Media Releases & Coverage

Media Releases & Coverage

Asher’s Legacy – CY Remembers Jack

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 : KSB Releases, KSBlog

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Emily Harmar, Development Director
development@cychoirs.org
W: 215-403-7030
C: 215-740-1460

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.”

Tickets are $40, $60 and $80 and are now on sale here. For more information or to help sponsor the event, go to www.cychoirs/asherslegacy.org.

Download full-size photo of Jack Asher

Download Commonwealth Youthchoirs’ program logos (full-size .jpg file)

Download Alessandro Pittorino Bio

Download Alessandro Pittorino full-size headshot for print

Download Alessandro Pittorino at organ full-size for print



Bobby Hill, one of Ebony Magazine’s 2015 Power 100, to perform at Dec 2nd LA Gala

Sunday, November 29, 2015 : KSB Releases, KSBlog

For Immediate Release
Media Contact:  Leanne Clancy at Lclancy@greenestreetfriends.org or 484-410-9664

Bobby Hill,  one of Ebony Magazine’s 2015 Power 100, to perform at Dec 2nd LA Gala

(Philadelphia, PA: November 29, 2015) Keystone State Boychoir’s Bobby Hill, who impressed Pope Francis and the world with his last minute, stunning a cappella solo in Philadelphia this past September, has been named one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100. Bobby is being honored alongside artists including Prince, John Legend, Janet Jackson and Viola Davis as one of 2015’s “Heroes of the Black Community.” Recognized under “The Future of Everything” category in the magazine’s December edition, Bobby is sharing the limelight with – among other young African American superstars – Jaden and Willow Smith.

“I’ve had some awesome opportunities in the last few months,” says Bobby. “But this one might be the best of all – especially if I get to meet John Legend!”

Bobby and his fellow inspirational figures in the fields of technology, entertainment, and politics will be recognized at Ebony’s 70th Anniversary Gala on December 2nd. The red carpet affair will be held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1945, Ebony is the number one monthly magazine and source for an authoritative perspective on African-American culture and social issues. Bobby is sure to be a standout at the event, as he has been asked to perform on the evening’s program.

“As African Americans, this is a profound honor – not only for our son, but for our entire family,” says proud mom Karla Hill.

From the moment Bobby walked off the stage after his now legendary papal performance, accolades began pouring in from every continent – even Antarctica, where the Keystone State Boychoir , of which Bobby has been a member for 7 years, made history in 2009 as the first choir to perform on “the 7th continent.” Sometimes as a soloist, and sometimes as the “second boy in from the right, third row,” Bobby has been on a performance whirlwind, singing everywhere from local prisons to five star hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia. Andrew Lloyd Webber himself called Bobby’s rendition of his Pie Jesu for the pope “absolutely stunning.” Webber, one of the most successful musical theatre writers of our time (Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock) has offered to accompany Bobby on the piece at a soon-to-be-announced event scheduled for early 2016. Among other upcoming appearances, Bobby will make his solo debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra at its annual Academy Ball Gala on January 23rd, 2016.

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REQUEST TO COVER TODAY 11/29/2015:

Bobby Hill’s appearance at St. Francis the Oratory with the Keystone State Boychoir.  3pm concert: 2319 Green St., Philadelphia, PA 19130

REQUEST TO COVER TOMORROW 11/30/2015:

Bobby Hill’s appearance at Lankaneau Hospital Tree Lighting, 6pm program: 100 Lancaster Ave, Wynnewood, PA 19096

MEDIA RESOURCES:

(Media can visit our Media Resource page for background information, high resolution photos, and more)

PUBLICATION QUALITY PHOTOS:

Bobby Hill (center) singing with Keystone State Boychoir.
http://www.keystonestateboychoir.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/LH2_0391-2.jpg

Bobby Hill (front center) singing with Keystone State Boychoir.
http://www.keystonestateboychoir.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/LH2_0633-73.jpg



Bobby Hill rushing from Jakarta to Doylestown to sing Bernstein solo

Saturday, October 24, 2015 : KSB Releases, KSBlog

14 year-old singing sensation Bobby Hill will rush from airport on Sunday, direct from international solo debut in Indonesia, to Bucks County concert to sing Bernstein solo

Bobby Hill singing with Keystone State Boychoir

Bobby Hill singing with Keystone State Boychoir

Bobby Hill, veteran member of Keystone State Boychoir (KSB) who impressed Pope Francis and the world with his unscheduled, a cappella rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu at the Festival of Families, will land at Philadelphia International Airport on Sunday morning (10:45am, Delta Flight #4002, Terminal D) and will make a mad dash to sing the famous boy solo in the second movement of Leonard Bernstein’s beloved Chichester Psalms. The piece is one of several songs featuring KSB on a program being presented by Bucks County Choral Society under the direction of Dr. Thomas Lloyd.  The concert will take place Sunday, Oct. 25 at 4:00 pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 5175 Cold Spring Creamery Rd, Doylestown, PA 18902.

