FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Emily Harmar, Development Director
Asher’s Legacy – CY Remembers Jack
First Annual Scholarship Concert
Saturday, March 3, 2018 l 7:30 pm
First Presbyterian Church in Germantown
35 W. Chelten Avenue, Phila, PA 19144
Germantown, Philadelphia, February 6, 2018 — For many years, the Asher’s Chocolates plant in Germantown produced a variety of chocolate treats that were the delight of children everywhere. John L. “Jack” Asher, Jr., the former co-chairman of Asher’s Chocolates and one of the founder’s grandsons, helped lead the company into a new era of profitability. He passed away on Aug. 30, 2017. On Saturday, March 3, another Germantown-based institution that benefited greatly from Jack Asher’s support and leadership – Commonwealth Youthchoirs – will honor his memory and his many contributions to the community with a concert featuring some of the region’s finest young singers.
Asher’s Legacy – CY Remembers Jack will be held at 7:30 pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown and will be performed by the singers from Keystone State Boychoir (KSB) and Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG). Mr. Asher was founding Board Chair of KSB in 2001. Over the next 17 years, with Jack’s continuing support, KSB would grow into what is today the Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY) organization. What began in 2001 as a choir of 37 boys has grown into the largest youth choral organization in the region, and one of the finest in the world. CY now serves over 600 young people in six different programs, including KSB, PG, New Jersey Boychoir, Garden State Girlchoir, Good Mornin’ Music!, and Find Your Instrument!. FYI! is a choral education program that partners with underserved schools that have no formal music offerings. Thanks in no small part to the vision of Jack Asher, hundreds of children in his beloved Germantown have the joy of singing in their lives.
The event was purposely chosen to take place on Jack’s birthday. Jack’s wife Carol and their children Dave, John and Sue, and their families are expected to be in attendance. “My Dad would be delighted that we are spending his birthday at a performance by CY’s singers. He believed strongly that children gained unique benefits and opportunities from the experience of singing in the choirs,” says Dave Asher.
At the concert, CY’s scholarship fund will be renamed The Jack Asher Scholarship Fund. All proceeds will benefit the fund so that more children in Germantown and beyond can be transformed through the power of making music together. The choir opens many doors of opportunity – a founding member of Keystone State Boychoir, Vince Cannady, auditioned for the choir while a boy at Project Home – through his choir experience he toured the world and is now one of the final four contestants on Fox 29’s “The Four.”
Jack was beloved by CY singers who each received a box of chocolates at the holidays directly from “Mr. Asher,” says Commonwealth Youthchoirs’ Founder and Artistic Director, Steven Fisher. “Over the years, Jack sent nearly 5,000 boxes of chocolates to our kids,” Fisher adds. “It’s not as if Jack had a child or grandchild who benefited directly from one of our programs. But from the beginning he was incredibly generous with his time, resources and wisdom about how to grow something,” Fisher observes. “The reason was, simply, that Jack understood the power of music in the life of a young person, especially those who are underserved.”
Jack loved both choral and organ music, and was especially fond of repertoire that involves both. “In 17 years, I don’t think that we missed a major CY performance,” says Carol Asher, Jack’s wife.
At the concert on March 3, young singers from CY will be joined by the visiting Bratislava Boys Choir and special guest organist Alessandro Pittorino to present Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb. The young Pittorino was the first Australian organ student to attend The Juilliard School, from which he recently graduated with a Master of Music in Performance. “What a fitting way to celebrate both Jack’s life and the 75th anniversary of the world premiere of this great work for organ and choir,” adds Fisher. “Pittorinio’s involvement, as an up and coming ‘rock star’ of the organ world, would have greatly pleased Jack. He was all about lifting up young people with potential. Those who knew Jack know how much he enjoyed hearing pieces that pulled out all of the 340 stops of the McLean Memorial Pipe Organ at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, which will certainly be the case when Pittorino plays!”
“Besides being a great supporter of CY, Jack was a great mentor and friend to me personally, and I miss him dearly. It is my profound honor to launch this annual event in his memory,” says Fisher. “There was only one Jack Asher. He will live on through the hearts and voices of thousands of children who knew song because of him, and through thousands more in the years to come.”
Tickets are $40, $60 and $80 and are now on sale here. For more information or to help sponsor the event, go to www.cychoirs/asherslegacy.org.
