Now in its fourth decade, “Strong Voices” is Music of the Baroque’s nationally recognized arts education program that supports and enhances choral programs at Chicago public high schools and assists talented young singers who might not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue their musical ambitions. Help ensure the next generation develops a deep appreciation for classical music. Make a gift that supports Music of the Baroque and “Strong Voices” »
235 members of the "Strong Voices" Chorus performed the opening chorus of Vivaldi’s Gloria alongside Principal Guest Conductor Nicholas Kraemer and the Music of the Baroque Chorus and Orchestra at "Viva Vivaldi!" at the Harris Theater on October 16, 2023.
The "Strong Voices" Chorus surprised attendees of Music of the Baroque's "A Musical Feast" gala benefit at the Fairmont Chicago on October 15, 2022 with a mashup of the Pachelbel Canon and Maroon 5's "Memories."
Partner schools are matched with a Music of the Baroque teaching artist who works with chorus directors and students every week from September to June giving individual and group lessons, leading warm-ups, and coaching choirs. Teaching artists collaborate with chorus directors to tailor the program to fit the specific needs of partner schools through a range of other events, from solo master classes to choral workshops. In addition, teaching artists often perform with other Music of the Baroque ensemble members at the schools and students are invited to Music of the Baroque concerts and open rehearsals. All of these services and activities are offered at no cost to students or the participating schools.
“I always thought I was a second soprano, but my Music of the Baroque teacher helped me learn how to expand my range. I can sing so much higher now. I learned that I could produce a larger sound with better breath support.”
The Strong Voices Chorus joined Music Director Dame Jane Glover and the Music of the Baroque Chorus and Orchestra to perform the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah for an audience of 6,500 in Millennium Park in September 2021.
Unlike arts education programs that consist of short-term residencies or single performances, “Strong Voices” runs throughout the entire school year, allowing students to forge a strong relationship with their mentors. By working with a professional musician on a regular basis, students learn proper vocal technique, improve performance skills, and gain greater exposure to and appreciation for classical music.
“I love that the Music of the Baroque performers are always willing to show us what they do and to answer our questions. Now I pay a lot of attention to their posture, breathing, and facial expressions.”
Over the years, “Strong Voices” has profoundly impacted the lives of many young musicians both inside and outside the classroom. Students in the “Strong Voices” program develop confidence, discipline, perseverance, responsibility, and teamwork, taking great pride in their newfound skills and accomplishments.
The Strong Voices Chorus opened our May 2019 concert at the Harris Theater with Henry Purcell's "Come Ye Sons of Art," conducted by Principal Guest Conductor Nicholas Kraemer
“I learned to have confidence and not be embarrassed. I think the most rewarding thing, however, was singing my solo for my parents and watching my mom cry because of how much she loved it. The feeling when I sing is incredible. I love it!”
Music of the Baroque currently works with seven partner schools—Hubbard High School, Senn High School, Lane Technical High School, Lindblom Math and Science Academy, Solorio Academy High School, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prepatory Academy, and Neal F. Simeon Career Academy. Choral groups and choirs from these schools compete and perform around the city and state.
Music of the Baroque is grateful to the individual donors and following foundations for their support in maintaining and expanding the Strong Voices program:
For more information about the “Strong Voices” program, please contact Director of Artistic Operations Julie Griffin.