“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.
Highlights 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.