Founded in 1996, the Chicago Chamber Choir is a skilled choral ensemble of 40 voices under the dynamic and enterprising direction of Timm Adams, Artistic Director. The choir's mission is to create a moving experience for our audience by performing exceptional choral music that celebrates the unlimited potential of the human voice. We are an ensemble of highly accomplished volunteer singers, dedicated to the choral art, who desire to be a part of a vibrant musical community.
The choir's repertoire is culturally diverse and international in scope. Our seasonal concerts feature a balance of sacred and secular works, including time-honored classics as well as contemporary selections.
As part of our vision, the Chicago Chamber Choir actively seeks performance venues that bring music to individuals who have the tendency to be overlooked by the performing arts community. The choir has performed in Chicago's inner-city schools, retirement homes, homeless shelters, and rehabilitation centers.
In the summer of 1996, accomplished music teacher and singer Deborah Skydell was eager to form a choir. Using grassroots efforts, she assembled a group of spirited singers that has matured into the Chicago Chamber Choir, a 40-voice ensemble specializing in a cappella performance.
In September of 1996, Skydell held the first rehearsal of what was then called Luminaria at the Wicker Park Field House in Chicago. This fresh ensemble of thirteen amateur singers began meeting every week, hoping to become a viable choir for all of Chicago. The grassroots tactics Skydell used to attract singers also shaped the mission for the organization - Skydell and the members of the choir agreed that a main function of Luminaria would be to share music with individuals and communities who have limited or no access to high-caliber vocal performance. Luminaria reached out to local schools, hospitals, and agencies that serve the homeless, and forged relationships with organizations throughout Chicago by bringing music to their constituents. The philosophy that music should be available to everyone continues to be an integral part of the Chicago Chamber Choir's mission.
At the end of 1998, after completing her masters program at the University of Illinois in music and choral conducting, Skydell moved on to pursue new interests. Meanwhile, Toria Burrell, another accomplished musician and singer, decided to ensure the continuity of the choir, and stepped up to take on the conductor's role. She took the remnants of the original choir and, starting almost from scratch, re-formed it into a new choir under the name of Cantabile. Influenced by her British training, Burrell expanded the choir's repertoire of modern American and Eastern European composers to include some British music, some older European music, and some older American music. She also worked on producing a more polished sound, and a more professional performance. During her tenure, the choir formed a board of directors and received its non-profit status.
Timm Adams, a baritone with a strong background in musical direction and theater, joined Cantabile the following season. When Burrell had to take maternity leave in Januray 2000, she offered the reins to Timm Adams who accepted her offer and began to lead Cantabile into its next stage. Adams made the artistic decision to expand the choir's repertoire even further. He added more American composers and world folk music to the choir's performances, creating a musical assemblage that appeals to a wider audience. The board agreed to change the name one last time to Chicago Chamber Choir (CCC), to more clearly represent the group's range and aid the young organization in increasing its audience base. Burrell continues her affiliation with the choir and now serves as its Composer-in-Residence; CCC debuts at least one of her original compositions each season.
Today, CCC rests on a solid musical foundation under Adams' direction, and attracts seasoned and experienced singers to its competitive auditions. CCC presents three major concerts each year, performs at private and corporate events year-round, and continues to sing for community partners throughout Chicago. CCC also has begun to perform outside of Chicago, participating in music series in Saugatuck, Michigan and community events in Rockford, Illinois. The board of directors works with an outside consultant to lead the organization's marketing and fundraising efforts. CCC recently received its first grant from the Illinois Arts Council.