Media Releases & Coverage – Commonwealth Youthchoirs
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts will host “Bobby Hill & Friends! A Family New Year’s Eve” at 4:00 pm on December 31, 2017. All proceeds will benefit the endARTSlessness campaign, for which Hill is the spokesperson. The initiative seeks to ensure that every school in our region has at least one arts program that can serve as a lifeline to lift young people up and out of creative poverty.
Hill became an overnight sensation when he performed for the Holy Father and millions of others around the world at a live, 2015 televised performance on the Parkway in honor of the pontiff. With a moment’s notice, due to an unexpected set change, Hill sang a glorious, a cappella rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu.” Webber himself praised the rendition as “simply stunning.” The evening’s emcee, actor Mark Wahlberg, declared Hill to have the “voice of an angel,” and since then he has been known as “the boy who sang for the Pope.”
“When Bobby captured the attention of Pope Francis and the world, he was a boy soprano,” says Steve Fisher, Founder and the Artistic Director of Commonwealth Youthchoirs, the organization presenting the concert. “Two years later, he is a young man and a breathtaking tenor. Mother Nature was kind enough to let Bobby keep his very special solo voice even as she dropped it an octave or two.” Hill notes, “Too bad the Holy Father will not be there this time. But there will be some very special guests who will help make the evening memorable.”
The fledgling New Jersey Boychoir will make its debut at this charity event. The Archbishop Carroll High School’s Choir will also take part. Also appearing will be the Find Your Instrument! Choir at Lingelbach Elementary School. Find Your Instrument! is one of six programs of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY), which seeks to transform the lives of young people through the power of making music together. Other programs of CY include Keystone State Boychoir, of which Bobby is a member, Pennsylvania Girlchoir, New Jersey Boychoir, Garden State Girlchoir, and Good Mornin’ Music!.
“Find Your Instrument! is the program in the organization that is nearest and dearest to my heart,” says Fisher. “We partner with schools that otherwise would have no singing. We make sure the halls are alive with the sound of music, and that young people can discover the joy of being part of a choir. Sometimes that discovery can transform their lives forever. Just ask Bobby!” Hill wonders, “Who knows what my life would be like had I not been given the opportunity to discover my love for music?”
The fateful day Bobby sang for the Pope launched an intercontinental singing tour which continues to this day, in venues that range from local prisons to 5-star hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia. Among his many appearances, he has performed at the Ebony Gala, where he was named one of the 100 most influential African Americans. Another highlight was being invited by Andrew Lloyd Webber as his personal guest at the opening of the Broadway show School of Rock.
It will all come full circle when Bobby goes to Rome to sing for the Holy Father at the Vatican, which Fisher anticipates. “The Pope may be surprised at how deep my voice has gotten,” says Hill. “Singing for him was awesome, but the most important thing to me is to be able to keep sharing my love of singing to help bring music to others – especially those who might not have it in their lives.” Hill plans to contribute some of the money he has raised through singing to the Holy Father’s “Peter’s Pence” fund.
“You’ll definitely want to be there when Bobby introduces his new voice to the world on December 31st,” says Fisher. “You’ll be able to say, ‘I heard him then.’ And you’ll be able to say you helped endARTSlessness in our area.”
For tickets, visit kimmelcenter.org or call 215-893-1999.
Media contact: Marianne Saavedra | email@example.com| 215-740-1460 cell | 215-403-7030 office
Thank you to
Joe and Donna Ferrier and Family
Mr. and Mrs. Bob and Denise Oliver and Family
lead sponsors of Bobby Hill & Friends!
and to these other generous sponsors:
Independence Blue Cross
Kari Ghezarian and Hamo Boghosian
Steven M. Fisher and Marc Fliedner
The Law Offices of Lisa A. Mathewson, LLC
Dr. Jack Carr
The Druggan Family
Julie Donahue and Tom Wamser
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Emily Harmar, Development Director
Commonwealth Youthchoirs to hold
Monte Carlo West – Off to the Races! – Saturday, November 25
at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
Saturday, November 25, 2017 – Engines are revving up for an exciting night at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum when families and friends of Commonwealth Youthchoirs will reunite for an evening of casino games, live and silent auctions, delicious food and live music to benefit the more than 600 young people involved in the organization’s six choral programs: Keystone State Boychoir, Pennsylvania Girlchoir, Find Your Instrument!, Good Mornin’ Music!, Garden State Girlchoir and New Jersey Boychoir. Monte Carlo West – Off to the Races! is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year and will be its first at this exciting location near the Philadelphia Airport. Where else can you race slot cars surrounded by real race cars?!
