Preserving and Persevering: featuring special collaborations with GRAMMY Award winners – Ms. Lisa Fischer, Ranky Tanky and Peter CottonTale
Thursday, February 25 at 7 p.m.
Choir founded in direct response to Civil Rights Movement in 1956
Chicago Children’s Choir (CCC), a nonprofit organization that inspires and unites youth from diverse backgrounds to become global ambassadors through music, presents a free virtual Black History Month concert, Preserving and Persevering, on Thursday, February 25 at 7 p.m. CST.
Preserving and Persevering explores how the power of Black music has been the cultural key in both preserving African traditions in America and in helping millions persevere in the face of racial injustice. Featuring a special collaboration with GRAMMY-winning artists Ms. Lisa Fischer and Ranky Tanky, the concert is curated by CCC’s Director of African Diasporic Music and Studies, Lonnie Norwood, and includes performances from CCC’s Voice of Chicago, Dimension, Neighborhood Choir and In-School Program singers along with acclaimed alumni vocalists.
The concert also includes a performance of GRAMMY-winning music director and producer Peter CottonTale’s “Together” that premiered on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Inauguration Day, January 20. The original song features CottonTale with the Chicago Children’s Choir and GRAMMY-winning artists Chance the Rapper and Cynthia Erivo, as well as members of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras.
Founded in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood in direct response to the Civil Rights Movement in 1956, Chicago Children’s Choir has grown from one choir into a vast network of in-school and after-school programs, impacting the lives of more than 50,000 diverse youth throughout its 64-year history.
The program for Preserving and Persevering includes a world premiere of a collaboration with powerhouse GRAMMY-winning vocalist Ms. Lisa Fischer on “Right On Be Free.” Fischer was the featured backup singer with The Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross, Tina Turner, Chaka Khan and many others before setting out on her own international concert career. Her story was celebrated in the Oscar Award-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom.”
Other concert selections include: Roland Carter’s iconic choral arrangement of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing;” “We Shall Overcome,” an African American children’s song from the slavery-era musical tradition of pattin’ juba; and a preview of music from Rainbow Beach, a full-length CCC commission about the historic wade-in protests that helped desegregate Chicago’s beaches in the 1960s.
“Chicago Children’s Choir recognizes that one of the most incomparable, underappreciated contributions to American music is the African sound and spirit,” said Lonnie Norwood, curator of CCC’s Black History Month concert. “In this concert, we’re showcasing the power of Black musical traditions in America that have aided us in persevering in the face of racial injustice. We’re also teaching our young singers about these rich musical forms in the weeks leading up to the concert, from gospel to jazz to Gullah ring shout.”
Preserving and Persevering is supported by the Jackson Legacy Foundation and the Vandenberg family.