Media Releases & Coverage – FYI!

Media Releases & Coverage – Find Your Instrument!

Bobby Hill & Friends! A Family New Year’s Eve

Sunday, November 26, 2017 : CY, FYI, Media Releases

Bobby and Frinds!

December 31, 2017 (New Year’s Eve) | 4:00 pm | Tickets on sale now!

Thank you to Joe and Donna Ferrier and Family, Lead Sponsors of Bobby & Friends!

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 or call 215-893-1999.

Media contact: Marianne Saavedra | msaavedra@cychoirs.org215-740-1460 cell | 215-403-7030 office

Bobby Hill Rehearsing

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
Don Tornetta
Steven M. Fisher and Marc Fliedner
The Law Offices of Lisa A. Mathewson, LLC
Dr. Jack Carr
The Druggan Family
Lorina Marshall-Blake
Julie Donahue and Tom Wamser

Powerful Performance of “The Children’s March”

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 : CY, CY Sampler, FYI, KSB, PG

The Children's MArch - animated slide show

On Tuesday, May 2, 2017, fifty-four years to the day after the Children’s’ Crusade of Birmingham, Alabama, began, hundreds of young singers from Find Your Instrument! Choir, Keystone State Boychoir, and Pennsylvania Girlchoir continued the message of heroism and hope when they performed The Children’s March at Girard College in Philadelphia. In the 1960s, the Children’s Crusade was a pivotal event in the Civil Rights Movement that exemplified bravery by hundreds of children who used non-violent protest in the face arrests and fire hoses. 

The Children’s March was written by two Philadelphia artists: composer Andrew Bleckner and internationally renowned storyteller and librettist Charlotte Blake Alston. A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) helped fund this performance of The Children’s March, which was originally commissioned by Singing City in 2013. Many remember news reports and TV footage of the heroic actions of hundreds of children in the face of police dogs, fire hoses and batons which brought national attention to the Civil Rights Movement and helped end segregation in Birmingham. The youngest marcher, who was jailed for a week, was only 9 years old.

Some of the singers performing at Girard College are the same age as the protesters were at the time. “The message of this piece is powerful,” said Steven Fisher, founder and artistic director of Keystone State Boychoir. He added, “We want our singers to know that they matter, that their voices matter, and that by singing together, they have the power to change the world.”

The Children’s March garnered public attention including articles in The Philadelphia Citizen, The Philadelphia Tribune, and coverage by 6ABC.


One Book, One Philly inspires local choirs in Northwest Philly

Sunday, February 28, 2016 : CY, FYI, KSB, PG

The Good Raised Up!

Bastiaan Slabbers, Newsworks

WHYY’s Newsworks on February 25, 2016 reported: “The Keystone State Boychoir, Pennsylvania Girlchoir, and choirs from several local schools performed ‘The Good Raised Up!,’ at the Johnson House in Germantown last week. The performance is an original work about the Underground Railroad composed by jazz musician John Blake. It is part of The Free Library’s One Book, One Philadelphia celebration this year.

See Newsworks‘ Bastiaan Slabbers’ photo essay on the Newsworks  site.

Pennsylvania Girlchoir and Keystone State Boychoir recognized by National Endowment for the Arts

Thursday, December 24, 2015 : CY, FYI, GMM, KSB, PG

Dear CY Family and Friends,

What a month December has been for Pennsylvania Girlchoir and Keystone State Boychoir – a thrilling end to 2015!

  • ​First ever funding from National Endowment for the Arts
  • Release of the breathtaking How Can I Keep for Singing? – Pennsylvania Girlchoir’s latest CD
  • Release of Microsoft Xbox “Halo 5″ including animated film Halo: The Fall of Reach with soundtrack featuring Keystone State Boychoir
  • Sold out concert at Church of the Holy Trinity for our annual joint PG and KSB Concert on the Square
    Holiday Concert on the Square
  • Keystone State Boychoir sings for an audience numbering over 8,000 people in Antofagasta, Chile
    KSB in Concert: Antofagasta, Chile 2015

Exactly 6 years ago today, on December 23, 2009, KSB landed in Antarctica and made history! On this sixth anniversary we celebrate all of this month’s accomplishments and anticipate what awaits us in 2016!

In honor of our 15th Anniversary Season, we are aiming to raise $150,000 to support our mission of transforming the lives of every one of our 600 young singers through the power of making music together – one song at a time. I hope you’ll consider helping us reach our goal. You can make a gift online here.

Profound thanks,


Steve Fisher
CY Founder and Artistic Director

P.S.: We’ve decided to go paperless with our Appeal this year. By making a gift online, you’ll be investing in our 600 plus young singers and our environment. Please share your reason for supporting the programs with your Facebook friends and on the Facebook walls of Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir.

Miss America Hosts CY Gala – Composer Ned Rorem Honored

Monday, June 16, 2014 : CY, FYI, GMM, KSB, PG

Miss America Nina Davuluri“Here she comes…” Miss America Nina Davuluri was host for the Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY) Gala on June 16, 2014 at Verizon Hall of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia.  The grand event honor the 90th birthday of Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ned Rorem. In addition, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir celebrates their 10th anniversary. Prominent Philadelphia lawyer Ajay Raju and and his wife Pamela were Honorary Co-Chairs.

There was a very special surprise in store for Miss America when she was be treated to a “Bollywood” style performance to honor her heritage and recreate a portion of her personal talent performance from the pageant (singers from Keystone State Boychoir toured India in January with Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi). Additional select repetoire from the India tour also were part of the performance.

Ned RoremHighlights of the Gala also included the honor for Rorem, a Pulitzer Prize winning American composer, who was celebrating his 90th birthday. While the composer was ill and not able to be physically at Verizon Hall, he was represented by his sister, who received the recognition in Rorem’s absence. In addition, Pennsylvania Girlchoir celebrated their 10th anniversary.

The concert featured more than 500 singers from all four of CY’s musical programs. In addition to Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir – two distinguished ensembles with worldwide reputations, Find Your Instrument!, a music program at several Philadelphia public schools that otherwise would have no vocal music training and Good Mornin’ Music!, an early music education experience for children PreK through Grade 2, were also represented on stage.

CY was founded in 2001 by Joseph Fitzmartin and Steven Fisher as a non-profit organization to bring music to kids, ages 8-18, from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds. The singers represent all five Pennsylvania counties in the greater Philadelphia region, as well as New Jersey and Delaware. They are ambassadors for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at home and abroad.

Jai Ho Singers and dancers

KSB and PG perform Jai Ho – with the Jai Ho dancers – while Miss America watches (left)


The choirs at Gala

The choirs combine to perform at the 2014 Gala


PG with Alumni sing Total Praise

Pennsylvania Girlchoir joined by PG alumni celebrate the choir’s 10th Anniversary singing their signature “Total Praise”


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