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With Unscheduled “Pie Jesu”, Boy Soprano Brings Down the House


14 year old Bobby Hill’s a’capella solo had not been planned

When fourteen year-old Bobby Hill learned he had been chosen to sing before Pope Francis at the Festival of Families, he declared “I want to be discovered by Andrea Bocelli backstage!”

Having sung with the Keystone State Boychoir for seven years, Hill is an experienced singer for his age, and he demonstrated a good deal of self-possession after being informed that — due to a last-minute glitch — he would be sent out on the stage, unannounced and all alone, to sing an a’cappella version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu”.

Dressed in jeans and a boychoir polo shirt, Hill seemed to appear from nowhere and, as a set change went on behind him, he delivered a pitch-perfect and clear-voiced performance of a difficult piece, displaying bell-like top notes that got everyone’s attention and brought down the house.

After his performance, Hill gave a special gift to the pontiff, a small stone he and his choirmates had brought back from a 2009 trip to Antarctica. “We brought back a rock we were saving to give to someone special like maybe the president or the pope, but we ended up giving it to the pope tonight.”

Like a born salesman, Hill added that the choir does have one more such stone, should President Obama like to have the choir perform at the White House.

After his performance, Pope Francis warmly greeted Hill and accepted the rock with apparent interest. The teenager then tried to exit the stage before quickly being called back to the pope, who presented him with a rosary.

“It was so surreal, it was amazing,” said Hill.

Video source: Fox 29

Elizabeth Scalia is Editor-in-Chief of the English edition of Aleteia

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