In 1956 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.
The Choir currently serves nearly 3,500 children, ages 8-18 through choirs in 60 Chicago 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.
The Choir’s dedication to musical excellence and incredible breadth of repertoire has resulted in life-changing opportunities for its singers, including collaborations with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Ravinia Festival, The Joffrey Ballet, River North Chicago Dance Company, and the Grant Park Music Festival. The choir has performed with or for the Dalai Lama, former President and Secretary of State Clinton, former South African President Nelson Mandela, Chinese President Hu Jintau, Luciano Pavarotti, Beyonce Knowles, Quincy Jones, Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Celine Dion, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.