An unexpected performance for Pope Francis made 14-year-old Bobby Hill a celebrity overnight. But with the phone ringing off the hook, Hill and those around him are facing an implacable foe: Mother Nature.
KSB singer Bobby Hill is profiled by Philadelphia Magazine writer Victor Fiorillo (December 6, 2015):
Three months after unexpectedly sharing the stage with Pope Francis on the Parkway, Bobby Hill is still being recognized everywhere he goes.
Consider just this past week: On Monday, Bobby’s father took him shopping for a new suit, and whether they were at Joseph A. Bank at Liberty Place or the Boscov’s in Plymouth Meeting, people would point and whisper Isn’t that the kid who sang for the pope?
On Wednesday, in Beverly Hills, where the 14-year-old was honored at the Ebony Power 100 gala along with John Legend, Prince, and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, music managers and agents shoved business cards in his face while members of the African-American power crowd snapped selfies with him.
And this Sunday afternoon, someone will no doubt recognize him as he walks the red carpet at the Broadway premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock. Certainly Sir Andrew will know who he is — Hill is going as the legendary composer’s invited guest.
Bobby Hill’s newfound fame arose because the millions who saw him sing for Pope Francis — a performance that Hill didn’t even know would happen until five minutes before he walked out on stage — fell in love with his heavenly voice. But at 14 and on a collision course with puberty, will he still be an angelic soprano by the time he is to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Academy Ball in January — or will his voice go all Peter Brady on him?
“He is supposed to sing with the Orchestra, yes,” says longtime mentor and instructor Steven Fisher, co-founder of the Keystone State Boychoir. “But I am worried that he is not going to make it. His voice is a ticking time bomb.”
Read more of the story: Bobby’s headaches, how the choir and Bobby ended up singing for Pope Francis, that “ticking time bomb” of Bobby’s voice, and Bobby’s future possibilities on PhillyMag.com
Bobby in hockey gear around age 9. (photograph courtesy of the Hill family)