Sunday, May 22, 2011

Commonwealth Youthchoirs Announces Seventh Annual Gala Concert


Contact: Ellie Armsby -

Commonwealth Youthchoirs Announces Seventh Annual Gala Concert

Philadelphia, PA, May 16, 2011Commonwealth Youthchoirs has announced that their Seventh Annual Gala Concert featuring the premiere choirs in Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir, with special guest artist, bass-baritone David Pittsinger will be held at the Kimmel Center on June 17, 2011.

CY Executive Director Susan S. Ashbaker said, “We are thrilled to return to the Perelman once again and have many things to celebrate on this occasion.” The choirs will present their fourth commission, by composer Thomas Pasatieri, entitled CONVERGENCE: A Charm of Moonlight. Originally conceived for inclusion in the city wide Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts and performed as an experiential musical journey through the galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the choirs will perform this opus as one of the highlights in the concert. In correspondence to Ashbaker, Pasatieri, well known not only for his work in the classical field, but for his film orchestrations for Hollywood hits such as Shawshank Redemption, Little Mermaid, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Angels in America among others, wrote, “I have enjoyed writing this cycle very much and hope they bring you as much pleasure performing them as they have brought me in their writing.” Mark Anderson, Music Director of Pennsylvania Girlchoir, and conductor of the world premiere performances at the museum added, “Mr. Pasatieri's subtle shifts in color and timbre made for a very special work. The music captured beautifully the essence of the texts - both in the individual movements, and as a complete journey from the first statement in the introduction to the Coda. Even if the listener understands not a word of French, the rise and fall of hope, loss, expectation, tension and regret are readily understood. The composition is a real gem.”

International opera star, Bass-Baritone, David Pittsinger, joins an impressive roster of gala guests when he performs with the choirs this June. Pittsinger is one of the most sought after artists of his generation. His appearances with the Metropolitan Opera have included broadcast performances as The Friar in Verdi’s Don Carlo, Trulove in The Rake’s Progress, Achilla in Giulio Cesare, Colline in La Bohème, and as The Speaker in the Met’s first HD broadcast of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Pittsinger’s 2009 season began with his Broadway debut as Emile de Becque in the Tony award-winning production of South Pacific, and his critically acclaimed performances of Enobarbus in Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra at Carnegie Hall. Of his Helen Hayes Award-nominated performance as Emile de Becque in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific at the Kennedy Center, the Washington Times wrote: “His brilliant, knife-clean bass-baritone voice, impeccable enunciation—even with a French accent—and his authoritative, passionate delivery provide the perfect mix of romance, passion, and traditional masculine bravado.” Audiences in Philadelphia will remember Pittsingers’ recent Emile de Becque in South Pacific at the Academy of Music. Roles with Opera Company of Philadelphia have included the title role in Don Giovanni, Blitch in Susannah, Mephistopheles in Faust, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte and the four Villains in Les Contes d'Hoffmann. Other past performers on the Gala Concert have included opera stars Frederica von Stade, Denyce Graves, Lauren Flanigan, and Broadway star Alison Fraser.

The June 17 Gala Concert at Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts marks the seventh such event for Commonwealth Youthchoirs ( Now in its tenth year, the organization provides exemplary choral music education and performance opportunities for over 300 young singers, aged seven through eighteen, representing five counties in the greater Philadelphia area, who sing with one of its two member-choirs, Keystone State Boychoir ( and Pennsylvania Girlchoir ( Tickets for the concert will be on sale at the Kimmel Center Box Office, Broad & Spruce Streets, by calling 215-893-1999, or by going to their website

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Keystone State Boychoir to Honor Mandela in Song and Service

Keystone State Boychoir to Honor Mandela in Song and Service
Only choir to have sung on all 7 continents returns to South Africa

Philadelphia, June 27, 2011: Celebrating its 10th Anniversary, Keystone State Boychoir (KSB) will embark on a three-week concert tour in South Africa on July 6, 2011. Having toured South Africa in its first season, KSB is returning to the country with the distinction of being the only choir to have sung on all seven continents, including Antarctica.

This “Happy Birthday, Madiba!” Concert Tour* will honor through song and community service the great Nelson Mandela. Mandela has asked that, on his birthday (July 18th), his fellow South Africans perform 67 minutes of community service, rather than simply take a day off. The 67 minutes represents the number of years he spent fighting apartheid. KSB has decided to travel to South Africa during the hero’s birthday month and honor his request in every city they visit.

