FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Emily Harmar, Development Director
Asher’s Legacy – CY Remembers Jack
First Annual Scholarship Concert
Saturday, March 3, 2018 l 7:30 pm
First Presbyterian Church in Germantown
35 W. Chelten Avenue, Phila, PA 19144
Germantown, Philadelphia, February 6, 2018 — For many years, the Asher’s Chocolates plant in Germantown produced a variety of chocolate treats that were the delight of children everywhere. John L. “Jack” Asher, Jr., the former co-chairman of Asher’s Chocolates and one of the founder’s grandsons, helped lead the company into a new era of profitability. He passed away on Aug. 30, 2017. On Saturday, March 3, another Germantown-based institution that benefited greatly from Jack Asher’s support and leadership – Commonwealth Youthchoirs – will honor his memory and his many contributions to the community with a concert featuring some of the region’s finest young singers.
Asher’s Legacy – CY Remembers Jack will be held at 7:30 pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown and will be performed by the singers from Keystone State Boychoir (KSB) and Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG). Mr. Asher was founding Board Chair of KSB in 2001. Over the next 17 years, with Jack’s continuing support, KSB would grow into what is today the Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY) organization. What began in 2001 as a choir of 37 boys has grown into the largest youth choral organization in the region, and one of the finest in the world. CY now serves over 600 young people in six different programs, including KSB, PG, New Jersey Boychoir, Garden State Girlchoir, Good Mornin’ Music!, and Find Your Instrument!. FYI! is a choral education program that partners with underserved schools that have no formal music offerings. Thanks in no small part to the vision of Jack Asher, hundreds of children in his beloved Germantown have the joy of singing in their lives.
The event was purposely chosen to take place on Jack’s birthday. Jack’s wife Carol and their children Dave, John and Sue, and their families are expected to be in attendance. “My Dad would be delighted that we are spending his birthday at a performance by CY’s singers. He believed strongly that children gained unique benefits and opportunities from the experience of singing in the choirs,” says Dave Asher.
At the concert, CY’s scholarship fund will be renamed The Jack Asher Scholarship Fund. All proceeds will benefit the fund so that more children in Germantown and beyond can be transformed through the power of making music together. The choir opens many doors of opportunity – a founding member of Keystone State Boychoir, Vince Cannady, auditioned for the choir while a boy at Project Home – through his choir experience he toured the world and is now one of the final four contestants on Fox 29’s “The Four.”
Jack was beloved by CY singers who each received a box of chocolates at the holidays directly from “Mr. Asher,” says Commonwealth Youthchoirs’ Founder and Artistic Director, Steven Fisher. “Over the years, Jack sent nearly 5,000 boxes of chocolates to our kids,” Fisher adds. “It’s not as if Jack had a child or grandchild who benefited directly from one of our programs. But from the beginning he was incredibly generous with his time, resources and wisdom about how to grow something,” Fisher observes. “The reason was, simply, that Jack understood the power of music in the life of a young person, especially those who are underserved.”
Jack loved both choral and organ music, and was especially fond of repertoire that involves both. “In 17 years, I don’t think that we missed a major CY performance,” says Carol Asher, Jack’s wife.
At the concert on March 3, young singers from CY will be joined by the visiting Bratislava Boys Choir and special guest organist Alessandro Pittorino to present Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb. The young Pittorino was the first Australian organ student to attend The Juilliard School, from which he recently graduated with a Master of Music in Performance. “What a fitting way to celebrate both Jack’s life and the 75th anniversary of the world premiere of this great work for organ and choir,” adds Fisher. “Pittorinio’s involvement, as an up and coming ‘rock star’ of the organ world, would have greatly pleased Jack. He was all about lifting up young people with potential. Those who knew Jack know how much he enjoyed hearing pieces that pulled out all of the 340 stops of the McLean Memorial Pipe Organ at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, which will certainly be the case when Pittorino plays!”
“Besides being a great supporter of CY, Jack was a great mentor and friend to me personally, and I miss him dearly. It is my profound honor to launch this annual event in his memory,” says Fisher. “There was only one Jack Asher. He will live on through the hearts and voices of thousands of children who knew song because of him, and through thousands more in the years to come.”