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Mission & History

Mission

Chicago Master Singers (CMS), an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, is committed to performing great choral works at the highest artistic level for the cultural enrichment of the communities it serves.

History

Bringing great music to audiences outside the cultural center of the city

Chicago Master Singers (CMS), an Illinois not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1979 as The New Oratorio Singers. Under the guidance of founding director Thomas Wikman, the chorus’ goal was to perform concerts in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago and bring great music to audiences outside the cultural center of the city.

In 1993, members of CMS participated as the featured chorus at the International Church Music Festival in Oberammergau, Germany. While on tour, the chorus also gave concerts in Munich, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. In June of 1996, CMS participated in a tour of England, and in July of 1998, the chorus toured Prague, Budapest, and Vienna, performing to packed houses in many historic and beautiful churches in those cities.

Following our twenty-first season, the chorus embarked on a concert tour of France, Switzerland, and Austria, performing as the featured chorus in the inaugural Innsbruck International Choral Festival in June 2000. The chorus continues to tour in Europe in alternate years, with tours to Italy in 2002, the Czech Republic and Germany in 2004, Poland in 2006, and Provence in the summer of 2008. The choir’s most recent tour was of southern Germany in June 2010, and in June 2012, CMS will be touring the Baltic capitals and St. Petersburg, Russia.

Over the past 25 years, CMS has refined and expanded its artistic mission to include the presentation of great choral works at the highest artistic level for the cultural enrichment of its members and the communities it serves. Since 1989, the chorus has been under the artistic direction of Alan Heatherington, and during this time CMS has expanded its annual performances from three to six, has grown to a membership of 140 singers and has diversified its venues to include performance sites throughout metropolitan Chicago. Divine Word Chapel at Techny in Northbrook has become a regular performance location.

The featured chorus in the inaugural Innsbruck International Choral Festival

In April 2004, CMS celebrated its 25th anniversary season with a performance of Verdi's magnificent Requiem in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center in Chicago. Spring 2008 found Chicago Master Singers performing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on the Lake Forest Symphony’s 50th anniversary concert program. CMS joined the Lake Forest Symphony again in spring 2011 on their program of Mendelssohn Symphony No. 2 (“Lobgesang”).

Coming together with others who love to sing and perform great works of music.

Our chorus members are drawn from over 50 communities and come from all walks of life and professions. For some, music is their vocation as teachers and choir directors; but for many others it is their avocation, a way to enrich their lives by coming together with others who love to sing and perform great works of music.