History

Anima – Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus celebrates its 54th season in 2018-19. One of the leading children and youth choral organizations in North America, its rich heritage has served as an artistic and educational model for many years. Recent national awards include the 2013 ASCAP Adventurous Programming award from Chorus America, the 2013 Tribute Award from Chicago A cappella, the 2013 Non Profit of the Year Award from the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce, the 2009 Dale Warland Singers Commission Award from Chorus America and the American Composers Forum, and the once-in-an-organizational lifetime Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from Chorus America in 2008.

 

The Chorus is dedicated to transforming young lives through excellence in music education and choral singing. Its six ensembles serve children from over 35 different Chicagoland communities, with outreach programs reaching 1000 additional children annually. International tours have taken the Chorus to six continents.  ANIMA (AH-nee-mah) is the Latin word for breath, life, soul, spirit.

 

Performing frequently with Chicago’s major musical organizations, ANIMA’s singers have performed under many of the world’s most eminent conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Bernard Haitink, Semyon Bychkov, John Nelson, Jane Glover, Christoph Eschenbach, Claudio Abbado, James Levine, Charles Dutoit, and Georg Solti. Also committed to new music, ANIMA has commissioned over 80 new works for young voices in its history. ANIMA was the first children’s chorus in America to be recognized and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts for the professionalism of its work and captured four Grammy awards for its performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Sir Georg Solti.

 

ANIMA last appeared with the CSO in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges in May, 2015 and for a series of performances of the holiday classic, Home Alone in December, 2017. Recent highlights include an appearance at the Kennedy Center in June, 2017, a concert tour to Greece in June, 2018, and an appearance with Grant Park Music Festival in August, 2018 in Carmina Burana.

1964

Glen Ellyn Children’s Theater Chorus founded by Barbara Born

Director 1964 – 1972

1969

First performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Featuring Berlioz’ “Damnation of Faust”

42 performances with the CSO to date

1971

Glen Ellyn Children’s Theater Chorus becomes program within the Glen Ellyn Park District

Barbara Born

1972

Doreen Rao becomes Music Director

Margaret Hillis extends “Honorary Membership” to the Chicago Symphony Chorus

Debuts at Ravinia

Over 20 Ravinia performances to date

1973

We change our name to Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus

1974

GECC makes their first recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Mahler’s “Symphony No. 3”

Doreen Rao

1975

GECC makes their performance debut at Grant Park

1976

We begin charging tuition

1977

Hires first administrative staff member

The chorus, along with Doreen Rao, is profiled on Chicago CBS program “Two on Two”

1979

Premieres 1st commission

Gordon Binkerd’s “On the King’s Highway”

76 works by 37 composers have been commissioned to date

1980

First benefit auction

First international tour to England

The chorus has taken 18 international tours to 6 continents to date

1982

The chorus receives tax exempt status and becomes its own nonprofit organization

1983

GRAMMY and Grand Prix du Disque Awards

Recording of Berlioz’ “Damnation of Faust” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and Sir Georg Solti

1984

GECC is first youth/children’s chorus in US to receive funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, which continues to date

Bill Buhr named Principal Accompanist

1986

GRAMMY Award

Recording of Shoenberg’s “Moses and Aaron” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and Sir Georg Solti

1987

GRAMMY Award

Recording of Orff’s “Carmina Burana” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus with James Levine

1988

Lucy J. Ding is named Music Director

Doreen Rao becomes Music Director Emerita

1990

Sandra Snow is named Music Director

1993

Lisa Roberts Sirvatka is named Music Director

1996

Emily Ellsworth is named Music Director

1997

GECC sings with Sir Georg Solti on last recording made before his death

Stravinsky’s “Symphony of Psalms” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

1993

Lisa Roberts Sirvatka is named Music Director

1996

Emily Ellsworth is named Music Director

1997

GECC sings with Sir Georg Solti on last recording made before his death

Stravinsky’s “Symphony of Psalms” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

1999

GECC has premiere collaboration with the Soul Children of Chicago

The chorus has collaborated with the Soul Children 4 times to date

2000

GECC takes its first international tour beyond Europe/North America

Travels to Australia and New Zealand

2001

GECC receives the ASCAP Award

From Chorus America, for Adventurous Programming

2005

GECC commissions and premieres Imant Raminsh’s opera “The Nightingale”

Featured performers at Chorus America’s national conference

GECC receives the ABBY Award

For Arts Management Excellence, from the Arts & Business Council of Chicago

2008

GECC receives the Margaret Hillis award from Chorus America

Changes name to “Anima – Young Singers of Greater Chicago”

2009

Anima has its first performance with the Lyric Opera of Chicago

Performs Berlioz’ “Damnation of Faust”

GECC has performed 4 times with the Lyric, including a feature performance in the 2010 production of Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

The Nightingale

2012

Composer accompanies Anima on tour for the first time

Imant Raminsh traveled to his homeland of Latvia with the chorus on their Baltic tour

2013

Anima receives the ASCAP Award

For Chorus America, for Adventurous Programming

Brandon Pemberton is named the first Assistant Music Director

2014

Anima GECC celebrates 50 years and moves back home to 501 Hill Ave, Glen Ellyn

2015

Anima joins the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for their performance of Maurice Ravel’s L’enfant et Les Sortilèges and performs the midwest premier of On the Transmigration of Souls by John Adams with the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra and Choir

2016

Composers Stephen Hatfield and Roshanne Etezady join Anima as composers in residence

2017

Anima is invited to sing in Crowd Out Chicago, a 1,000 – voice performance by and for the people of Chicago at Millennium Park, in celebration of the Chicago Humanities Festival

2018

Anima premiers David Brunner’s HandSpeak, a work that deaf and hard of hearing students to make music with a choral ensemble

Chorus America invites Anima to perform at its national conference

Charles Sundquist is named Artistic Director