Local choir boy Bobby Hill had not planned for a solo presentation in 2015 for Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families Festival in Philadelphia.
Hill, had already sang with the Keystone Boys Choir, and after their performance, their director was asked to pick a vocalist to entertain for a one-minute break.
Within moments, Hill delivered an impromptu a capella rendition of Pie Jesu. Upon conclusion, he gave the Pope a rock from Antarctica – a gift on behalf of his choir plucked from the ground during a trip with the group in 2009.
The Pope smiled and gave him a blessed rosary. Actor Mark Wahlberg, serving as the event host, immediately lauded Hill as “the voice of an angel.”
Now 15, Hill returned to the national spotlight in 2016 by opening the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem. Named one of Ebony Magazine’s “Power 100” for 2015, he opened their 70th Anniversary Gala. And, this year Hill has realsed his debut album: “My Best for Him,” a collection of 12 Christmas classics featuring the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.
Since age 7, Hill has been a member of the Keystone State Boychoir and is a frequent soloist and descant on the Concert Choir, Town Choir and “Eight Sopranos” Ensemble.
Since his performance for the Pope, Hill’s travels to Burmuda, the Czech Republic, Italy and Jakarta, Indonesia have required him to enroll in virtual school.
“We’re just taking one step at a time,” said Hill, who resides in Andorra with his parents, Jerrold and Karla. “Right now, I am focused on my school work right now because it is taking a lot from my work. I am just doing performances here and there.”
The young vocalist said he spends his down time in Center City, stopping in Starbucks for refreshments and wandering through Rittenhouse Square.
“I still hang out with my friends most weeks, maybe three to four times a week,” he said. “But my parents are like, ‘You know you got to stay at home and do your work.’ I am with my friends a lot, so I haven’t really missed out on the social end of it.”
About three weeks ago, Hill performed at an event where QVC President & CEO Mike George was present.
The teen immediately pitched his debut album, “My Best for Him,” a collection of 12 Christmas classics featuring the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.
“I just went up to him and asked him if he could help me with my album and he said, ‘Sure.’ It is usually a two month process to get something onto QVC and we did it in the span of a week and a half. We got it up there and went on TV.” The CD promptly sold out and is currently back-ordered through year’s end.
Utilizing his confidence is just a result of all that Hill has learned in his life.
“I know that I am really privileged with a supportive family and not everybody has that, but I think the one major thing that has helped me has been courage,” explained Hill. “I notice that whenever I take a leap of faith it works to my benefit. Now, I know that it possibly could not, but I know that in order to get far in life you must have courage and take a leap of faith every once in a while.”
Philadelphia singing sensation Bobby Hill debut album, “My Best for Him” is available at the Trolley Car Diner, 7619 Germantown Ave, and Trolley Car Café, 3269 S Ferry Rd, both in Philadelphia. For more information, visit bobbywhill.com.