Download full-size photo of Jack Asher
Download Commonwealth Youthchoirs’ program logos (full-size .jpg file)
Download Alessandro Pittorino Bio
Download Alessandro Pittorino full-size headshot for print
Download Alessandro Pittorino at organ full-size for print
Holiday Concert on the Square
Sunday, December 17, 2017 | 5:00 pm
Church of the Holy Trinity
Rittenhouse Square, 19th and Walnut Streets | Philadelphia
Tickets on sale now through the Online Box Office
December 3: Pennsylvania Girlchoir 2017 Holiday Concerts!
Tickets on sale now! Join Pennsylvania Girlchoir for this year’s Holiday Concerts! Two performances available:
Sunday, December 3, 2017 | 3:00 pm | purchase tickets for the 3:00 pm performance
Sunday, December 3, 2017 | 6:00 pm | purchase tickets for the 6:00 pm performance
purchase tickets online until 11:00 am Sunday, then at the door…
Both concerts at Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill | 8855 Germantown Avenue | Philadelphia, PA 19118
A message from Commonwealth Youthchoirs Artistic Director Steven M. Fisher
Since the inception of the Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG) in 2004, it has been a dream of mine for PG to have full-time musical leadership. I am elated to share with you the wonderful news that Ms. Melissa Keylock has been appointed its very first full-time Music Director. Melissa hopes to lead this remarkable group into a new era of even greater choral heights. Created in 2004 as the sister choir of Keystone State Boychoir, over the last 13 years PG has earned a stellar reputation as one of the leading ensembles of its kind in the country.
Melissa is an outstanding choral educator and conductor, with extensive expertise and experience with young singers of all levels, from elementary to high school age. Melissa is a shining star in the children’s choir and girlchoir universe, and we are very fortunate to have her join our organization. She is also a gem of a human being. The girls and young women of PG will love her, as has every group of singers who’ve had the opportunity to sing under her direction. (Wait until they experience her yoga choral warm ups!) To learn more about Melissa, you can read her bio here. You can read the press release here.
For the last six years, the Girlchoir has been fortunate to have a stellar conductor in PG Music Director Vincent Metallo. His impeccable musicianship and high choral standards helped Pennsylvania Girlchoir to blossom in incredible ways during his tenure. Of course, we would have loved to have Vincent as a full-time Music Director from the beginning of his tenure with PG. But his other professional obligations – including a full-time position at Princeton High School – precluded him from this extensive of a commitment with us. And so we bid a fond au revoir to Vincent, who has served PG so well. He, like all of us, wishes Melissa the best. He agrees wholeheartedly with the need for a full-time Music Director, and looks forward to seeing PG grow in wonderful ways with the full-time leadership it deserves. In turn, we wish Vincent the very best and will always be grateful for the incredible musicianship and high choral standards he brought to PG. He’ll always be a part of the PG/CY family. In fact, not only are we going to honor Vincent in a very special way in the coming season, there are plans to have him back as a guest conductor with a very special work. Stay tuned!
PG has an exciting season of performances ahead. In collaboration with the Keystone State Boychoir, it will perform Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in honor of the composer’s centennial. The CY organization will host Choirs ROCK! Concert, bringing together 10,000 singers for the largest choral concert in US history. To finish out the season, the brother – sister choirs will embark on a concert tour of South Africa where they will represent America at the World Choral Games.
By virtue of her position as PG Music Director, Melissa will also serve as Assistant Artistic Director of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY), working closely with me to transform the lives of young people through the power of making music together. More than 700 singers, half of whom are underserved, take part in Commonwealth Youthchoirs six award-winning programs: Keystone State Boychoir, Pennsylvania Girlchoir, Find Your Instrument!, Good Mornin’ Music, Garden State Girlchoir, and New Jersey Boychoir. For more information, visit cychoirs.org.
Monday, June 19, 2017 – Quick Post!
With the thrill of Saturday’s concert in the rear view mirror, PG 2017 Tour Choir gathered at PCCH on Sunday afternoon to embark on a concert tour of Sweden! Other than a 2 hour delay on the tarmac, (“It’s a busy airport,” informs the pilot), our trip was uneventful and we arrived at Uppenbarelsekyrkan Svenka Kyrkan, got something to eat, had a brief rehearsal, and the girls were off to their homestay family. Everyone was happy and well, if in need of some sleep!
Tomorrow we will do some sight-singing, rehearse some more, and enjoy Stockholm!
With our homestays!
Good night from Sweden!