All posts by: Commonwealth Youthchoirs Media

Bobby on stage with the Philadelphia Orchestra

Bobby on stage with the Philadelphia Orchestra

“Voice of an Angel” Bobby Hill joined the Philadelphia Orchestra at Penn’s Landing on July 1 to kick off Philadelphia’s celebrations for Independence Weekend. Philadelphia Inquirer Classical Music Critic Peter Dobrin writes:

Whoever you think the typical classical listener might be, expectations are bound to be dashed by this crowd. It was diverse in nearly every way imaginable, but generally quite young. The audience listened in diverse ways, too, from an inner ring that hung on every note, to groups on the periphery who seemed aware only that sometimes it was hard to hold a conversation over all that music.

The vast majority stopped in their tracks, however, to take in the soft-edged boy-soprano sound of Bobby Hill, made famous last year when he performed during Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia. Hundreds of cellphones came out to capture his “God Bless America,” footage that has no doubt traveled the social media globe by now.

Bobby with Phhiladelphia Mayor Jim Kenney at Penn's Landing

Bobby with Phhiladelphia Mayor Jim Kenney at Penn’s Landing

Later in the article, Dobrin noted:

Music seemed to interact with nature in the “Pie Jesu” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem when Hill’s sound was backed by piles of clouds lit pink. This is the sort of thing that can happen at an outdoor concert. But only when you get lucky – with the weather, and when the boy soprano in question is as good as Bobby Hill.

Read the article and see more photos on

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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):

Bobby Hill - Philadelphia Sunday coverThree 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

Bobby in hockey gear around age 9. Photograph courtesy of the Hill family

Bobby in hockey gear around age 9. (photograph courtesy of the Hill family)

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The young soprano will perform at its Los Angeles gala this Wednesday.

Bobby Hill (front center) with Keystone State Boychoir

Bobby Hill (front center) with Keystone State Boychoir’s Sarah Jordan reported in the Ticket section on November 30, 2015:

Remember Bobby Hill? He’s the 14-year-old with the “voice of an angel” who wowed the world during Pope Francis’s papal visit with his last-minute a cappella performance of “Pie Jesu.” He’s a soloist with the Keystone State Boychoir and is having quite the autumn since that breakout performance. 

Selected as one of Ebony magazine’s 2015 Power 100, Hill is flying out to Los Angeles to sing at the magazine’s 70th Anniversary Gala this Wednesday, December 2nd at the Beverly Hilton. This Central High School student should have plenty to keep him from getting bored as he’ll be honored alongside Prince, Penn alum John Legend, Janet Jackson and Viola Davis.

Three weeks ago, he and 50 members of the Keystone State Boychoir auditioned at Queens College on November 14th for Simon Cowell’s America’s Got TalentSteve Fisher, founder and artistic director of the choir, says that Cowell has followed Bobby’s story since the papal concert and has a soft spot for the sound of boy choirs.”We’re not through yet,” says Fisher, “but we didn’t have to wait in line. It’s really a screen test with one producer and a camera. Bobby sang four different pieces with the choir behind him. We’ll find out next month, if we go through to the next step.” That would entail flying 50 members of the choir out to Hollywood for a week to film the initial episodes for the season, which airs sometime this summer.

When asked to make a prediction about the ensemble heading to Tinselftown, Fisher says, “It’s hard to know. These shows are so quirky, but they’re always looking for a great narrative in addition to talent.”

“As a nonprofit celebrating its 15th year, we are always scrounging and being frugal,” says Fisher. “But they wanted as many boys there as possible. I asked how they’d have the budget to fly out 50 kids. They laughed and said, ‘This is Hollywood. If Simon wanted 100 boys there, that’s what he’d get.’”

While Hill waits for the results, he can rehearse for another upcoming special performance. He is scheduled to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra at its Academy Ball in late January.


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Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir members at the Parkway venue on Friday, September 25, in preparation for their performance to an audience including Pope Francis with Juanes and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Festival of Families. Read the story here.

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Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir members rehearsing Thursday evening, September 24, in preparation for their performance to an audience including Pope Francis with Juanes and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Festival of Families. Read the story here.

go to the gallery on Smugmug

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