This past Monday, October 19, Bobby flew with his father Jerry and KSB music director Steve Fisher to Jakarta, Indonesia after a five star hotel there offered to bring him over to sing at the wedding anniversary of a prominent Indonesian businessman and his wife. “I never thought in a million years I would be “the wedding singer” halfway around the world,” says Bobby. “But then again, I never thought I’d perform for the Pope either. The singing was fun, but the best part was definitely the hotel. I had my own room, and I didn’t even have to pay for room service.” “I know I’m biased, but my boy knocked it out of the park,” says Jerry. “When he sang the Ave Maria, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, including mine.”

It has been a whirlwind for Bobby since he was thrust – literally – onto the international stage. “There was an unexpected transition and the Festival of Families producers didn’t want the Holy Father sitting there looking at a set change,” says Fisher. “I’m so glad they asked if I had any ideas. We’ve known for some time at KSB that Bobby’s voice was special and deserved to be heard by a larger audience. We never imagined just how large it would become – and it continues to grow. With not only his talent, but his cool under pressure, as well as his poise in meeting the pontiff, it’s no wonder Bobby captivated millions of hearts around the globe. Everywhere he goes, whether here in Philly, or New York, or Jakarta, people stop to ask for a selfie.”

Accolades and offers for Bobby, as well as KSB, to sing have poured in from every continent – even Antarctica, where the Keystone State Boychoir made history in 2009 as the first choir to perform there.  Andrew Lloyd Webber himself has called Bobby’s performance for the Pope “absolutely stunning.” Webber, one of the most successful musical theatre writers of our time (Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock) has offered to accompany Bobby and KSB on the piece at a soon-to-be-announced NYC event.

Just two weeks before the Pope’s arrival in Philadelphia, KSB and sister choir Pennsylvania Girlchoir were asked to perform at the Festival of Families concert given in his honor. What no one could have predicted was that Bobby would get a once in a lifetime chance to sing a solo for perhaps the most well known, beloved person alive while millions watched around the globe. The event’s emcee, Mark Wahlberg, reacted to the solo by giving Bobby a bro hug, declaring “that is the voice of an angel.” The Hollywood star then went on to share what Bobby had whispered in his ear – “I loved you in Ted.”  This prompted a public mea culpa from Wahlberg directly to the Holy Father for making a movie “not appropriate for a boy that age.”

“Bobby’s been offered countless engagements over the last two weeks – from New York to LA, from scientific bases in Antarctica to luxury hotels in Indonesia,” adds Fisher. “Yet, he’s exactly the same today as he was before he walked out on that stage. He’s certainly enjoying the ride. Who wouldn’t? But he’s got a heart of gold and has really been quite awed and humbled by the experience. We’re all proud to know him. Now we just have to hope that 48 hours of flying in six days, a whole lot of jet lag, and quite a bit of room service won’t affect his singing. But we know from recent experience that Bobby can come through in a pinch.”

Tickets to the Sunday, October 25th concert are available on the Bucks County Choral Society’s website (buckschoral.org) or can be purchased at the door.

(Media can visit our Media Resource page for background information, high resolution photos, and more.)

Publication quality photos of Bobby Hill singing with Keystone State Boychoir:

http://www.keystonestateboychoir.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/LH2_0391-2.jpg

http://www.keystonestateboychoir.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/LH2_0633-73.jpg



Bobby Hill, inspired by Pope, to sing with PG and KSB Saturday prison concert and Sunday service

Friday, October 9, 2015 : KSB Releases

Bobby Hill singing with Keystone State Boychoir

Bobby Hill singing with Keystone State Boychoir

Bobby Hill,  who stunned the world with his soprano voice at the Festival of Families in the presence of Pope Francis, will perform at two sites visited by the pontiff during his visit last month. Bobby will be joined by fellow members of the Keystone State Boychoir (KSB) and its sister choir, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG).

On Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 7:00pm, Bobby and his fellow choristers will sing for inmates at the Riverside Correctional Facility, 8151 State Road, Philadelphia 19136. “When I saw the pope on TV visiting that prison, I thought it would be cool for my choir to sing for inmates since they need cheering up,” explains 14-year-old Hill.  “But I didn’t think it could ever happen. But then I never thought I would sing for the pope.  He was so nice and even gave me rosaries. So this is a way to thank him, by giving back.”

On Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 2:30pm at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul, Bobby and the choirs will sing at the Children’s Sabbath, an annual ecumenical service focused on the needs of children in our city.  At 2:00pm, Bobby will have the opportunity to meet another celebrity, Sister Mary Scullion of Project HOME, at her now-famed grotto outside the Cathedral. Scullion will be the main speaker at the Children’s Sabbath, which is open to the public.  “I’m so pleased these talented young people have agreed to join me at this event,” says Sister. I was there to hear Bobby sing live that night, and along with the Holy Father and millions of others, was so moved by his singing.   His desire to fill the lives of the less fortunate with the joy of music is even more inspiring.

Bobby Hill singing with Keystone State Boychoir

Bobby Hill singing with Keystone State Boychoir

Two weeks before the pope’s arrival, the Boychoir and Girlchoir were asked to perform at the Parkway concert given in his honor.  What no one knew, including the young singer himself until just five minutes before he walked on stage, was that Bobby would get a once in a lifetime chance to sing a solo for perhaps the most well known, beloved person alive. “There was an unexpected transition and the producers didn’t want the pope to be sitting there looking at a set change,” says Bobby’s choir director Steve Fisher.  “I’m so glad they asked. Bobby’s voice deserves to be heard.” With his talent, as well as his poise in meeting the Holy Father, Bobby has captivated millions of hearts around the globe.

After Bobby sang at the Festival of Families concert on September 26th, emcee Mark Wahlberg hugged Bobby, and then declared, “that is the voice of an angel.” The Hollywood star then went onto to share what  Bobby had whispered in his ear – “I loved you in Ted.”  This prompted a public mea culpa from Wahlberg directly to the Holy Father for making a movie “not appropriate for a boy that age.”

It has been a whirlwind for Bobby and his family since he was thrust – literally – onto the international stage. Accolades and offers have to sing have come in from every continent, including Antarctica, where the Keystone State Boychoir made history in 2009 as the first choir to perform there.  Andrew Lloyd Webber himself has called Bobby’s a cappella rendition of the famed composer’s Pie Jesu “absolutely stunning.”  Webber, one of the most successful musical theatre writers of our time (Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock) has offered to accompany Bobby on the piece at a soon-to-be-announced NYC event.

“I’m so proud of Bobby,” says Fisher.  “He’s been offered countless engagements over the last two weeks, and yet the event that has him the most excited is the prison concert. But that’s Bobby. He’s exactly the same today as he was before he walked out on that stage and inspired everyone. He’s a ham for sure.  You’d have to be to do what he did. But he’s got a heart of gold. We’re all proud to know him.”

 

For media inquiries, please contact Leanne Clancy at lclancy@greenestreetfriends.org.

click the images above to view and download a publication quality version



PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI YOUTH CHORUS TO APPEAR AT KIMMEL JUNE 28

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 : KSB Releases

PG-JYC-KSB-web-270h

For Immediate Release
Media Contact:
Leanne Clancy at Lclancy@greenestreetfriends.org or 484-410-9664

PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI YOUTH CHORUS TO APPEAR AT KIMMEL JUNE 28

(Philadelphia, June 15, 2015) “Transcending conflict through song.” That’s the motto of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus (JYC), an ensemble of Palestinian and Israeli high school students from East and West Jerusalem who not only sing together, but regularly discuss the challenging issues facing their divided region in the hope of being forces for peace. On June 28-29, JYC will be hosted by Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG) and Keystone State Boychoir (KSB) when it comes to Philadelphia on the final leg of its US Tour.

The visit will include a “dialogue workshop” whereby members of PG and KSB will learn from the members of JYC how to discuss difficult topics in a open, honest, and respectful manner. Rather than focusing on the issues of the Middle East, the workshop will focus on race issues in America. The hope is that the young people of PG and KSB can use the communication skills they develop to be agents of change and peace in their own communities.

The visit includes a joint performance with all three choirs at 7:00pm in the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, June 28. The concert will also feature special guests the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble. Tickets are on sale through the Kimmel Center Box Office at kimmelcenter.org. Premium seats can be obtained through “Peace in the Middle East” Sponsorships at cychoirs.org.

The Pennsylvania Girlchoir and Keystone State Boychoir organization serves over 650 young people between the ages of 4 and 18 throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding communities. Its singers are no strangers to the legacy of peace. KSB toured India with Gandhi’s grandson as well performed in Oslo at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. Here at home, PG sang for Malala Yousafzai, Liberty Medal winner and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in history. The choirs have travelled the globe, as far north as Svalbard, Norway, the northernmost settlement in the world with a permanent civilian population, and as far south as Antarctica. They are the only choral organization in history to have sung on all seven continents.

(Media can visit our Media Resource page http://cychoirs.org/jyc-media for background information, high resolution photos, and more. Please contact Leanne Clancy at Lclancy@greenestreetfriends.org or 484-410-9664 for more information and details on media availabilities during the JYC visit.)

 

 



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