About Keystone State Boychoir

About Keystone State Boychoir

Keystone State Boychoir

Steven M. Fisher and Joseph P. Fitzmartin, Music Directors

Julie Donahue, Program Manager

Larry Hoenig, Music Assistant

Sheridan Seyfried, Accompanist

Jeremy Triplett, Accompanist

Founded in 2001, the Keystone State Boychoir (KSB) has enjoyed unprecedented success for an ensemble so young, and is recognized as one of the finest community-based boychoir programs in the world. Proud to be “Pennsylvania’s Boychoir,” KSB channels the boundless energy of 200 boys between the ages of 8 and 18 into unforgettable music making experiences for both the boys and their audiences. They rehearse once or twice a week, depending on their age and level of singer musicianship. The Boychoir performs more than 40 concerts each season throughout the country.  This season KSB is making its debut at a national convention of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), having had the honor of performing at ACDA Eastern conferences in Philadelphia, Rhode Island, and Boston. Abroad, KSB has also performed at the national conferences of the Australian Music Educators Society, and the International Society of Music Educators.

 

The Keystone State Boychoir sings an enthralling repertoire from the classical to the contemporary. Major choral works that the Boychoir has performed include Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Rejoice in the Lamb, and St. Nicolas Cantata, Fauré Requiem, John Rutter’s Mass of the Children and Joseph Fitzmartin’s Concert Mass. KSB prides itself in a diverse repertoire of world music from every corner and culture of the globe, including of course the American traditions of gospel, spirituals, jazz and Broadway.  This May, KSB will join hundreds of singers in performing the choral oratorio The Children’s March.  In June, they will host An Evening With Stephen Schwartz with the composer at the piano.

 

The Boychoir has sung with Philadelphia’s most distinguished ensembles, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia, serving as its official boychoir. Operas in which members of KSB have performed include Carmen, Gianni Schicchi, Hansel and Gretel, La Boheme, and Turandot. KSB has appeared in the region’s most prominent venues including the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Mann Music Center, the Academy of Music (America’s oldest opera house), and Carnegie Hall. In June of 2012, KSB made its Broadway debut in a concert version of Oliver at the Shubert Theater with Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell. Throughout its sixteen years of music making, the boys have had the honor of singing for three presidents, two peace prize winners and one pope.

 

Internationally, the Keystone State Boychoir has performed in many of the world’s major concert halls, including Kapella Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Manaus Opera House in Brazil, and the Hanoi Opera House in Vietnam, and in venues throughout North and South America, Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Asia, Africa and Oceania. In 2009, KSB made history as the first choir in history to travel to, and perform in, Antarctica. In doing so the Boychoir became the first musical ensemble to have sung on all seven continents. KSB made history again in 2012 when it travelled above the Arctic Circle to Svalbard, Norway, the most northern settlement in the world. This summer the boys will tour Germany and the Czech Republic, performing Brundibar with survivor Ela Weisberger who played the original cat in the Terezin performances.  Over the July 4th holiday, KSB is hosting the Let Freedom SING! Boychoir National Convention.  One soprano, alto, tenor and bass from all 50 states will convene in Philadelphia to celebrate the power of boychoirs.  If you know a singer who would might be interested in being a Singer Delegate for their state, visit letfreedomsingboychoir.org.

The Keystone State Boychoir is part of the Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY) family, which also administers the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, the New Jersey Boychoir, the Garden State Girlchoir, Find Your Instrument! (an outreach program in underserved schools), and Good Mornin’ Music! (an early childhood music program).   CY transforms the lives of young people through the power of making music together – one song at a time. Recently the organization launched an endARTSlessness campaign, with the aim of ensuring that every underserved school in Philadelphia and Camden has at least one arts program that offers children a lifeline up and out of creative poverty.  

To learn more about KSB, visit us at www.keystonestateboychoir.org.

To learn more, about CY, visit us at www.cychoirs.org.

AUDITIONS: KSB encourages parents of boys who love to sing – regardless of singing experience – to inquire about joining. Younger boys don’t need to audition, but an interview is required. For older boys, auditions are easy and fun. To schedule an interview or audition, contact KSB Choir Manager Julie Donahue: jdonahue@keystonestateboychoir.org or call 215-849-1762.

