Who We Are

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 with a 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 a wide variety of major venues including the Rosemont Theatre, Evanston’s Alice Millar Chapel, the Harris Theater in Chicago’s Millennium Park and Orchestra Hall. 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 SymphonyBarry ManilowSchool of Rock, 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.

Another Rock Solid Season

Every year seems to bring something new and different—which is part of what keeps this all fresh and exciting! The last two seasons have been particularly memorable. Our 2022-2023 Season was our first with full live performing since the pandemic. After a couple of years with virtual choir, compromised rehearsal processes and minimal performing, honestly, even just going back to our usual routine gigs would have felt fresh and exciting. But we went above and beyond. After asking our singers, “What do you really want to sing?” and after hearing many suggestions from pop/rock repertoire, we decided to hire a band and to our very first full-blown rock concert. Our singers voted on their favorites out of a large pool of songs, and 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. What breath of fresh air this was for us! That concert brought the house down in May 2023, and we knew we were absolutely going to do it again.

As if that weren’t enough excitement, alongside that project we were honing our classical chops, preparing for nothing less than our Orchestra Hall debut. We collaborated with the Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest and other area choirs for Hector Berlioz’s masterpiece, Te Deum in April 2023. Seeing our Concert Choir step up onto this iconic stage after the struggles and challenges of the pandemic was very emotional, and an all-time highlight for us.

We had fantastic momentum going into our 2023-2024 Season. December 2023 was packed with activity as usual, starting with performances at the Evanston Holiday Tree Lighting and The Merion down the street. Next, our traditional performance at the Evanston Symphony Holiday Concert to a sold-out audience of over 1,200 was as thrilling as ever, followed by our own Holiday Concert at one of our favorite home venues, Northwestern University’s Alice Millar Chapel. January saw our return to another favorite event, the city’s MLK Day of Celebration. After that, we started gearing up for a collaboration with our new friends at Evanston’s School of Rock for our “Rock Concert 2.0.” Knowing how much fun we had arranging and learning a variety of pop/rock songs the previous year, and knowing that we wanted to do it again, teaming up with School of Rock seemed like such a natural and obvious thing for us to do. And they were all in. We had a blast working with them, and our 2024 Spring Concert was electric (pun fully intended), featuring songs by Dua Lipa, HEART, Earth, Wind & Fire, Kansas, Coldplay, Prince, David Bowie/Queen, Taylor Swift and more.

As if that weren’t enough, alongside that project, we were getting ready to head into the studio for the first time for some recording sessions. We had been contacted by area recording artist Philip Armetta to be included on his new single, “Freedom Prayer,” and we also were invited to be included on a couple of songs for the upcoming Holiday album of recording artist Marty McCormack of the performing duo Switchback, which he wrote just for us. We always professionally record our self-produced live concerts, but doing studio work is a whole different kind of thing, demanding heightened concentration and focus. As always, our singers rose to the occasion. We ended this past season by laying down some great tracks, which we can’t wait to share with you!

What cool experiences will next season bring? Join us to find out! —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 2024-2025 Season are: Concert Choir (advanced), Youth Chorale Pops 1 & 2 (beginner-intermediate), the Pope John XXIII School Choir (grades 3-8) and Story Choir (grades 1-5). You can read more about each Choir here.

Registration is now OPEN for the 2024-2025 Season! Click here to register online. For more information, or to schedule a Concert Choir audition for Fall Semester 2024, 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. 

Leslie Keros

Well done! I’m glad you’re challenging the kids. It’s amazing what they’re capable of.

ECC mom

Kathy Byron

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.

ECC mom

Angela Allyn

The choir has been such a fabulous experience for Tess. She has grown so much through working with you.

ECC mom

Natalie Rahn

Thanks for a great first time choir experience. The kids are loving it.

ECC mom

Barb Lester

Thank you again for your philosophy of your program. It is all so human, full of grace, respect, and brilliance.

ECC mom

Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

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!

ECC mom

Cecilia Lindstrom

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.

ECC mom

Jeff Stitely

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.

ECC dad

Melanie Gonzalez

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.

ECC mom

Shay Craig

The choir is comprised of public, private and homeschooled children and that diversity of experience has been very enriching for my daughter.

ECC mom

Anna Blackburn

What you do really lifts the community in so many ways. I’m deeply grateful for you and your work.

ECC mom

Jeanne Kerl

I am impressed with the energy of the directors and the kids in the choir. My daughter comes home totally invigorated.

ECC mom

Patricia Perez

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!

ECC mom

Susanne Gilbert

The kids, and specifically our Elle, really enjoy your program and how you instruct them.

ECC mom

Kathryn Crabb Scherer

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.

Former ECC Intern/Assistant Director, now Vocal Music Teacher / Berlin High School, Berlin, CT

Larry Eckerling

The ECC is a cultural treasure to Evanston.

Larry Eckerling

Rick Ferguson

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!

Artistic Director / Musical Offering

Dr. Rollo A. Dilworth

Your work is wonderful!

Associate Professor of Choral Music Education / Temple University

Julia Davids

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.

The ECC is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.