Steven Fisher, Associate Music Director, says: “Nelson Mandela is one of the few, true heroes alive today. It’s important that the boys know who he is, and what he stands for. He stood up for South Africans and in doing so, stood up for us all. ”

The Boychoir will sing concerts in Kimberley, Winterton, Piet Retief, Kruger National Park, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Nylstroom, Soweto, Tygerberg, Cape Town, and Rondebosch. The Boychoir will be hosted by the St. Cyprian’s Grammar School, Kimberley Children’s Choir, Drakensberg Boys Choir, Highveld Youth Choir, Jakaranda Kinderkoor, Tyberberg Kinderkoor, and the Rondebosch Boys’ Preparatory School. This “Happy Birthday Madiba” Concert Tour will honor, through song, the great Nelson Mandela. Each day of the concert tour, the boys will perform 67 minutes of community and musical service, as requested by Madiba.

Performances include:


15:00 Joint Concert with Northern Cape Choral Institute Choir at St. Cyprian’s


15:30 Joint concert with Drakensberg Boys’ Choir and Canadian Children’s Choir


19:00 Joint concert with Highveld Youth Choir at Piet Retief High School


17:00 “Happy Birthday Madiba!” Concert at Skukuza Rest Camp Convention Center


19:00 Joint Concert with Jakaranda Children’s Choir at University of Pretoria


10:00 Memorial Service at Hector Peterson Memorial

12:00 Sing-In! with Regina Mundi Church Youth Choir at Regina Mundi


14:00 Memorial Service on Robben Island

Under the direction of co-founders Joseph P. Fitzmartin and Steven M. Fisher, the Keystone State Boychoir consists of 160 members between the ages of 8 and 18 from diverse backgrounds.

KSB has sung with the area’s most distinguished ensembles, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Opera Company of Philadelphia, serving as the latter’s official boychoir. KSB has performed internationally at the Manaus Opera House in Brazil, the Hanoi Opera House in Vietnam, and the Petronas Philharmonik Hall in Malaysia as well as in venues throughout Alaska, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, Monaco, France, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Chile and Antarctica.

The KSB experience centers on its truly joyful music making. The vibrant sound of the choir is enhanced by its compelling stage presence. Fitzmartin and Fisher believe that today’s choral music must be seen and felt, as well as heard, if the art form is to continue to thrive and to attract new audiences.

More information at

* Madiba is a title of respect for Nelson Mandela, deriving from his Xhosa clan name.


Contact: Angela Wende, 001-267-265-3165

Keystone State Boychoir 35 W. Chelten Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19144, USA

Sunday, May 8, 2011

KSB Social Media Policy

Commonwealth Youthchoirs

On-line and Social Media Rules

The following rules provide direction for choir members and their families when participating in on-line or social media activities.

By accessing, creating or contributing to any blogs, tweets, wikis, or other on-line or other social media that references the Commonwealth Youthchoirs (or its member choirs: Keystone State Boychoir, Pennsylvania Girlchoir, and FYI), you agree to abide by these rules. Please read them carefully.

  1. The Code of Conduct applies to all choir members and their families when participating in on-line and/or social media activities that involve or reference the Commonwealth Youthchoirs, its’ member choirs or any member of the choirs.
  2. As a general matter, conduct that is inappropriate at a member choir rehearsal, on tour, or during performances is inappropriate online.
  3. Post only appropriate content. This includes links to other content. Each choir has members who are of varying ages and maturity level, and therefore, content that may be appropriate for older members will not be appropriate for younger members. Use common sense. When in doubt, do not post before asking your parent, member choir directors, or membership coordinator.
  4. Posting personal information about choir members or identifying any choir member by last name is strictly prohibited under all circumstances (even if the choir member said it is OK).
  5. Photos, videos and musical performances of any of the member choirs belongings to the Commonwealth Youthchoir and must not be posted on-line or in social media without permission from the Executive Director, staff (directors, managers or coordinators) or the CY Marketing Committee.
  6. The choir insignia and name of the Commonwealth Youthchoirs and each member choir belongs to the Commonwealth Youthchoirs and must not be posted on-line or in social media without permission from the Executive Director, staff or the CY Marketing Committee.
  7. Member choirs own a dedicated YouTube Channels. Only videos approved by the Executive Director, staff or the CY Marketing Committee may be posted on the member choir YouTube Channel.

You are responsible for anything you post or that is posted by a family member. Use good judgment.

Choir members (or family) who do not abide by these rules will be required to appear before the Executive Director or Choir Directors for possible disciplinary action, which may include dismissal from the choir.

If you find material that you believe is inappropriate or that violates these rules, tell your member choir directors and/or membership coordinator immediately.