The evening will feature live entertainment provided by The Rich Posmontier Ensemble. Also included will be special performances from current and alumni members of the Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir. Don’t miss the opportunity to see a world premiere collection of famous race cars — each with a unique racing history — and to hear young singers who may be headed for Broadway and beyond!
VIPs will enjoy a South African-themed preview hour in celebration of Keystone State Boychoir’s and Pennsylvania Girlchoir’s summer 2018 joint tour. Beginning at 6:30 pm guests will enjoy a piano bar with CJ Steinway and a taste of South Africa while sipping Amarula and South African wines and sampling a braai, South Africa’s version of barbeque.
Avoid a night of Thanksgiving leftovers! Everyone is welcome to join in the fun and the chance to win a wide array of prizes. Tickets are $65 for General Admission, $125 for VIP and $20 for Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir alumni. To purchase tickets and learn more, go to cychoirs.org/montecarlowest.
Special thanks to the Monte Carlo West – Off to the Races! event sponsors including The Copernicus Society, Glanzmann Subaru of Jenkintown, Kari Ghezarian and Hamo Boghosian, Tudy and Hy Kahn, and Sohee and Brian Kempf. All proceeds from the event will support young singers from throughout the region who perform both locally and around the world.
Publication Quality Photo: Artistic Director Steve Fisher in Racecar
Emily Harmar, Development Director
Melissa Keylock, Pennsylvania Girlchoir’s
First Full-time Music Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Board of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY) is thrilled to announce that Ms. Melissa Keylock will be joining the organization as Pennsylvania Girlchoir’s first full-time Music Director, effective August 1. “Melissa brings a staggering wealth of experience with, and a great love for, all things children’s choirs,” states CY Founder and Artistic Director, Steve Fisher. “She is poised to apply her breadth of knowledge, formidable musical talents, and deep passion for making music with young people so that the Pennsylvania Girlchoir can attain even greater choral heights in the years ahead.” Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG) was created in 2004 as the sister choir of Keystone State Boychoir and over the last 13 years has earned a stellar reputation as one of the leading ensembles of its kind in the country.
Keylock will succeed Vincent Metallo, who has served as the part time Music Director of PG for the last six years. “We’ll always be extremely grateful to Vince,” says Fisher. “His impeccable musicianship and high choral standards helped Pennsylvania Girlchoir to blossom in incredible ways during his tenure. For a long time, the board has dreamed of having a full-time PG music director. But Vince’s other commitments precluded him from taking on a larger role. And so we’ve been waiting for the right person to come along, and finally she did. I know Vince wishes Melissa the very best and looks forward to watching PG grow in wonderful ways with full-time leadership.”
For the last ten years, Keylock has served as the Associate Director of the Princeton Girlchoir. Since 2014, she has served as Adjunct Professor at Rider University, supervising graduate music education student teachers. For many years, Keylock worked as Director of Admissions and Recruitment at the American Boychoir School and conducted its community after-school program. Prior to that, she was a conductor at the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. Keylock has spent her career in various leadership positions in the American Choral Directors Association. Currently, she serves as its Eastern Division Repertoire and Resources Chair for Youth Choirs. Keylock holds an undergraduate degree in music education from Wheaton College and a master of music in conducting from Butler University. Read Keylock’s full bio here.
By virtue of her position as PG Music Director, Keylock will also serve as Assistant Artistic Director of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY), working closely with Fisher to transform the lives of young people through the power of making music together. More than 700 singers, half of whom are underserved, take part in Commonwealth Youthchoirs six award-winning programs: Keystone State Boychoir, Pennsylvania Girlchoir, Find Your Instrument!, Good Mornin’ Music, Garden State Girlchoir, and New Jersey Boychoir. Keylock shares, “It is with great joy that I join the dedicated staff of the Pennsylvania Girlchoir and the larger Commonwealth Youthchoirs family. I’m humbled and excited to have the opportunity to lead this fine Girlchoir, building on the foundation that has been set by Vincent. Onward and upward PG!”
PG has an exciting season of performances ahead. In collaboration with the Keystone State Boychoir, it will perform Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in honor of the composer’s centennial. The CY organization will host Choirs ROCK! Concert, bringing together 10,000 singers for the largest choral concert in US history. To finish out the season, the brother – sister choirs will embark on a concert tour of South Africa where they will represent America at the World Choral Games.
For more information, visit pennsylvaniagirlchoir.org.
Download a publication quality photo of Melissa Keylock, Pennsylvania Girlchoir Music Director, here.