Spiritual songs, American Classics and Sacred Music: these are the sounds emitted by “America's Ambassadors of Song,” Philadelphia Boys Choir.
Led by conductor Jeffrey Smith for the past 15 years, boys from ages seven to 12 make up this internationally-known group, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Conductor, Philadelphia Boys Choir
“We perform all throughout the year in different areas. But once a year, we do travel internationally. We bring a message of friendship. Basically, we're called America's ambassadors of song. So we like to share our culture and our music with people of the world.”
This year, their trip was to Italy. They started in Sicily on July 19 and made their way up the country until arriving in Rome. During their tour, they got to perform and bond as part of what the singers call a “second family.”
“It's really cool here to be with kind of like a second family to me and to be with a lot of people that I care about here.”
“So this is my fourth year in the in the performing choir. It's really a truly amazing experience. You know, you're able to travel all over the world. perform all kinds of different venues just like this one. It's beautiful. It's just an amazing experience just to be with your friends, and to be the ambassadors of music to people all over the world, not just in America.”
They perform for global ambassadors and world leaders, including former US president Barack Obama. While they won't be performing for Pope Francis in Rome this time around, they did perform for him when he went to Philadelphia in 2015.
But since they are singing in a church a short distance from the Vatican, perhaps their voices will carry all the way to Pope Francis' open window with a familiar sound.