Chestnut Hill Local, August 16, 2007:
"Hill area teen singers on top while ‘down under’

Chestnut Hill Local August 2, 2007

From the 2006 Southeast Asia tour - Vietnam




On the Vietnamese Embassy website. (opens in new window)



Keystone State Boychoir and VNOB children’s choir perform at the Opera House.


The U.S. Embassy co-sponsored the visit of the Keystone State Boychoir to Hanoi July 2-4.  The 50-member boychoir from Pennsylvania visited Hanoi as part of a Southeast Asia tour that also included Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia. The boys were welcomed by homestay families in Hanoi, supported by the U.S.-Vietnam society. They performed at a local orphanage and performed alongside the VNOB Children’s Choir at the Opera House on July 3. This was the first such exchange of childrens choirs in Vietnam, providing an opportunity for young people to share their love of music and create cultural bridges on the occasion of America's Independence Day.

From the Chestnut Hill Local - April 20, 2006
‘Voice change’ not critical for Hill area Boychoir members


Jesse Furukawa of Lafayette Hill (left) and Jake Smith of Mount Airy sing out at the choir’s 2005 festival performance.
“Freeze!” Steven Fisher’s command races from the marble dais of Germantown’s First Presbyterian Church up through riser after riser of boys. Down in front, 11-year-old Clay Bryan of Wyndmoor gets within a twitch of freezing. A few risers up, Jordan Thomas of Mt. Airy, who is 15 and burnished by more than five years of performing, freezes.
Fisher turns his back on them to look out over the Easter lilies that line the dais and speak to the parents of the Keystone State Boychoir. There is rustling.
Fisher reels back to face the roughly 70 youngsters.
“Don’t talk. Cannot talk. Don’t talk.”

It is Saturday morning, weekly rehearsal time for the choir of about 114 boys. Their next scheduled performance is this Saturday, April 22. The boychoir is on the 4 p.m. bill with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame at Houston School in Mt. Airy.
Fisher and Joseph Fitzmartin, who is music director for the group, founded the chorus in 2001. Although it draws from about 60 ZIP codes, it is well represented by Northwest Philadelphia. Fitzmartin teaches and directs at the William Penn Charter School and pulled from his base when the men began building the choir.
Both men previously worked with the Philadelphia Boys Choir, with which their group is occasionally confused. But the Keystone choir, unlike the more traditional ones, gives boys a bit more wiggle room.
“The body should be allowed to sing as well as the voice,” Fisher said. “When the body is completely stiff, it does not produce as [great] a sound.”
Fisher admitted that asking the boys to move did increase the risk of the squirm factor.
 “You have to pull them back sometimes,” Fisher said, but added that freeing the body during a performance allows boys to “channel that energy.”
Still, they are boys and their musical bosses give them break time in the church gym, where they play basketball, foosball and dodge ball.
That time offstage also serves another purpose: to further cement what Fisher and Fitzmartin consider a community of boys and young men.
“They have the best time together,” said MaryAnn Case of Mt. Airy, whose sons Stuart, 18, and Thomas, 13, are part of Keystone. “It reminds me of the Fathers Club in Chestnut Hill.”
Fisher said that many Keystone performers play sports, but that “for the boys who are not athletically inclined, this is crucial. … Our society says that boys don’t sing, and there’s a certain stigma.”
His singers differ not only in their interests outside the choir, but also in their backgrounds. The choir holds itself up as diverse. There is an annual membership fee of $600, but there is scholarship money. There is also financial help, along with group fundraising activities, when the choir makes its annual international tour.
Fisher offers an anecdote about two boys who had become tight friends, and their first flight together.
“One [from Camden] had never been on a plane before, and the other had never been in coach,” Fisher said. “I think that’s special.” Two boys from opposite ends of the economic scale had become friends “because talent is the great equalizer,” he said. “They both sing well.”
The mission to be inclusive does not omit that dreaded “voice change.”
“They become baritones or, as they describe it, they go to purgatory, limbo,” Fisher said. For most choirs, he added, “when Mother Nature moves in for the kill, they’re out the door.”
Not at Keystone. Fisher and Fitzmartin established a group of baritones, which now has 10 or 12 boys.
“When I have them in a small group, they’re not afraid to sing out,” Fisher said, adding that the change can take from a week to a month, six months, even a year. During that time, they do sing with the regular chorus. And when the change is complete, they move into the graduate choir.
Not all boys stick around long enough for the voice change. “Sometimes we have to fire them,” Fisher said, or candidates themselves decide they are not cut out for Keystone.
Boys began their association with the choir at age 7 or 8 as trainers. They move on to apprentice, then candidate. The big step is when they become full members.
“They earn their jacket,” Fisher said. “That’s the big rite of passage.”
The Keystone State Boychoir will perform at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at Houston School in Mt. Airy. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults. For information on the concert or about auditioning for the choir, call 215-849-1762.

