Chicago Children's Choir

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Chicago Children's Choir is a non-profit organization committed to inspiring and changing lives through music. Founded in 1956 during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the Chicago Children's Choir serves over 4,400 singers annually through its core values of education, expression, and excellence and is devoted to peacefully creating a better world.

More than 4,000 singers perform at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago at the 2015 Paint the Town Red concert.


Chicago Children's Choir is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that raises approximately $2 million each year in order to provide reduced tuition on a sliding scale according to family income. The choir serves in excess of 4,400 children annually through choirs in nearly 80 Chicago schools, after-school neighborhood choir programs in 10 Chicago neighborhoods (Albany Park, Austin, Beverly, Englewood, Garfield Park, Hyde Park, Humboldt Park, Lincoln Park/DePaul, Pilsen/Little Village and Rogers Park), DiMension (an ensemble for boys with changing voices), and the internationally-acclaimed Voice of Chicago, the top performing ensemble and highest aesthetic pinnacle of the Chicago Children's Choir. Of the children served, ages 8–18, the majority come from low-income homes[1] and would otherwise have no other access to music education.


In 1956 during the Civil Rights Movement, the late Rev. Christopher Moore founded the multiracial, multicultural Chicago Children’s Choir at Hyde Park’s First Unitarian Church of Chicago.[2] He believed that youth from diverse backgrounds could better understand each other - and themselves - by learning to make beautiful music together. Today, the 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.

Distinguished singers included David Edmonds, who performed with the choir from 1970 to 1977. He sang classical, folk and spiritual pieces as lead soloist in numerous concerts, both in Chicago and on national tours. He can be heard on the choir's 1972 album Chicago Children's Choir Sings at Orchestra Hall. Edmonds also performed with the Joffrey Ballet, the Rockefeller Chapel Orchestra and Chorus, and the Bretton Woods Boy Singers. He died from AIDS complications in 1990.[3]



  • Jambo and Other Call and Response Songs and Chants (with Ella Jenkins) (1960s)
  • Behold This Star (1970s)
  • Chicago Children's Choir Sings at Orchestra Hall (1972)
  • 40 Years of Harmony (1997)
  • Songs of the Human Spirit (c.2000)
  • Spring Gala Concert (2001)
  • Chicago Children's Choir Live from Vienna (2001)
  • Open Up Your Heart (2004)
  • You Shall Have a Song (2004)
  • Sita Ram (2008)
  • Songs on the Road to Freedom (2008)
  • The Very Best Time of the Year: Music for the Holiday Season (c.2009)
  • Holiday Harmony (2009)
  • Holiday (2010)
  • We All Live Here (2016)

Other appearances[edit]


From July 4 - 13, 2017, the top performing ensemble, Voice of Chicago, will travel to Italy on their annual tour.

Voice of Chicago (formerly Concert Choir) tours: 2016 - Havana, Cuba 2015 - New York City & Washington, DC 2014 - South Africa

Concert Choir tours: 2013 - India 2012 - Italy 2011 - Baltic Tour: Estonia, Finland & Latvia w/ Bobby McFerrin 2010 - Alaska 2009 - South American Tour: Argentina and Uruguay 2008 - South Korea 2007 - "Freedom Tour": Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi & Louisiana 2006 - Czech Republic 2005 - Japan 2004 - Canada 2003 - Germany 2002 - Japan 2001 - Germany, Austria & Hungary 2000 - Colorado 1999 - England, Scotland & Wales 1998 - Pacific Northwest & British Columbia 1997 - Italy, Sicily & Sardinia 1997 - Ukraine 1996 - South Africa 1995 - Canada 1994 - Russia 1993 - Mexico 1992 - Japan 1991 - New Orleans, Atlanta, Alabama

1956-1981: After Chicago Children's Choir began tours (overnight concert trips) in the mid-1960s, touring continued annually through at least 1981. Trips below that lasted less than a week are marked *. Those below lasting more than 11 days, always in summer, were Montreal I (1967: 3 wks), Boston (1969: 2 wks), and Europe (1970: 6 wks). Tours listed here all involved members of the Choir's top performance unit, designated "Senior Tour Unit" during most of this period.

1974-81: list incomplete 1981: East Coast/Ontario (Toronto) 1978 - East Coast (April) 1978 - ? (March) 1977 - Ohio* (November) 1977 - East Coast/Canada (Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal) (April) and simultaneous trip in northern Illinois* 1977 - Southwest (March) 1976 - Madison*

1973 - East Coast (late April) 1973 - Tennessee (early April) 1973 - New England (March: "the blizzard tour") 1972 - New England (April) 1972 - Texas (March) 1971 - two simultaneous April tours to different parts of the East Coast 1970 - England, Denmark, West Germany (June–July) 1970 - New York III (April) 1970 - Colorado? (March) 1969 - Minnesota* (November) and another* simultaneously 1969 - Boston area 1969 - Washington, D.C. area (April) 1969 - New York II (March) 1968 - Kentucky-Tennessee* (autumn) 1968 - Iowa* (May) 1968 - New York I (April) 1968 - Madison WI* (March) 1967 - Montreal II (October: to Expo '67) 1967 - Montreal I (summer: to Expo '67) 1966 - Indianapolis* (November) 1965?- Madison* 1964?- Southwest (Tulsa OK)


External links[edit]