The venerable Chicago Children’s Choir (CCC) announced last December that it will be establishing its 10th neighborhood choir, open for youth ages 8 to 18 years old, in the Austin community. The new choir, which will also function as an after-school musical education program, will collaborate with the Chicago Park District. Rehearsals will take place twice a week at Austin Town Hall, 5610 W. Lake St.
The choir has planned an official kickoff celebration for Saturday, Jan. 23, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Austin Town Hall.
“Equity and access are core to the work of Chicago Children’s Choir,” noted Josephine Lee, CCC’s president artistic director, in a statement. “Our launch in Austin is an incredible opportunity to continue this work, engage with the community, build lasting partnerships and add to our community of more than 4,000 singers.”
In a recent interview, Dave Adams, CCC’s marketing and communications manager, said the choir decided to expand to Austin because of the social infrastructure that was already in place.
“We saw in Austin a real willingness to partner with us,” he said. “We got involved with the community and went to meetings. We realized that there’s already Austin Town Hall, which is a beautiful facility, and a lot of in-school programs that are already happening in the area that might feed into what we do. It’s a great community with a lot to offer.”
The new Austin choir will be the first neighborhood choir that CCC has launched since 2013. It has other neighborhood programs in Garfield Park, Hyde Park, Pilsen and Rogers Park, among others.
“Chicago’s parks are incredible spaces toe explore the arts,” said Tebrena Howard, the park supervisor for the Chicago Park District. “Austin Town Hall has a rich offering of theater, dance, art and media programs. We’re thrilled to add choral education to this robust programming, and we can’t wait to have Chicago Children’s Choir as part of the Austin community.”
The choir was founded in 1956 in Hyde Park by Rev. Christopher Moore, a Unitarian minister who would gather children from around the city to sing, Adams said. Morgan intended the choir to be a tool to drive cultural exchange and mutual understanding among youth from different backgrounds.
Since its founding, the choir has grown to serve more than 4,000 children a year, with programs in nearly 80 Chicago Public Schools — in addition to the 10 neighborhood choirs. Participants in the choir have gone on to work with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Joffrey Ballet and Ravinia Festival.
And the choir has performed with, or for, the Dalai Lama, Hillary Clinton, Quincy Jones, Beyoncé Knowles, Celine Dion, Yo-Yo Ma and Luciano Pavarotti.