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History of the Chorus

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History of the Chorus

History of the Chorus
The Chicago Bar Association Chorus is comprised mainly of members from Chicago’s legal community. The Chorus was formed in 2006, and is now in its eleventh season. Since its inception, the Chorus has collaborated with the CBA Symphony Orchestra in performing such major works as Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn's Creation, Orff’s Carmina Burana and the Braham’s Requiem. The Chorus’ a cappella repertoire ranges from Rachmaninoff to Moses Hogan. Last season, the Chorus presented Songs of Asia, a concert of music of China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The chorus was directed from its inception through the end of last season by Rebecca Patterson. Rebecca retired at the end of the 2015 – 2016 season and the CBA Chorus sought a new director. For the 2016 – 2017 season, each of our three concerts will be feature music directed by one of our CBA Chorus Director Candidates: Stephen Blackwelder, Christopher Windle and Christopher Owen. Each candidate will also prepare the chorus to sing with the CBA Orchestra under the direction of Maestro David Katz. For further information on the repertoire and candidates see the Chorus Home page and the Staff page.

In commemoration of Lincoln’s Bicentennial, the Chorus presented “Lincoln and Liberty: Music of the Civil War Era” featuring popular music of the era. In September 2010, the Chorus gave a special concert performance at a celebration honoring retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

A performance of Orff’s Carmina Burana at Symphony Center marked the CBA Symphony Orchestra’s 25th anniversary and the CBA Chorus’ 5th anniversary. The Orchestra and Chorus were joined by the Naperville Chorus and the Young Naperville Singers.

In February 2013, the CBA Chorus and select members of the CBA Symphony Orchestra travelled to Springfield, Illinois to present “Lincoln and His America: A Musical Celebration.” The concert of Lincoln-era songs, instrumental works and narrative readings from the Civil War era was performed at historic Representative Hall in the Old State Capitol.

The following year, the CBA Chorus joined the New York City Bar Chorus for a program of popular American songs in the historic New York City Bar Association Building. In 2015, the New York City Bar Chorus will join the CBA Chorus in concert in Chicago.

Something Wonderful: The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein
On April 26, 2015, the CBA Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, together with the Elgin Master Chorale, proudly filled the stage at Orchestra Hall/Symphony Center to perform “Something Wonderful,” an unforgettable evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein show tunes from the golden age of Broadway, including State Fair, Carousel, The King and I, South Pacific, The Sound of Music and Oklahoma!.


Something Wonderful, Symphony Center, April 26, 2015. Photo by Mark Bergeron

To view more photos of the concert, please visit click here.
To view the concert program, click here.
To view the article "How Do You Get to Orchestra Hall?" CBA Record, April/May 2015, click here.

For the CBA Chorus’ tenth anniversary season, (and the CBA Orchestra’s 30th anniversary season), we performed “A German Requiem” by Johannes Brahams.

In addition to major concerts, the CBA Chorus has performed at Law Day events in Chicago, and has performed at Navy Pier for CBA events and Pier-sponsored concerts. The Chorus has also sung the National Anthem at US Cellular Field, and has performed holiday concerts at the Harold Washington Library.

Law Day 2015
On May 1, 2015, the CBA Orchestra and Chorus performed selections from their "Something Wonderful: The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein" concert at a Law Day celebration at Daley Center Plaza in Chicago.

Big Apple Razzle Dazzle: The CBA Chorus' Joint Concert with the New York City Bar Chorus
On March 28, 2014, the CBA Chorus joined the New York City Bar Chorus for a concert of popular American songs in the historic New York City Bar Association Building.


Photo: New York City Bar Association Building, March 28, 2014

Lincoln and His America: A Musical Celebration
On February 16, 2013, the CBA Chorus and select members of the CBA Symphony Orchestra presented a concert of Lincoln-era songs, folk music and spirituals, along with musical works and narrative readings about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era, at historic Representative Hall in the Old State Capitol, Springfield, IL.


Representative Hall, Old State Capitol, Springfield, IL, February 16, 2013

For more on the Springfield concert, click here.

The CBA Chorus' 5th Anniversary Celebration: Carmina Burana
On June 5, 2011, in celebration of the CBA Symphony Orchestra's 25th anniversary and the CBA Chorus' 5th anniversary, the Orchestra and Chorus, joined by the Naperville Chorus and the Young Naperville Singers, presented their season finale performance of Carmina Burana at Symphony Center in Chicago. To view photos of the concert, visit here and here. To view the concert program, click here.

Listen to an excerpt of "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana.


Photo: Carmina Burana, Symphony Center, June 5, 2011

Video Clip: The CBA Symphony Orchestra and Chorus rehearse for their upcoming performance of Carmina Burana in "Some Musicians You Should Know: The Bar Association Orchestra." Thanks to orchestra member and CBS 2 anchor Harry Porterfield for doing this story, which aired on Channel 2 on May 27, 2011. Click here to view

Justice John Paul Stevens Awards Ceremony and Gala Celebration
On September 15, 2010, the Chorus gave a special concert performance at the 11th Annual Justice John Paul Stevens Awards Ceremony and Gala Celebration at the Chicago Hilton. The chorus performed Aaron Copland's "The Promise of Living" and patriotic songs.
See a letter of appreciation from Justice Stevens.