Keystone and Japanese choirs reunite
By Brooke Honeyford
For The Inquirer

As the title of their 2005 CD puts it, the members of the Keystone State Boychoir are Not Your Average Choir Boys.

Members from nearly 60 zip codes in the tristate area dedicate themselves to intense vocal training to develop a unique voice.

They will showcase their collective talent, along with the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, on Sunday in Rittenhouse Square in a concert with the Hiroshima Boys Choir. The show, part of the Cherry Blossom Festival, marks a reunion of the two choirs, which performed together in the City of Peace last summer.

For three weeks in early July, the Keystone State Boychoir was in Japan, stopping in Hiroshima to commemorate 60 years of peace between the United States and Japan.

The spirit of the Japanese people impressed choir member Stuart Case, 18, a senior at Germantown Friends. "They are the nicest people on the planet, as far as I'm concerned," he said. The choir also visited Nagasaki, which, like Hiroshima, was attacked by the United States with an atomic bomb in World War II. Case described that visit as "intense" and "emotional."

His most vivid memory of the trip is of his host, a Mr. Fukahori, standing on the train platform waving goodbye with tears in his eyes, proudly wearing a Keystone State Boychoir hat. During their stay, Fukahori candidly spoke to the choir about 17 family members who died from the atomic blast.

The boys were welcome everywhere they went, and in most cases, treated like rock stars. Their pictures were plastered in Japanese news media. They were presented with gifts, ranging from peace cookies to silver spoons, at nearly every stop. Following a performance at the JoGakuin School, the boys had to be crammed into a room to escape a throng of screaming girls clamoring to capture pictures with their camera phones.

Eighth grader Jesse Furukawa, of Germantown Friends, says "all the attention was awkward," although he continues to receive e-mails and to wear ankle bracelets he was given by female fans. Because of his Japanese ancestry, Furukawa was selected to receive cranes created by the student body of St. Mary's School in Nagasaki as a sign of peace and friendship.

According to a Japanese tale, Sadako was a Japanese girl who crafted 1,000 paper cranes as a wish for peace before dying at age 12 of leukemia caused by atomic-bomb radiation. During a recent visit to the choir's home at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, a handful of mothers were diligently folding colored paper into cranes that will be presented to the members of the Hiroshima choir when they arrive this weekend in the City of Brotherly Love.

This journey of friendship and the pursuit of peace echoes in the repertoire for the coming concert. The Keystone State Boychoir will sing "Khululu Imbadada," a traditional South African song that translates to "take your shoes off" - a homage to the Japanese custom they observed while touring the country. Members of both choirs, who have remained close, will be reunited onstage singing "Al Shlosha," which means three things on which the world rests: truth, hope and peace.

Online Extra

Check out an audio clip.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Wednesday August 4, 2004

55 Boys In One Room
by Kris Capps

Fifty-five boys in one room sounds kind of scary, but not when it is these boys.

Members of Pennsylvania's Keystone State Boychoir, the boys were on their Pacific Northwest Tour and performed for free at the Denali Foundation's Charles Sheldon Center last week.

adsfBelting out everything from hymns to show tunes, their performance was so enthralling, it drew in people who just happened to be strolling by outside.

Earlier in the day, the boys went rafting on the Nenana River and then treated boatmen to an impromptu performance in the parking lot at Denali Outdoor Center.

The boys said one of the most exciting moments during their Denali visit was taking the bus trip into Denali National Park and seeing a photographer almost get eaten by a bear.

