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By Jihan Dubose, Center for Public and Global Affairs Intern
July 20, 2015
Overlooking the silver arches of Millennium Park, lies a place of magic. On the fifth floor of the Cultural Center, passionate, daring, and talented people meet tri-weekly to create a better world through music. A hidden gem among the bustling streets of Chicago, passersby have no idea that for two generations, the people housed in the former library have seen twenty-five countries spanning five continents, and have been continuing to put the great city of Chicago on international stages. All you have to do is take the elevator to the fifth floor, get off, and stand outside the door. As international sounds slip under the crack and echo down to the first-floor lobby, the work this organization does is magical. When it comes to the Chicago Children’s Choir, the words “musician” and “magician” are synonymous. The 4,000 children that all meet for events like their annual Paint the Town Red somehow cast spells on their audiences, leaving all those they come in contact with just that much happier. It’s usually quite easy to tell all of these musicians a part; since 1956, they’ve been cultivated and encouraged to be individuals and proud of their differences.
The current President and head director, Josephine Lee, says the choir, ”uses music as a tool for self-expression and social change. We’re creating agents of peace, bridging divides, and tearing down barriers because our children are the next thinkers, innovators, civic leaders, and world citizens.” What began as an optimistic reverend’s vision for a beacon of light for children during the Civil Rights movement, has transformed into a safe haven, cultural hub, and learning center for children across the Chicagoland area-demanding nothing short of musical excellence and professionalism from children as young as nine-years-old. A proponent of art education and the cultivation of youth leadership, this nonprofit continues to make Chicago a better place. The Chicago Children’s Choir has become a champion of people.
Don’t believe me? Check out the magic that’s happening right under our noses at ccchoir.org