The Evanston Children’s Choir is a dynamic platform for “diversity in harmony,” creating a transformative experience for young choir members from all walks of life and their varied audiences across Chicagoland.
With a commitment to inclusion and accessibility, positive energy and mutual respect, the ECC enables children and young adults grades 1 through 12 to find their voices through several strong, supportive ensembles—ensembles with a solid and growing reputation for musical excellence.
Our core program is an after-school treble choir program, accepting young people grades 1 through high school from all over the Greater Chicago area. We sing all types of both secular and sacred music, with an emphasis on multiculturalism. We strive to make the choir as accessible as possible, both to new members and to our audience. Accordingly, we do not turn any child away because of money, and we offer our outreach performances and self-produced concerts free of charge.
The ECC has performed in major venues including the Rosemont Theatre, Evanston’s Alice Millar Chapel, and the Harris Theater in Chicago’s Millennium Park. The ECC has grown from a mere three (3) singers at its inception to a multi-tiered program that continues to expand. ECC ensembles are regularly sought after for collaborations and have shared the stage with the likes of the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, the Evanston Symphony, Barry Manilow, S.O.U.L. Creations, the Chicago Philharmonic, the Ondas Ensemble and the North Shore Choral Society. All the while, since its founding in 2002, the ECC has remained committed to its roots, serenading Evanstonians young and old in free outreach performances at schools and community centers.
Our 2022-2023 Season was, quite simply, one of the most memorable in our 21-year history. And after the past few years, we were ripe for this. Our performing started with a return to the Evanston Holiday Tree Lighting, which is always fun, and typically gets us primed for our major Holiday Concerts. Last season though, the Tree Lighting was all we did for the Holidays. Omicron hit, and all other live performing for us was canceled. But not this year. Excitement was building around our return to the stage with the Evanston Symphony for their Holiday Concert for the first time in 3 years. I think they missed us too, because the response our Concert Choir received after nailing a center stage performance to a packed house was unlike ever before. We followed that with our first self-produced Holiday Concert in 3 years, and all of our groups simply shined. We were fully back in the swing of things.
But the things that made this season the most special were yet to come. We had our debut performance at Chicago’s iconic Orchestra Hall on the books in April—a huge collaboration with the Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest and other choirs combined into a massive ensemble to perform Hector Berlioz’s masterpiece, Te Deum. As if that weren’t exciting enough, we also planned something radically different to go with it. Knowing that we had a serious, formal classical work to prepare for, the question was how to balance that and give our singers and audience alike the variety they’ve become accustomed to. Our Concert Choir singers began suggesting pop and rock songs they thought we should sing, and that got us directors thinking of some of our own favorites. Pretty soon we had so many great songs to choose from, the answer came to us—we were going to hire a band, make some new arrangements, and do a full-blown rock concert! Our singers voted and chose their favorites out of a large pool of songs, we directors chose the rest. The list of artists we covered ran the gamut—Rare Earth, Cold Play, A-ha, The Weekend, The Brothers Johnson, Billy Thorpe, Carole King, Hall & Oates, and more. I can’t remember ever having more fun as a director than I did working on this project, and it was a breath of fresh air for our singers as well.
The results of our hard work were everything we could have hoped for. Our Concert Choir stepped up to the world stage for their Orchestra Hall debut and made us exceedingly proud with a magnificent performance of a powerful classic in April. Then all of our groups—Youth Chorale Pops, the Pope John XXIII School Choir and our Concert Choir—brought the house down at our first ever rock concert in May. (And yes, we’re totally gonna do that again next season!).
It’s almost hard to believe that what we just finished was our first full, live onstage performing season in literally 4 years. But we are now completely back. And we have everything to look forward to, as we continue to grow and further strengthen our groups post-pandemic, getting ready for our usual favorite events for the 2023-2024 Season and the exciting new opportunities yet to come. So come out and hear us, come sing with us, and be part of what’s next! —Gary Geiger, Artistic Director
Our primary rehearsal location is the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Studio 107, in Evanston. The ECC’s Choirs for the 2022-2023 Season are: Concert Choir (advanced), Youth Chorale Pops (beginner-intermediate) and the Pope John XXIII School Choir (grades 3-6). You can read more about each Choir here.
The ECC goes on hiatus every summer, but registration is OPEN for Fall Semester 2023, which begins in September right after Labor Day. For more information, or to schedule a Concert Choir audition, email Artistic Director Gary Geiger or call (847) 733-0814. You may also find our Join Us page helpful.
The Evanston Children’s Choir has received the Mayor’s Award for the Arts.
Well done! I’m glad you’re challenging the kids. It’s amazing what they’re capable of.
You will be blown away by the Children’s Choir! What a wonderful, positive experience for boys and girls. It really raises self-esteem. My daughter is obtaining a love for music, exposure to many diverse musical styles, the great satisfaction of being part of a successful group…one voice contributing to make beautiful music.
The choir has been such a fabulous experience for Tess. She has grown so much through working with you.
Thanks for a great first time choir experience. The kids are loving it.
Thank you again for your philosophy of your program. It is all so human, full of grace, respect, and brilliance.
Practices are intense, as the material is difficult, but clearly they are very satisfying, as your singers look happy, confident and engaged. Singing beautifully in at least 4 languages? No problem!
My kids are have a fantastic time singing in the [Evanston] Children’s Choir. They love singing songs from various cultures in a group that reflects Evanston’s wonderful diversity.
Our family was invited to see the ECC by a friend in the choir. My jaw dropped. To hear kids from their teens to as young as 7 singing complex rhythms and harmony in multiple languages blew me away. I was so moved and so was my son, and we signed him up to audition right away.
I am so impressed with the [Evanston] Children’s Choir and its enthusiastic director. My son was reluctant to begin and Gary has made him feel very comfortable and enjoy himself and best of all, sing well! It has been a joy to be a part of the choir family these last few years.
The choir is comprised of public, private and homeschooled children and that diversity of experience has been very enriching for my daughter.
What you do really lifts the community in so many ways. I’m deeply grateful for you and your work.
I am impressed with the energy of the directors and the kids in the choir. My daughter comes home totally invigorated.
ECC has developed my daughter’s passion for singing! We applaud the fun and developmentally-appropriate way in which cultural sensitivity, self-expression, and sense of community is incorporated into the choirs. We have now joined a new family!
The kids, and specifically our Elle, really enjoy your program and how you instruct them.
The Evanston Children’s Choir provided me with a place to hone my teaching skills in a supportive environment in which every person is valued and appreciated. The children are given boundless opportunity, and as a result, they accept the challenge and achieve high levels of success, having a blast the whole time.
The ECC is a cultural treasure to Evanston.
The Evanston Children’s Choir reflects the very best of what Evanston is all about: Quality, celebrating diversity in all its many forms, commitment to an artistic vision of inclusion and beauty. The ECC choirs have established themselves as mainstays of the Evanston musical landscape. Bravo!
Your work is wonderful!
The Evanston Children’s Choir is a wonderful organization. Especially during these times of reduced school choral programs, the training they offer their singers is invaluable. Gary Geiger is a passionate advocate for high-quality music in the lives of young people. Our audiences always enjoy hearing their committed performances of exciting repertoire.