They may have seen a close encounter between a person and a bear, and there was certainly plenty of bear activity in the park this past week, but there were no reports of anyone getting nearly devoured.

The boys choir offers "world-class choral music education and performance opportunities to boys from diverse economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds, while nurturing leadership skills, building character and encouraging self-discipline."

In only their third season, the choir has performed from Washington, D.C., to the famed Manaus Opera House in the Amazon rain forest. They toured South Africa their first year. Now they can add Denali National Park and Preserve to their list.

by Michael Caruso
Dec 11, 2003

The holiday season often brings unexpected pleasures. For a classical music critic, that can take the shape of the chance to hear an ensemble in concert for the first time, one about which one has only written in the abstract.

adsfThat opportunity arrived Sunday afternoon when I heard the Keystone State Boychoir sing a holiday concert at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church at 24th and Green Streets in Fairmount. The choir, based in the First Presbyterian Church of Germantown,will repeat the program there December 14 and 21 at 3 p.m. They were accompanied at the piano by founder and music director, Joseph Fitzmartin, and conducted by Steven Fisher, associate director.

Of all the classical music ensembles, none is inherently and organically more precarious than a boychoir. With the skyrocketing quantity of proteins consumed by most American youngsters these days, the lifespan of a boy treble is shorter than ever before. Almost before a boy has mastered the requisite vocal technique (let alone acquired the musical
sophistication) to sing beautifully, his voice changes; that angelic, stratospheric clarity is often replaced by an undependable croak, leaving the choir director to start the process all over again with another boy treble.

It sometimes may seem more trouble than it's worth - but it's not. Not only is there value in boys making music together as an ensemble, but this age of ours in which "authenticity" is hailed as the "be all and end all" ought to demand the continuation of boychoirs as part of a tradition now 1,000 years old. St. Paul's Cathedral in London - not the current Sir Christopher Wren masterpiece now standing, but its predecessor - boasted a choir of men and boys well before the Norman invasion in 1066. And St. Paul's Cathedral was not alone, for countless of its collegial institutions on the continent included similar choirs within their establishments.

This means that choirs such as the Tallis Scholars, dedicated to "authentically" reviving the repertoire of sacred choral music composed during the Renaissance(approximately 1350 to 1600), are actually singing their scores in transcriptions because the music was originally composed for choirs of men and boys. When you hear the Tallis Scholars sing William Byrd's Mass for Five Voices, for example, you're not hearing the same sound the composer heard either in his imagination or in private chapels.

During Byrd's lifetime, public celebrations of the Roman Catholic Mass were prohibited by the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of England. There's a tonal world of difference between the sound of a choir made up of boy trebles, natural male altos (the word means "high" as in above the tenor) plus traditional tenors, baritones and basses on the one hand, and a choir of women sopranos, female altos/male countertenors, tenors, baritones and basses on the other.

No matter how strenuously they try, female sopranos simply cannot achieve the transparent clarity that characterizes the singing of boy trebles. In the case of the Tallis Scholars, there's an added quality of "transcription" to their efforts; they've been known to raise the key of scores by as much as a major third to achieve a most inauthentic timbral brilliance.

Founded in 2001, the Keystone State Boychoir has already garnered numerous honors, including singing with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Choral Arts Society of Philadelhia and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Its Sunday afternoon program was an enchanting mix of old and new, sacred and secular. The choir was
equally at home in the traditional "Personent Hodie" as in "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

Sleeh's "Jazz Gloria" and Hampton's "Praise His Holy Name" were both sung with pulsating vitality while John Rutter's "Nativity Carol" was sung with an appropriate delicay of color and refinement of expression, particulary by soloist Ben Schrager. Alexander Levicoff was equally admirable as the soloist in Baldwin's "Balulow."

The afternoon's unexpected delight was the finale: a surprise (to audience and choir alike) rendition of Handel's "Hallelujah" Chorus. Not intended to be performed until after another two rehearsals, conductor Steven Fisher decided at the last moment to close the concert with this exuberant exclamation. It remains a daunting work to sing - yet the boys handled it with emotional aplomb built upon technical security. The trebles, in particular - for which Handel originally composed the highest choral part - sang stunningly well. I, for one, can hardly wait to hear the choir sing works by such masters as Byrd, Tallis, Palestrina and Victoria.

