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About the CBA Chorus

About the Chorus

The chorus was formed in 2006, when the CBA Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a gala performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Navy Pier. The success of that concert and the singers' lingering feeling of exhilaration led many to wonder, quite literally, "What do we do for an encore?" And in the longer term, what would become of the chorus?

The "encore," as it turned out, was the brilliant Requiem by Gabriel Fauré, an ethereal contrast to the Beethoven and a showcase for the versatility of the CBASO and chorus.

When the chorus assembled at the beginning of 2007 to prepare that work, many of the singers expressed interest in forming a permanent vocal ensemble under the aegis of the CBA. Thanks to the leadership of the CBA, the Symphony Orchestra, and the Chorus - as well as the prodigious efforts of Chorus committees and individual volunteers - the CBA Chorus will embark on its eleventh exciting season this fall.

The 2016 – 2017 will be one of our most challenging and sensational year yet as Rebecca Patterson, the chorus director from the time the chorus was started through the end of the 2015 – 2016 season retired. The CBA Chorus will be directed by someone other than Rebecca for the first, second and third times in the 2016 – 2017 season. At the end of the season, we will select one of these individuals to be our permanent director. We are asking chorus members, as well as the orchestra and audience for input on the director selection.

The CBA Chorus looks forward to many more years of harmony as we cycle through our transitional interlude. We invite new singers to join us and participate in the director selection process. If you don’t sing, please attend our concerts and give us your feedback on the director selection.

Photo: Holiday Concert, Harold Washington Library, December 13, 2010

From Barristers to Choristers
What could possess an attorney, after a long day at a legal practice, to put in another two hours at a choral practice? Maybe it's the opportunity for artistic expression, or civic involvement, or professional networking and socializing, or all of the above... But it's clear that every chorister enjoys the opportunity to sing and to contribute to an enterprise that benefits the general public as well as their profession and the CBA. Among other goals, the chorus seeks through its performances to promote the public's understanding of the CBA, provide choral music for CBA-sponsored events, complement the CBA Symphony Orchestra, and promote civic service among CBA members.

The chorus membership currently stands at over 80 singers comprising accomplished musicians as well as enthusiastic amateurs who don't know a breve from a brief. Over time the chorus plans to grow even more, and always welcomes new members. Most of the singers are lawyers; the rest work in a wide range of professions from research science to theater. What they all share, and what they all bring to each 2-hour weekly rehearsal, is energy, discipline and commitment.

What Lies Ahead
The CBA Chorus expects to continue singing a new tune under our Chorus Director Candidates next year. After that we look forward to serenading the legal community and continuing our associations with other Bar Choruses.

As it has grown its membership and support, the CBA Chorus has expanded its programming to include outreach concerts, including holiday performances at the Harold Washington Library and Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Chicago. In February 2013, the Chorus presented a concert of Lincoln-era songs, spirituals and American favorites at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. In March 2014, the Chorus traveled to New York City for a combined concert with the New York City Bar Chorus. In November 2015, the New York City Bar Chorus joined the CBA Chorus in concert in Chicago.

On a philosophical note... Law and music may not be as different as they seem. Each is an element and a reflection of culture, constantly evolving within an orderly system based on custom and both explicit and unspoken principles. Each can be shaped by inspired individuals, working alone or in concert to improve and enrich the lives of all, to harmonize differences, and to move those differences toward resolution. The CBA's singing lawyers count themselves fortunate to have at least two ways to share their talents, promote reconciliation, and practice the unifying "magic" evoked in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.