Uniting Voices

Annual Report 2021-22

Commemorating 65 Years of Uniting Voices

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When I met Mitchell Owens, he was an 8-year-old singer in our Beverly Neighborhood Program, and I could sense that the way he experienced music was special.

I’m honored that Chicago Children’s Choir played a salient role in his development—as a musician and as a citizen of the world. Now our Composer-in-Residence, Mitchell writes music that resonates with our young people. He creates melodies that stay in their hearts and their souls. The anthem of our 2021-22 season, “Still Here,” is no exception. It’s a piece that shares a message of resilience and love, particularly poignant as we returned to in-person programming following the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I never doubted the ability of our youth to move mountains, but I’m even more sure of their strength following the 2021-22 program year. They connected through masks, distancing, testing and technology to create uplifting musical moments for our global community.

Our students honored countless cultures, singing in languages from Nigerian to Greek to Korean. They brought a modernized, hip-hop version of Homer’s Odyssey to life through the recording and release of the Long Way Home album, and explored the legacy of John Lewis and other pioneers of nonviolent activism through Good Trouble. Youth in Gage Park on the Southwest side became ambassadors of their community through a new neighborhood choir, made possible by donors to our Raising Voices campaign. Our singers performed with the Eagles, on the stage of Lyric Opera, in Kentucky, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and across Egypt!

Our 65th anniversary season honored the history that propelled us to this moment, celebrated decades of singers, alumni and artists, and manifested a path forward as the next generation of young leaders build a future strengthened by song. Thanks to your monumental support, we are still here.

With gratitude,

Josephine Lee
President, Uniting Voices Chicago (formerly Chicago Children’s Choir)

65 Years Inspiring and Changing Lives

Highlights from our 65th Season

We Expanded Our Reach

New Neighborhood Choir in Gage Park

Thanks to the generosity of donors to the Raising Voices campaign, a new neighborhood choir program was launched in Gage Park on the southwest side of Chicago to better serve the Latino community as neighborhood demographics shift. Conducted by veteran teacher Veronica Román-Meyer and in partnership with Catholic Charities at St. Gall, the Gage Park Neighborhood Choir welcomed 15 new singers to the organization.

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Voice of Chicago Toured Egypt

In June, Voice of Chicago embarked upon one of our most ambitious tours in a decade: a 10-day journey through Egypt. Beginning in Cairo and ending in Alexandria, 70 singers performed alongside one of the Arabic world's biggest pop stars, Nesma Mahgoub, and connected with hundreds of young Egyptians at a special musical exchange and celebration on Tahrir Square. International tours are an opportunity to experience the choir’s mission and deepen singers' appreciation of the world’s cultures by joining together with children from other countries to share in the process of creating and performing music.

Voice of Chicago is presented by Allstate.

2021-22 by the Numbers

Impact Quantified

+ Instruction Hours
Future Music Educators

We United Diverse Youth

Our Program

Last year we served more than 2,300 singers from every zip code in Chicago.

Program Participation by the Numbers

Results of Our Unique Approach

On the Road Again

The Bridging America Tour

Donor Highlight: The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust

Thank you to The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust for its generous 3-year commitment as the choir’s lead underwriter of our Technology Infrastructure Project. Investment in technology helps us become more effective at learning about our communities, responding to their needs, identifying underserved markets and developing partnerships that can support meaningful service as well as cross-city connections. This new infrastructure will increase staff efficiency, so our focus stays on serving our singers.
Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust

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Our Donors

Our work wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our donor community. Our supporters help Chicago Children's Choir, now Uniting Voices Chicago, empower the city’s youth and engage with our diverse communities.

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Our Community