KSB Sings for the New Governor

By Joyce Eisenberg
Wed, Feb. 12, 2003

It took more than beautiful voices to get the Keystate State Boychoir to Harrisburg for the inauguration of Governor Ed Rendell. Philadelphia's former mayor had heard the choir sing at a Pennsylvania Society dinner at New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel in December, and had told one of his aides that KSB "were the superstars of the evening." But literally hundreds of choirs throughout the state were petitioning to sing at his swearing-in ceremony.

"We never let up," Steve Fisher explains. "We asked everyone in our choir family to give us the names of anybody who was in Rendell's circle. We must have sent 30 letters; we even had the gardener of Rendell's next door neighbor talk to Rendell's gardener about us!"

adfThe choir eventually got the call to perform America the Beautiful at the inauguration. "Rendell's staff had me come to Harrisburg twice to walk through every inch. They said it was a solemn affair and that the boys couldn't miss a beat. They asked us to sing at the beginning and end of the ceremony. In between, we could wait inside. So we agreed to sing without winter coats on," Fisher explains.

Things didn't go as planned. The lieutenant governor's ceremony ran long. The state constitution stipulated that the new governor must be sworn in by a certain hour, which had passed. So when his turn in the spotlight came, the governor skipped six items on the program, including a song by KSB. "The entire program was completely ad-libbed," Fisher says. "Everything was out of order. The benediction was said before the opening prayer."

After 45 minutes in the bitter cold, with the boys turning all shades of blue, KSB finally sang. The new governor stood with the boys and sang along. "It was a miracle that Michael Casimir could play the violin - which had stayed in tune - with his cold fingers. Afterwards, Sen. Arlen Spector said that they may have been a boychoir, but these were men to brave the cold like that," Fisher proudly recalls.


by Peter Burwasser
City Paper

"....The excellent choruses from both the adult and the boy ranks fleshes out the music in a satisfying way"

Children sing the praises of opera instead of football

By Michael Vitez
Inquirer Columnist
Sunday, November 10, 2002

Reggie Brown gave up football. For choir. Not that he always behaves like a choirboy. Just ask the only two girls singing with him in the Keystone State Boychoir.

"He annoys us," said Kelly Norton, 11. How? "The way boys do," said Mariah Butler, 11. At that moment, as if on cue, Reggie, 11, threw a broken cheese curl at me. The choir was taking a break in a rehearsal room at the Academy of Music. You may be wondering why two girls are singing with a "Boychoir," especially as it performs in the opera Carmen this week.

Well, all 25 boys were required to commit to 90 hours of rehearsals for Carmen on top of regular twice-a-week practices for other Boychoir concerts. The boys were even required to be at the Academy of Music from 5 to 10 p.m. on Halloween. No trick-or-treating. One boy went trick-or-treating anyway. He was dropped to alternate. Another boy got sick. Hence the girls, who have brothers in the Boychoir, and who love to sing, and who are always hanging around, and who know every line.

The Keystone State Boychoir is in its second year, directed by Joseph Fitzmartin and Steven Fisher. Both men worked for many years at the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale, but they decided to go off and start a new choir. The old choir sings in red jackets. The new choir sings in green ones.

Speaking of jackets, Reggie Brown just earned his green jacket last Saturday. He'll have it for Thanksgiving concerts. He called his mom at her hair salon in Bensalem the moment he mastered "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," the last of 12 required standards. Then he called his grandmother, who's been crowing about her grandson the opera star.

Once in a lifetime

Reggie didn't call his football coach, but Reggie's mom is pretty sure he understands why the boy gave up the Bucks County Bears for Bizet's Carmen, not to mention a forthcoming performance at the White House. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing," Carla Brown said.

Reggie is pretty serious. He lives in Northeast Philadelphia and is in sixth grade at the School Lane Charter School in Bensalem. He often sings opera in the shower before school. He has taken some heat from friends at home. "One kid, when I quit the football team, he called me a traitor," Reggie said. "He thought I went to a different team. 'Yo, Anthony, I'm in the opera.' "Everybody misjudges opera," Reggie added. "They think it's a bunch of people running around in hats, singing their lungs off. And it's really cool." Prior to Carmen, Reggie had never seen an opera, much less been in one. Same with his parents. Now, the whole family is excited. They believe he inherited his love of singing from his grandmother Robbie Slaton, who sings in her church choir.

