Commonwealth Youthchoirs offers six programs, which combined serve more than 600 young people.
Keystone State Boychoir (KSB) brings together 180 boys, ages 8-18, under the direction of Joseph P. Fitzmartin and Steven M. Fisher. Celebrating its 15th year in the 2015-16 season, KSB has spread the gift of music far and wide, and is the only choir in the world to have toured all seven continents. In 2009, KSB made history as the first choir to perform in Antarctica.
Internationally, KSB has performed in the world’s major concert halls, including the Manaus Opera House in Brazil, the Petronas Philharmonik Hall in Malaysia, and the Hanoi Opera House in Vietnam, as well as in venues throughout Canada, Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, Monaco, France, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and Norway. Major choral works that KSB has performed include Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Britten’s St. Nicolas, and the Fauré Requiem. The Philadelphia Inquirer review declared KSB’s performance in the Bach St. Matthew Passion “excellent.”
KSB made its Broadway debut in New York at The Shubert Theater in 2012. Also in 2012, KSB traveled to Norway and performed in a ceremony in Oslo for Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. In 2013, KSB embarked on a concert tour of India accompanied by Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. KSB has performed with Tony Award winners Norm Lewis and Brian Stokes Mitchell as well as with Carly Simon, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia. KSB is counted among the finest, most successful community-based boychoir programs in the world.
Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG), under the direction of Music Director Melissa Keylock, brings together 130 girls between the ages of 8 and 18, and maintains a repertoire steeped in the classical tradition and enhanced by music from many cultures and time periods.
In 2007, the Girlchoir’s stellar performance in Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah with the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia led the Club’s music director, Alan Harler, to declare PG as “the finest girlchoir I’ve ever worked with,” and music critic Michael Caruso said PG “sang with impressive delicacy of tone, smoothness of balance and blend, and security of projection ….” The Philadelphia Inquirer lauded the Girlchoir’s debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra and The Philadelphia Singers.
PG has also collaborated with Opera Philadelphia (for which it serves as its official girlchoir), the Curtis Institute of Music, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Lyric Fest, WHYY, the University of Pennsylvania, and Network for New Music.
Find Your Instrument! (FYI!) is an innovative, award-winning outreach program in the School District of Philadelphia which brings choral music education to 150 students who otherwise would not have an opportunity to sing during the school day.
Currently, the program is based in the John Wister Elementary School and the Joseph Pennell Elementary School. FYI! offers the children at participating schools the opportunity to discover their singing voices and the joy of singing in a group. FYI! is a two-tiered program. All 3rd-graders participate in weekly sessions that allow them to “find their singing voices” and discover the joy of singing together. Sharings are held to allow the FYI! students to share their newly-discovered instruments with children in the younger grades and their families.
Good Mornin’ Music! (GMM!) was launched in fall 2013 with Music Director Mary Comtois as a weekly Saturday morning program. GMM! gives both boys and girls from Pre-K to grade 2 the opportunity to joyfully discover and explore music making with their voices as well as with classroom percussion instruments. A non-performance based experience, GMM! focuses on musical journey rather than destination. At the same time, in a way that is both fun and pedagogically-sound, the program lays a strong foundation for performance-based choral opportunities or instrumental lessons a child might wish to pursue. Participating in GMM! is an excellent introduction to discovering other Commonwealth Youthchoirs programs as your child grows.
New Jersey Boychoir (NJB) is in its inaugural season, channeling the boundless energy of boys into music making of the highest standards that results in the unforgettable experiences for singers and audiences alike.
Members of NJB will have an array of transformative music making opportunities in their inaugural season, including an ecumenical concert honoring children of all faiths, a Thanksgiving service, Holiday Concerts with the Keystone State Boychoir, a Yom HaShoah Service commemorating the Holocaust, and a NEA-sponsored performance of The Children’s March chronicling a shining moment of the Civil Rights movement led by children. The season will culminate with a spectacular, not-to-be-missed performance on stage with the award-winning Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, Prince of Egypt, and Wicked) at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, June 17, 2017. This coming summer, the Concert Choir Candidates of the New Jersey Boychoir will be offered the opportunity to tour the Czech Republic with the Keystone State Boychoir. The Advanced Apprentices of the New Jersey Boychoir will have an opportunity to tour nationally will the Advanced Apprentices of the Keystone State Boychoir.
Garden State Girlchoir (GSG) is in its inaugural season, and will maintain a repertoire steeped in the classical tradition and enhanced by music from many cultures and time periods. GSG has been lauded as “a happy addition to the musical resources of the region.”
Members of GSG will have an array of transformative music making opportunities this season, including an ecumenical concert honoring children of all faiths, a Thanksgiving service, Holiday Concerts with the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, a Yom HaShoah Service commemorating the Holocaust, and a NEA-sponsored performance of The Children’s March chronicling a shining moment of the Civil Rights movement led by children. The season will culminate with a spectacular, not-to-be-missed performance on stage with the award-winning Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, Prince of Egypt, and Wicked) at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, June 17, 2017. This coming summer, the Troubadors of the Garden State Girlchoir will be offered the opportunity to tour Sweden with the Pennsylvania Girlchoir. The Kantorei of the Garden State Girlchoir will have an opportunity to tour nationally will Kantorei of the Pennsylvania Girlchoir.