BOOKING: For information about booking KSB, contact Steve Fisher:  sfisher@keystonestateboychoir.org or call 215-704-3407.

RECORDINGS: To purchase a CD of the Boychoir, visit our information table on your way out.

DONATIONS: If you’d like to support KSB, ask one of the boys for a donation envelope. All donations are tax deductible. You can also make a donation online on the KSB website.

Keystone State Boychoir Staff

Joseph P. Fitzmartin
Music Director, Keystone State Boychoir

A co-founder of Commonwealth Youthchoirs, Joseph P. Fitzmartin has served since 2001 as Music Director of member-choir Keystone State Boychoir. His role with Keystone State Boychoir combines Mr. Fitzmartin’s long dedication to music education, conducting, and composing. A distinguished composer, he has written and arranged extensively for choirs and orchestras, including A Fantasy of Carols, performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Additionally, Mr. Fitzmartin’s Concert Mass, a major work for symphony orchestra and choir, made its world premiere at Carnegie Hall and has since been performed at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, in Berlin, and by the Novgorod Symphony in Russia.

A native of Philadelphia and graduate of Catholic University in Washington, DC, Mr. Fitzmartin is also choral director for the middle and upper schools at the William Penn Charter School. Previous positions include organist and choir director at at Collenbrook United Church in Drexel Hill for twenty-four years, organist and choir director at Girard College, and associate director and accompanist for the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale, a post he held for twenty-one years.

Steven Fisher
Managing Director, Commonwealth Youthchoirs
Associate Music Director, Keystone State Boychoir
Music Director, Find Your Instrument!

Steven Fisher is co-founder of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY), and has served as Associate Music Director of Keystone State Boychoir since the organization was founded in 2001. In June of 2013, he was appointed Interim Managing Director. He is also the Music Director of Find Your Instrument!, the award-winning school outreach program of Commonwealth Youthchoirs. In addition to his work with CY, Steven is the Music Director of Singing City Children’s Choir as well as the Music Director and co-founder of the New York Boychoir.

Steven holds a master’s degree in music from Temple University ’s Esther Boyer College of Music. He studied conducting with Alan Harler, composition with Richard Broadhead, arranging with Alice Parker, and piano with Alexander Fiorello – one of only six students of the great Vladimir Horowitz. In 1998, Temple University awarded Steven the prestigious Presser Foundation Award, which recognizes “a graduate student who has the potential to make an outstanding contribution in the music world.”

Steven is a playwright and composer of musical theatre. His work Mandela…A Life in Song has been presented in New York, New Jersey and in Johannesburg. His family musical Isabelle and the Pretty-Ugly Spell received a rave review from the New York Times during its New York run and has enjoyed productions around the country. Currently, Steven’s play …sorry, inspired by the Tyler Clementi tragedy, is being developed for Broadway by the Tony Award-Winning producer Paul Boskind. He is currently finishing a musical entitled Mother B! to celebrate the approaching 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. Public readings of this exciting new work will be presented in Philadelphia on Sunday, January 26th, 2014 and in New York on Monday, January 27th, 2014.

Lawrence Hoenig
Music Assistant, Keystone State Boychoir

A well-known choral conductor and tenor soloist in the Philadelphia area, Lawrence Hoenig joined KSB’s music staff in the spring of 2008. Most recently Mr. Hoenig was Director of the Germantown Friends School choir, as well as Chair of the school’s Music Department.

Mr. Hoenig was Associate Conductor of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, under Alan Harler, as well as the Music Director of the Choral Union at the University of Delaware. Numerous solo performances include Stravinsky’s Les Noces with the University of the Arts, Dvorak’s Mass in D with Mendelssohn Club. Mr. Hoenig holds a BA from Columbia University, an MA in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MM in choral conducting from Temple University, where he was a student of Robert Page. He has been on the voice faculty at Haverford College, Settlement Music School, and Jenkintown Music School. He conducts the choir for the High Holy Days at Har Zion synagogue.