Traveling abroad

Before dress rehearsal on Tuesday, Reggie's mother tried to adjust his soldier's costume. "Pull your shirt out a little," she said, attempting to tug on it. "I'm not allowed to!" he said, pulling away from her. Following rehearsal, after the boys left the stage, one choir mom measured Reggie for a new hat for his soldier costume. "I bet his head's grown," Fisher quipped, "now that he's been on the stage of the Academy of Music."

Reggie's going to Brazil with the choir next summer. Had he earned his green jacket last summer, he would have spent three weeks in South Africa. "We have boys who have never traveled other than first class, and we have boys who have never been on a plane," Fisher said. "The choir shows them a whole new world." They sang at the Trump Marina Casino Hotel last Christmas. That's a lot of pressure for these boys, most of whom are 11 to 13. One boy apparently ate too much and got a little too nervous before the Trump performance, and, well... more than sound emanated from his diaphragm, recounted Jordan Thomas, 12, one of Reggie's fellow choirboys. "He's not in choir anymore," Jordan added.

Pep talk

On Friday, opening night of Carmen, the Boychoir warmed up in the rehearsal hall high above and far away from the stage. With only a few minutes before their appearance, their director gave them the talk. "Guys, bright, shiny eyes," Fitzmartin said. "This is the most fun you'll ever have - maybe this week. There's a full house. Everyone's pumped. You'll remember this for the rest of your life. It's opening night at one of the grandest opera halls around... . Go out and kick some musical butt." The choir descended its way through a labyrinth of stairways to the stage. They waited in the wings for their cue, silently high-fiving some of the opera stars. Out they marched, before 2,900 fans. They held their focus, sang their hearts out.

"Amazing," Reggie said afterward. "Really cool."

Boy Power

From Philadelphia Magazine,
Critics' Picks
December, 2001
by Robert DiGiacomo

PictureIf the thought of 50 prepubescent boys in one room makes you cringe--the mayhem, the rowdiness, the decibel level--think again. The Choral Arts Society's Keystone State Boychoir makes its debut December 9th, and the sounds promise to be quite angelic. But the concert represents more to its youthful members than just the opportunity to perform--though they have been rehearsing twice weekly since September, according to Donald Nally, Choral Arts Society artistic director. "It's important that we provide a venue to teach boys general music skills, in a nurturing environment, that are usable throughout their entire lives," he says. The debut of the Boychoir, under the direction of former Philadelphia Boys Choir associate conductors Joe Fitzmartin and Steven Fisher, promises to be an audience-pleaser as well. The concert--a joint appearance by the Choral Arts Society and the Concert Band of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia--will offer holiday chestnuts ("White Christmas" and "Sleigh Ride"), the Choral Arts' signature piece "O Magnum Mysterium," and a sing-along of traditional carols. For those Scrooges who cry sexism, Nally pledges there will be a Choral Arts girl choir taking its first bows in a season or two. $22-$35. Church of the Holy Trinity, 1904 Walnut St. 215-545-5451.

You've got voice male with this choir

From The North East Times
December 12, 2001
By William Kenny

The public sees the members of the fledgling Keystone State Boychoir as they file into church for a traditional holiday concert, wearing their green blazers, replete with American flag pins on their left lapels. The boys open their black sheet-music binders, caressing them under their chins, and come to attention in anticipation of the director's cue. This is the public face of the region's newest boys choir. It has been seen only a couple of times so far in this, the choir's inaugural season. But the real action takes place out of view, in a well-equipped but modest-size room at the Penn Charter School in East Falls. It is like many modern-day choir rooms -- a grand piano occupying one large corner, stacks of compact discs lining a wall, and a row of computerized keyboards stretched along another wall. But the room is different, too. Notably, it has a psychedelic poster of John Lennon on an out-of-the-way billboard, as well as several cloth banners, presumably created by grade school art students, hanging from the ceiling. Such diversions give the room a certain cozy comfort, a quality that likely becomes necessary as Joseph Fitzmartin and Steven Fisher attempt to mold a collection of typically fidgety and preoccupied 8-to-14-year-old boys into a cohesive, professional group of live performers.

