PHILADELPHIA, May 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- This June, the Philadelphia Boys Choir returns to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts to showcase their talent and delight audiences with favorites and premieres of exciting new works. Slated for Saturday, June 4 at 4:00 pm, the concert will preview the repertoire for the Choir's upcoming summer tour to Cuba, including a new arrangement of Gershwin's Cuban Overture with lyrics written by acclaimed poet Richard Blanco. The concert will also include traditional numbers and feature the world premiere of Genesis by composer Robert S. Cohen, and performances by former choir member and recent contestant on The Voice, Nate Butler and local musical theatre star Ben Dibble. The concert will also include a ceremony honoring founder and legendary artistic director emeritus, Dr. Robert G. Hamilton, on his 80th birthday.
The Emmy-winning, Grammy-nominated Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale has cultivated a worldwide following for its acclaimed concerts and under the direction of Jeffrey R. Smith, maintains an extensive performing schedule domestically as well as an international touring program. This August, PBCC returns to Cuba for the fourth time, having performed there twice in 1999 and again in 2003. Their unique relationship with Cuba began when they were the first American arts group to perform on Cuban soil in the decades following the revolution. This will be the first time PBCC is returning since relations were normalized between the two countries, and the Choir will be performing at the American Embassy and for the Jewish community in Havana.
Stated PBCC Board Chairman, Andrew Cohen, "The re-imagined Cuban Overture for Choir and commissioning of noted Cuban poet Richard Blanco has been Jeff's vision for a long time, and we're delighted it's become such an exciting reality. While we've been to Cuba several times, this trip, given the re-established relations, the opportunity to work with Blanco, even the connection with Gershwin, enables us to be more highly visible than ever, all due to Jeff's creativity, passion and dedication."
In a preview of the upcoming performances in Cuba, the Choir will premiere a new arrangement set to Gershwin's Cuban Overture for choir. "Gershwin wrote the music inspired by his own trip to Cuba," commented Smith, "so it seems most appropriate to include this for our return, and we're thrilled to debut the work of Richard Blanco, who was commissioned to write the lyrics for this piece." Blanco, who read one of his poems at President Obama's 2nd inauguration in 2013, is the first immigrant, the first Latino, the first openly gay person and the youngest person to be a U.S. inaugural poet!
The other centerpiece to the program is the world premiere of GENESIS, by composer Robert Cohen. A work in four movements, it tells the Old Testament story as an arrangement for choir. Two of the movements, Creation and Noah, have been performed by the choir, but the three additional -- Garden of Green Leaves, Tower of Babel and Cain and Abel --will be heard for the first time. The extended solo part of the Serpent in Garden of Green Leaves will be performed by local theatre star and West Chester University adjunct professor, Ben Dibble.
Established in 1968, the PBCC's achievements include world tours, recordings with internationally renowned orchestras and soloists such as Luciano Pavarotti, national and international television appearances and praise from critics and audiences worldwide. Recent and upcoming engagements include Carnegie Hall, Notre-Dame/Paris, King's College/Cambridge, and the Kimmel Center, Mann Center and the Academy of Music.
The Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale's annual concert will be held Saturday, June 4 at 4pm at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia. Tickets are $24 – $44 and can be purchased at www.kimmelcenter.org. For group sales, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional concert details will be posted online at www.phillyboyschoir.org/VerizonHall.
For more information about PBCC, visit www.phillyboyschoir.org or call 215.222.3500.
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SOURCE Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale