Founded in 1956, Chicago Children's Choir is a multiracial, multicultural choral music education organization, shaping the future by making a difference in the lives of children and youth through musical excellence.
Founded in 1956, Chicago Children’s Choir is a multiracial, multicultural choral music education organization, shaping the future by making a difference in the lives of children and youth through musical excellence. The Choir currently serves 2,800 children, ages 8 - 18 through choirs in 45 schools, after school programs in eight Chicago neighborhoods and the internationally acclaimed Concert Choir. Under Artistic Director Josephine Lee, the Choir has undertaken many highly successful national and international tours, received a Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award for the 2008 documentary Songs on the Road to Freedom, and has been featured in nationally broadcast television and radio performances, most recently on NBC’s Today show and the 2007 PBS series From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall.
Fifty two years ago during the Civil Rights Movement, the late Christopher Moore founded the multiracial, multicultural Chicago Children’s Choir at Hyde Park’s First Unitarian Church. He believed that youth from diverse backgrounds could better understand each other—and themselves— by learning to make beautiful music together. Today’s Choir is fully independent and serves all of Chicago from its home in the Chicago Cultural Center. Christopher Moore’s vision of a choir combining high artistic standards with a social purpose continuestodefine theChoir’smission.
Through the Choir’s tuition free In-School Programs, more than 2,100 children receive classroom training in basic music theory and choral performance from professional music educators. By developing musical skills and performing in public, the children acquire poise, increased self esteem and an understanding that discipline and hard work bring rewards.
The Choir’s after school Neighborhood Choir Programs are located in Chicago’s Albany Park, Beverly, Garfield Park (Off the Street Club), Humboldt Park, Hyde Park, Lincoln Park/DePaul, Pilsen/Little Village and Rogers Park communities. This program provides beginning and intermediate choral training to 500 children while building community pride and stewardship in each singer. In addition, there is a unique program for young men whose voices are in the process of changing called DiMension.
The world renowned Concert Choir is the pinnacle of the ChicagoChildren’s Choir experience. These 90 advanced singers are selected from the In-School and Neighborhood Choir Programs and through open auditions. As a national and international touring ensemble, the Concert Choir has performed throughout the United States, South Africa, Korea, Japan, Canada, Eastern Europe, Italy and Great Britain and for such dignitaries as former President and Senator Clinton, former South African President Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, United States Olympic Committee and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. The Choir has also performed with or for such celebrities as Luciano Pavarotti, Quincy Jones, Enrique Iglesias, Celine Dion, Samuel Ramey, Bobby McFerrin and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and collaborates regularly with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Joffrey Ballet, River North Chicago Dance Company, Millennium Park, Ravinia Festival and Grant Park Music Festival.
In 2004, Chicago Children’s Choir released its first studio recording Open Up Your Heart, and in March 2006, released the soundtrack for the musical Sita Ram. In February 2008, the Choir released Songs on the Road to Freedom featuring music from and inspired by the Civil Rights Movement.