CCC CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY
2/15/2017, noon | Updated on 2/15/2017, noon
CCC CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY
By Safiyyah P. Muhammad
In celebration of Black History Month, the Chicago Children’s Choir (CCC) will perform February 22nd and 23rd at the Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan Ave., beginning at 10:45 p.m., according to Dave Adams, director of Marketing and Communications for the Chicago Children’s Choir.
“One of the choir’s biggest performance opportunities that we do each year is the Black History Concert series, which this year, is taking place at the Symphony Center. We are moving to the Symphony Center to accommodate the growing number of attendees, which is very exciting.”
Adams stated that the choir services more than 3,600 children throughout the city between the ages of 8-18. He said, “The foundation of the children’s choir is that 3,600 kids participate in our in-school program; where we send conductors to more than 80 schools throughout Chicago which include charter schools and a lot of CPS
schools. Our program provides choral music and music
Adams said over the two days of the choir’s performances, there will be more than 1,500-1,600 kids at Symphony Center each day, adding the choir will have artistic staff available, including singers and conductors from various schools. “It will be an educational performance experience. The choir will be performing on stage various songs they’ve learned that pertain to Black History in the United States.”
Not only will the children get an opportunity to perform live at the Symphony Center, but the children will also experience multi-disciplinary learning. He said, “As the children are performing, the conductors and artistic staff will be speaking from the stage alongside multimedia presentations and educational tools to teach to the theme that the children will be singing. So it ’s a multi-disciplinary learning kind of experience. The kids are learning through multi-media about Black History in the United States.”
According to Adams, the “demographic make-up of the choir speaks and reflects the make-up of the city itself. “The choir is about 42% African-American, 30% Latino, 20% Caucasian and 5% Asian. About half of the students in the after-school program come from low-to-moderate households and more than 66% of those CPS schools who we partner with, serve predominately low-income students.
So, we feel we are hitting very important demographics.”
According to the Children’s Choir website, the choir was founded in Hyde Park in 1956 by the Reverend Christopher Moore, Pastor of the Unitarian Church. “Moore’s idea was that at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, he felt he could unite young people from different backgrounds regardless of racial or cultural differences; to help them understand each other through music”
The in-school program serves about 3,600 children. The site pointed out that the in-school program has a special ensemble for boys whose voices are in transition. Adams said, “Our top 100 male singers are called the Voices of Chicago. It is an audition group that tours internationally. The group had previously traveled to Cuba, Italy, and South Africa, where they sang for President Nelson Mandela when he was alive.”
Children who have a desire to sing are welcome to audition with the Chicago Children’s Choir regardless of race or cultural background. “At the in-school level, we look for children who have an interest and desire to sing. We don’t try to be particularly stringent by cutting kids out or excluding anyone. By the end of the day, the goal is not to be the best singer or to win the American Idol Award. We are teaching these kids how to understand each other by learning to work together through singing. We are not exclusionary at all."