Philadelphia teen Bobby Hill's awe-inspiring national anthem brings DNC crowd together

Boos and backlash over a new email scandal overshadowed the Democratic National Convention’s unity theme Monday, but once the event kicked off, delegates found a common cause to cheer: young singer Bobby Hill’s soaring rendition of the national anthem.

The 14-year-old Philadelphia boy brought hundreds of delegates to their feet Monday with his flawless performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Bobby Hill singing the national anthem Monday at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)
Bobby Hill singing the national anthem Monday at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

Minutes after some in the contentious crowd interrupted the opening prayer with shouts of “Bernie, Bernie,” the sweetly smiling soprano unified the Wells Fargo Center with his pitch-perfect performance.

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It wasn’t Hill’s first time to wow a national audience. Last September, the teen found fame after a last-minute solo for Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit to Philadelphia.

“That was truly the voice of an angel,” actor Mark Wahlberg told Hill after hearing him perform an a cappella version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu” for the pope.

Ebony magazine put him on its 2015 Power 100 honorees’ list spotlighting “the heroes of the black community.”

The young performer is a member of the Keystone State Boychoir, a group of 200 young men ages 8 to 18 who sing a diverse selection of music.

Hill, dressed in a suit and tie, confidently strolled onto the DNC stage Monday afternoon and nailed the national anthem.

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The party faithful cheered as Hill hit the high note on “land of the free” and then sang in unison with him on the ending “home of the brave.”

Hill began singing in his church’s children’s choir when he was 3 and joined the Keystone State Boychoir at 7, according to his website. In addition to performing vocals, Hill plays guitar, violin, piano and pipe organ.

“For Bobby, the best part about his rise to fame is the chance to bring joy to others, as well as encourage boys of all walks of life to sing proudly,” his bio states.

“His most important goal in life is, to quote one of his favorite lyrics, “to be brave and strong and true, and to fill the world with love my whole life through.’”

Jason Sickles is a national reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).
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