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‘Voice of Angel’ Bringing New Year’s Blessings


Papal serenader Bobby Hill headlines Dec. 31 Kimmel show

(Photo Left) Bobby Hill will be performing at the Kimmel Center on New Year's Eve. Photo courtesy of Kevdia Photography.

Much has changed for Bobby Hill since that day in 2015 when he sang for Pope Francis. His performance on the jam-packed Benjamin Franklin Parkway inspired  the event’s emcee, actor Mark Wahlberg, to proclaim him having “the voice of an angel,”

These days, Bobby regularly gets recognized on the street as “the boy who sang for the Pope.”

His performance schedule has increased dramatically, spanning venues from local prisons to five-star hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia. He gets top billing for many of his appearances; most recently, for the upcoming “Bobby Hill & Friends! A Family New Year’s Eve.”

 “It’s really exciting,” the 17-year-old junior at Springside Chestnut-Hill Academy said on a Saturday afternoon, finding time between appearances at a job center and a church Christmas Bazaar. “It’s always been a dream of mine to have my own show. And now it’s happening.”

The show will take place at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31 at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts and will be emceed by Quincy Harris, of Fox29’s daytime show “The Q.” Proceeds from the performance will benefit endARTSlessness, a campaign that seeks to ensure every school in the region has at least one arts program and for which Hill serves as a spokesperson.

Hill gained his spotlight when he stepped in to entertain the crowd during an unexpected set change for the Pope’s welcome. He sang an a cappella rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu,” which Webber himself called “simply stunning.”

Public recognition isn’t the only change Bobby has undergone in the past two years.

Steve Fisher, Founder and the Artistic Director of Commonwealth Youthchoirs, the group presenting the concert, notes in a news release that “When Bobby captured the attention of Pope Francis and the world, he was a boy soprano.” Now he’s a “breathtaking tenor.” Fisher says, “Mother Nature was kind enough to let Bobby keep his very special solo voice even as she dropped it an octave or two.”

Bobby’s “Friends” for the evening will be the New Jersey Boychoir, the Archbishop Carroll High School’s Choir, the Find Your Instrument Choir at Lingelbach Elementary School, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, New Jersey Boychoir, Garden State Girlchoir, Good Mornin’ Music! and the Keystone State Boychoir, of which Bobby is a member.

While Bobby says he hopes to always to perform his singing, he plans to attend college and explore his interests in politics and international affairs. In that area, he would be joining older brother Joe Hill, who worked for the Clinton for America campaign and who currently serves as campaign manager for Gov. Tom Wolf’s re-election campaign.

For now, Bobby is focused on all that he can bring for the Dec. 31 performance. “I hope that people can know that they’re supporting a great cause and feel good about supporting the community and the arts in Philadelphia and Camden,” he said.

Tickets are available by visiting kimmelcenter.org or calling 215-893-1999.

 

‘Voice of Angel’ Bringing New Year’s Blessings
Sheila Simmons - Contributor

Sheila Simmons brings many years of writing and communications experience to her work for Liberty City Press. She began her professional writing career at the Philadelphia Daily News, where she covered Business, City Hall and Education.

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