The boys, all 50-some of them, mold themselves in this room, too. "It's a two-way street," explained Fitzmartin, founder and artistic director of the choir, following a recent rehearsal. "In essence, we're showing them what we are as musicians, and at every rehearsal we ask them what they feel about 'that piece.' It's musical maturation." Their practice sessions, which can last from an hour and a half on weeknights to three hours on the weekends, are a lot of work, to be sure. As choir president and Northeast Philadelphia resident Kyle Norton said, "I will admit, sometimes it is a bit boring." Kyle is 11. Another Northeast resident, Christopher Hanley, 10, agrees. "Usually, it gets real, real tiring," he said. "My legs start hurting (from standing)." "I feel nervous because I think I'm gonna mess up," added 9-year-old Kevin Hanley, one of a handful of "candidates" hoping to earn a position in the regular choir. Yet, unless you pry such criticisms from them, these same boys are much more likely to celebrate the endeavor, including those demanding, repetitive rehearsals. "It is very fun. You learn a lot of new pieces, and each one is more exciting than the last," the precocious Kyle noted. Fun fits right into the vision of Fitzmartin and Fisher, both of whom were associate directors of the highly regarded Philadelphia Boys Choir until parting ways with that organization late last year. Although there are numerous other boys choirs in the region, the adults say theirs is creating its own niche, unique in philosophy and style. "Each one is specific as to what they offer the youngsters. This one is unique because of what we offer in music technique," said Fitzmartin, who also is a music instructor at Penn Charter.

The directors strive to nurture leadership skills and character among the boys, in addition to the educational aspect of the program. When asked about their vision, they propose self-discipline, musicianship and respect for the process as well as the product. "The means should be the most fun you ever have," Fitzmartin said, "making the product and refining it to the point where they can tell us 'We were too loud at that point.' That's the musicianship." Their goals should not be mistaken for the current status of the group, however. Despite three weeks of intensive training last summer, as well as a fall full of twice-a-week rehearsals, the choir is still relatively raw, according to Fitzmartin. On Sunday, Dec. 2, one night after their inaugural jacket presentation ceremony, the choir made its concert debut with a holiday performance for supporters and friends at the Collenbrook United Methodist Church in Drexel Hill. "I would say we just spread our wings for the first time on Sunday evening," the director said. "I guess we were like a duckling that's newly hatched. It was great that we were able to perform for friends." Although some of the choir members have prior performing experience with different organizations, there was no relaxing at that first performance. "Our first time on stage, yes, I was nervous," Christopher Hanley said. "My stomach was making weird noises. I was doing pretty well, then sometimes I'd lose all of the words and forget." Thank heavens for their black song books.

Fitzmartin expects the boys to work out the kinks in time. Since that opening night, the choir has continued its march through the holiday season. Following a private performance in Atlantic City last Friday, the boys joined the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia at Holy Trinity Church in Rittenhouse Square on Sunday. Although independent, the Keystone State Boychoir is an associate of the 20-year-old Choral Arts Society, directed by Donald Nally. Together, the youth and adult groups will perform again in the spring. The choir's next public performance will be Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd in East Falls. Though free and open to the public, those attending will be able to make "free-will" contributions to the choir. Then on Christmas Eve, the choir has been invited to sing carols on the steps of the new Kimmel Center concert hall on South Broad Street. Again, it is a free show. The choir's long-term schedule has it performing a yet-to-be announced spring concert, then a three-week tour of South Africa in July and August. Fitzmartin is amazed to see such a project take shape in such a short period of time. "It's just so exciting," said Fitzmartin. "I'm so thrilled. It's the adventure of a lifetime."

Local artists, groups awarded grants

From The Philadelphia Inquirer,
Thursday, September 20, 2001

The Five-County Arts Fund has announced the award of $341,812 in grants to 117 artists and community organizations for 2001. The fund is a program of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts. Awards are given to nonprofit organizations and individual artists to encourage collaborative projects that benefit communities. Among the recipients: Keystone State Boychoir, $2,182, for music and blazers for choral program including two-week music camp, rehearsals throughout the year, and several performances.