Serving children from more than 50 area communities, the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus (= GECC) was founded in 1964 as an offshoot of the Glen Ellyn Park District's Children's Theatre Chorus, which was under the direction of Barbara Born. During the 1970's and 1980's the Chorus grew to international prominence under the extensive development and direction of Dr. Doreen Rao.
In 1987, at the request of the Glen Ellyn Park District, the Chorus began an entry-level program called Musical Experience for Children (MEC). This weekly class introduces young children, grades K-2, to the joy and growth that comes from musical learning and expression. In September 1997, the Chorus added a once-a-week Choir Club, open to all interested children in third, fourth and fifth grades. In 1996, Emily Ellsworth became Music Director of the Chorus. She brings over 20 years of vocal performance and teaching experience to her new role, and has conducted all three of the chorus ensembles, having joined the staff in 1993.
A performance-based music education program, the Chorus curriculum uses high quality repertoire from a wide variety of musical styles, and centers around the belief that all children are inherently musical.
The Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus has toured extensively throughout the USA, Canada, and Europe. It has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Chicago's Orchestra Hall, the Ravinia Festival, New York's Carnegie Hall and Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center. It has appeared with the Grant Park Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and Illlinois Chamber Symphony.
The Chorus is known for showcasing a broad spectrum of newly-composed North American music commissioned for and performed by children, including works by Ned Rorem, Norman Luboff, Gordon Binkerd, John Burge, Imant Raminsh, David Elliott, Lee Kesselman, and Stephen Hatfield.
Other recent performance highlights for the Chorus include performances of Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Christoph Eschenbach; benefit concerts with international opera stars Thomas Hampson, Nancy Gustafson, and Sylvia McNair; concerts with the the Illinois Chamber Symphony, Symphony of the Shores, New Classic Singers and Northern Illinois University; plus numerous local concerts and tours to New York, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest. In March 1997 the Chorus performed and recorded Igor Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, under the direction of Sir Georg Solti. The Chorus has participated in four Grammy Award-winning recordings, and has performed under other eminent conductors including Claudio Abbado, James Levine, Seiji Ozawa, Daniel Barenboim, and Leonard Slatkin.
The Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus has been featured on numerous television and radio programs, and recently performed live on a WFMT 98.7 FM feature presentation.