December 31, 2017 (New Year’s Eve) | 4:00 pm | Tickets on sale now!
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts will host “Bobby Hill & Friends! A Family New Year’s Eve” at 4:00 pm on December 31, 2017. All proceeds will benefit the endARTSlessness campaign, for which Hill is the spokesperson. The initiative seeks to ensure that every school in our region has at least one arts program that can serve as a lifeline to lift young people up and out of creative poverty.
Hill became an overnight sensation when he performed for the Holy Father and millions of others around the world at a live, 2015 televised performance on the Parkway in honor of the pontiff. With a moment’s notice, due to an unexpected set change, Hill sang a glorious, a cappella rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu.” Webber himself praised the rendition as “simply stunning.” The evening’s emcee, actor Mark Wahlberg, declared Hill to have the “voice of an angel,” and since then he has been known as “the boy who sang for the Pope.”
“When Bobby captured the attention of Pope Francis and the world, he was a boy soprano,” says Steve Fisher, Founder and the Artistic Director of Commonwealth Youthchoirs, the organization presenting the concert. “Two years later, he is a young man and a breathtaking tenor. Mother Nature was kind enough to let Bobby keep his very special solo voice even as she dropped it an octave or two.” Hill notes, “Too bad the Holy Father will not be there this time. But there will be some very special guests who will help make the evening memorable.”
The fledgling New Jersey Boychoir will make its debut at this charity event. The Archbishop Carroll High School’s Choir will also take part. Also appearing will be the Find Your Instrument! Choir at Lingelbach Elementary School. Find Your Instrument! is one of six programs of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY), which seeks to transform the lives of young people through the power of making music together. Other programs of CY include Keystone State Boychoir, of which Bobby is a member, Pennsylvania Girlchoir, New Jersey Boychoir, Garden State Girlchoir, and Good Mornin’ Music!.
“Find Your Instrument! is the program in the organization that is nearest and dearest to my heart,” says Fisher. “We partner with schools that otherwise would have no singing. We make sure the halls are alive with the sound of music, and that young people can discover the joy of being part of a choir. Sometimes that discovery can transform their lives forever. Just ask Bobby!” Hill wonders, “Who knows what my life would be like had I not been given the opportunity to discover my love for music?”
The fateful day Bobby sang for the Pope launched an intercontinental singing tour which continues to this day, in venues that range from local prisons to 5-star hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia. Among his many appearances, he has performed at the Ebony Gala, where he was named one of the 100 most influential African Americans. Another highlight was being invited by Andrew Lloyd Webber as his personal guest at the opening of the Broadway show School of Rock.
It will all come full circle when Bobby goes to Rome to sing for the Holy Father at the Vatican, which Fisher anticipates. “The Pope may be surprised at how deep my voice has gotten,” says Hill. “Singing for him was awesome, but the most important thing to me is to be able to keep sharing my love of singing to help bring music to others – especially those who might not have it in their lives.” Hill plans to contribute some of the money he has raised through singing to the Holy Father’s “Peter’s Pence” fund.
“You’ll definitely want to be there when Bobby introduces his new voice to the world on December 31st,” says Fisher. “You’ll be able to say, ‘I heard him then.’ And you’ll be able to say you helped endARTSlessness in our area.”
For tickets, visit kimmelcenter.org or call 215-893-1999.