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 3,000 children, ages 8-18 through choirs in 51 schools, after-school programs in eight Chicago neighborhoods and the internationally acclaimed Concert Choir. Under President and 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 The Oprah Show, NBC’s Today and the PBS series From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall.
Fifty-five 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 continues to define the Choir’s mission.
Through the Choir’s In-School Program, nearly 2,400 children receive classroom training in music theory and choral performance from professional music educators trained in the Chicago Children's Choir curriculum. 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 Programs are located in Chicago’s Albany Park (North Park University), Beverly (Beverly Arts Center), Garfield Park (Off The Street Club), Humboldt Park (Casa Central), Hyde Park (First Unitarian Church), Lincoln Park (DePaul Community Music), Pilsen/Little Village (Rauner Family YMCA) and Rogers Park (St. Scholastica Academy) 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 Chicago Children’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, Argentina, Uruguay, Canada, Eastern Europe, Italy and Great Britain and for such dignitaries as former President and Secretary of State Clinton, former South African President Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Vice President Joe Biden, International and United States Olympic Committees and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Choir has also performed with or for such celebrities as Luciano Pavarotti, Beyoncé, Quincy Jones, Yo-Yo Ma, Enrique Iglesias, Celine Dion, Denyce Graves, Nicole Cabell, Samuel Ramey, Bobby McFerrin, Sweet Honey In The Rock 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. The Choir has four studio recordings—Open Up Your Heart, SitaRam, Songs on the Road to Freedom and Holiday Harmony—available from Amazon.com, iTunes and www.ccchoir.org.