Who We Are
Our mission is to inspire and change lives through music.
Uniting Voices (Josephine Lee, President and Artistic Director) is a non-profit organization that inspires and unites youth from diverse backgrounds to become global citizens through music. Founded in Hyde Park in direct response to the Civil Rights Movement in 1956, Uniting Voices grown from one choir into a vast network of in-school and after-school programs serving nearly 5,000 students across the city of Chicago.
Uniting Voices has impacted the lives of more than 50,000 diverse youth throughout its 64-year history. Since its founding, Uniting Voices has focused on building programs that reflect the racial and economic diversity of Chicago. Eighty percent of youth served are from low-to-moderate income homes, with over 4,000 students annually participating completely free of charge. All singers in Uniting Voices programs receive some level of subsidy. High school seniors enrolled in Uniting Voices have a 100% graduation rate, becoming global ambassadors who carry on core values in a wide array of professional fields.
Under the leadership of President and Artistic Director Josephine Lee, Uniting Voices has achieved new heights and revolutionized the youth choral arts through innovative creative partnerships and new artistic endeavors. Recent projects include Lyric Opera’s production of Dead Man Walking and Tchaikovsky’s romantic thriller The Queen of Spades with select Uniting Voices singers cast as the children’s chorus; the world-premiere hip-hop musical Long Way Home, written and directed by the renowned Q Brothers Collective, which played to five sold-out houses in 2018; performance in a new staged production of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS under the direction of Marin Alsop in July 2018 and 2019 with two frequent creative partners: the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Ravinia Festival; and collaboration on Chance the Rapper’s debut studio album The Big Day (2019) as well as a collaboration on his GRAMMY Award-winning Coloring Book (2016) studio recording and tour performances. Uniting Voices has served as a model for youth choirs across the country including Boston Children’s Chorus, Denver Children’s Choir and Indianapolis Children’s Choir.
As a national and international touring ensemble, Uniting Voices has performed throughout the United States, in Cuba, South Africa, India, Argentina, Uruguay, Korea, Canada, Japan and Europe and for dignitaries such as former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, former Chinese President Hu Jintao, former South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso.
Uniting Voices has performed with or for acclaimed artists such as Sam Fischer, Nick Cave, Renée Fleming, Denyce Graves, Kathleen Battle, Luciano Pavarotti, Samuel Ramey, Yo-Yo Ma, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Enrique Iglesias, Quincy Jones, Al Green, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bobby McFerrin, Kurt Elling, Celine Dion, Eddie Vedder, Common, Donald Lawrence, Queen Latifah and Beyoncé. Uniting Voices has recorded on multiple labels including James Ginsburg’s Cedille Records (Songs from Spoon River, 2009) and has released six studio recordings under its own label– Harmony Anew (2018), We All Live Here (2016), Holiday Harmony(2010), Songs on the Road to Freedom (2008), Sita Ram (2006) and Open Up Your Heart (2004).