Collaborations & Performance Highlights

As a cornerstone of our commitment to artistic excellence, Uniting Voices Chicago has performed with renowned artists, composers, and institutions, from Yo-Yo Ma and Chance the Rapper to Ravinia Festival and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

These unparalleled performances prepare our students to play a leading role on the global stage. The experiences make an indelible impression on singers, instilling in them the belief that they can truly achieve anything and that opportunities for their success are abundant. Not to mention, they show them—at the highest level—the truly transformative power of music to inspire and change lives.

The highlights below offer a look at just some of the incredible opportunities afforded to Chicago youth through Uniting Voices Chicago’s one-of-a-kind programming.

Live from New York, it's Uniting Voices

Singers from Voice of Chicago performed on Saturday Night Live with Colombian pop superstar Karol G on April 15, 2023!

Muti quote

“The human voice is the most beautiful instrument and choral singing is a wonderful way to unite a community and give voice to people of all ages and race. Josephine Lee is passionate about working with voices and, through Uniting Voices of Chicago, is providing a great contribution to improve the cultural level of the children in this country.”

Maestro Riccardo Muti Music Director, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Collaborations with Chance the Rapper


"Carmina Burana" at the Kennedy Center

As part of our visit to Washington, D.C. for the Bridging America Tour, singers from our Beverly and Hyde Park Neighborhood Choir Program, along with first-year Voice of Chicago singers, made their debut at the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, performing Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana."

It was part of a collaboration with Choral Arts Society of Washington, under the direction of Josephine Lee, who served as guest conductor. Original pieces by alumni Ted Hearne and W. Mitchell Owens, III were also performed, and alum Vasil Garvanliev served as one of the soloists.

Christian McBride

We performed alongside eight-time Grammy Award-winning bassist, bandleader and host of NPR’s “Jazz Night in America” Christian McBride as part of his "Movement Revisited." He brought his monumental musical tribute inspired by the words of Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali and President Barack Obama to the Chicago Symphony Center.

Movement revisited
Kaddish ravinia header

Kaddish at Ravinia Festival with CSO

As part of our long-standing collaborative relationship with Ravinia Festival, Uniting Voices Chicago and Chicago Symphony Chorus combined with Marin Alsop and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to perform Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish Symphony, where women’s voices are the tether to the highest powers, examining the essential, eternal questions of humanity and faith.

The performance was filmed and aired as part of the PBS series Great Performances in summer 2023.

Learn More

Recent Collaborations with Lyric Opera

"The Flood," Theaster Gates

Recently we united with long-time collaborator Theaster Gates for his newest film, The Flood. Created in response to their project “Everybody Talks About the Weather” during the Venice Architecture Biennial, in this piece we join Theaster to explore climate change through the lens of the Great Biblical Flood with studies on woes, “hydrophonics,” musicality and emotion to evidence potential past mass geological extinction and impending catastrophes.

The Flood
is on view at Fondazione Prada in Venice through November 26, 2023.

Theflood header
Photos of Chicago Opera Theaters King Roger 2022 by Michael Brosilow 3

King Roger with Chicago Opera Theater

King Roger, a grand Polish opera, was our first ever collaboration with Chicago Opera Theater. The production featured a choir of more than a hundred singers on stage, including several members of the Lincoln Park/DePaul Neighborhood Choir.

Photos of Chicago Opera Theater’s King Roger (2022) by Michael Brosilow.

“Together” with Peter CottonTale

“It takes a village to live on this spinning rock we call home.” In this unique collaboration with Peter CottonTale originally composed for Google’s annual Year In Search video, Uniting Voices Chicago provides a foundation for CottonTale’s message of hope through adversity and the power we yield when united. Speaking to Uniting Voices Chicago’s core belief in the transformative power of music as a unifying force, this piece (ultimately adapted into a music video featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for Inauguration Day 2021 alongside Chance the Rapper, Cynthia Erivo and Kofi Lost) memorializes the challenges of 2020 while reminding listeners that we can overcome any obstacle when we push forward collectively.

Watch "Together"
Peter Cotton Tale
Natalie Bergman

Natalie Bergman, “Talk to the Lord”

This original composition by Natalie Bergman from her album Mercy captures the uplifting spirit that has guided the choir’s ethos of tenacity, perseverance and integrity for more than six decades. The ethereal video—which debuted on’s “Positive Vibes Only” series—was filmed at Metro, the iconic venue founded by Uniting Voices Chicago board member Joe Shanahan.

Watch "Talk to the Lord"

Place - Ted Hearne

This Grammy-nominated composition by Uniting Voices Chicago alum and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Ted Hearne features Uniting Voices Chicago President Josephine Lee alongside alumni Ayanna Woods, Isaiah Robinson and Sophia Byrd in a compelling rumination on the impact of gentrification. Premiering at Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2018, the collection of moving pieces features selections that were ultimately incorporated into Uniting Voices Chicago’s album Unsettlement Anthems (2020), a project made possible by the Raising Voices artistic initiatives fund.

Listen to Place

Read the New York Times Review

Article: "Why Composer and Chicago Children’s Choir Alum Ted Hearne Embraces Politics in His Art"

“Because the choir is such an immersive program, with many rehearsals and tours, it almost started to feel like an activist organization. The mission of integration and diversity, the principles that the choir was founded on in 1956, that mission was playing out in my life. For me, it became fused with the very concept of being a musician and artist. Creating a more just world was why I wanted to be an artist. I think I learned that from the choir.” – Ted Hearne