perform at two sites visited by the pontiff during his visit last month. Bobby will be joined by fellow members of the Keystone State Boychoir (KSB) and its sister choir, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG).
On Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 7:00pm, Bobby and his fellow choristers will sing for inmates at the Riverside Correctional Facility, 8151 State Road, Philadelphia 19136. “When I saw the pope on TV visiting that prison, I thought it would be cool for my choir to sing for inmates since they need cheering up,” explains 14-year-old Hill. “But I didn’t think it could ever happen. But then I never thought I would sing for the pope. He was so nice and even gave me rosaries. So this is a way to thank him, by giving back.”
On Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 2:30pm at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul, Bobby and the choirs will sing at the Children’s Sabbath, an annual ecumenical service focused on the needs of children in our city. At 2:00pm, Bobby will have the opportunity to meet another celebrity, Sister Mary Scullion of Project HOME, at her now-famed grotto outside the Cathedral. Scullion will be the main speaker at the Children’s Sabbath, which is open to the public. “I’m so pleased these talented young people have agreed to join me at this event,” says Sister. I was there to hear Bobby sing live that night, and along with the Holy Father and millions of others, was so moved by his singing. His desire to fill the lives of the less fortunate with the joy of music is even more inspiring.
Two weeks before the pope’s arrival, the Boychoir and Girlchoir were asked to perform at the Parkway concert given in his honor. What no one knew, including the young singer himself until just five minutes before he walked on stage, was that Bobby would get a once in a lifetime chance to sing a solo for perhaps the most well known, beloved person alive. “There was an unexpected transition and the producers didn’t want the pope to be sitting there looking at a set change,” says Bobby’s choir director Steve Fisher. “I’m so glad they asked. Bobby’s voice deserves to be heard.” With his talent, as well as his poise in meeting the Holy Father, Bobby has captivated millions of hearts around the globe.
After Bobby sang at the Festival of Families concert on September 26th, emcee Mark Wahlberg hugged Bobby, and then declared, “that is the voice of an angel.” The Hollywood star then went onto to share what Bobby had whispered in his ear – “I loved you in Ted.” This prompted a public mea culpa from Wahlberg directly to the Holy Father for making a movie “not appropriate for a boy that age.”
It has been a whirlwind for Bobby and his family since he was thrust – literally – onto the international stage. Accolades and offers have to sing have come in from every continent, including Antarctica, where the Keystone State Boychoir made history in 2009 as the first choir to perform there. Andrew Lloyd Webber himself has called Bobby’s a cappella rendition of the famed composer’s Pie Jesu “absolutely stunning.” Webber, one of the most successful musical theatre writers of our time (Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock) has offered to accompany Bobby on the piece at a soon-to-be-announced NYC event.
“I’m so proud of Bobby,” says Fisher. “He’s been offered countless engagements over the last two weeks, and yet the event that has him the most excited is the prison concert. But that’s Bobby. He’s exactly the same today as he was before he walked out on that stage and inspired everyone. He’s a ham for sure. You’d have to be to do what he did. But he’s got a heart of gold. We’re all proud to know him.”
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