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Chicago Children's Choir records

Identifier: Midwest-MS-CCChoir

Scope and Content of the Collection

Records of the Chicago Children’s Choir, now known as Uniting Voices Chicago, documenting the Choir’s history, programs, operations, and growth since its founding by Christopher Moore in 1956 at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago. The collection includes administrative files, publicity and promotional materials, information about staff, singers, alumni, and parents, performance and tour records, photographs, development and financial materials, and audiovisual recordings. Also included are Christopher Moore’s personal papers and information about other choirs and organizations.


  • Creation: 1944-2008
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1956-1998



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Chicago Children's Choir records are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Audiovisual recordings in this collection have not been digitized and are unavailable for use at this time.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Chicago Children's Choir records are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

History of the Chicago Children's Choir

“Founded in 1956 as the Children's Chorus of the First Unitarian Church of Chicago in direct response to the Civil Rights Movement, Uniting Voices Chicago (formerly Chicago Children's Choir) is rooted in the belief that music is a vehicle for fostering empathy and respect between young people of all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, gender identities, and sexual orientations.” -Uniting Voices Chicago website, October 2022.

Christopher Moore began the children’s choir at First Unitarian in 1956 as an interracial, experimental program in music. In 1962, the Unitarian Choir became a demonstration unit for the Institute for Cultural Development, a Chicago area citizen’s committee working with Chicago’s Board of Education to develop enrichment experiences for the less advantaged children of the inner city. The Urban Gateways Chorus, an Institute project modelled on the Unitarian Choir, was begun at the Raymond School in February 1963 with 35 selected students. Promising singers from this group began working with the Unitarian Choir under the Institute auspices, and this collaboration became the Chicago Children’s Choir in 1964. The choir continued its relationship with Urban Gateways until 1975 and became a separate entity from First Unitarian Church in the 1980s. In 2022, the organization became known as Uniting Voices Chicago. Throughout its history, the choir has focused on building programs that reflect the racial and economic diversity of Chicago.

Biography of Christopher Moore

White, American choral director and Unitarian minister.

Christopher Moore was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Dudley Moore and Matilda “Tillie” Goldstone Moore on December 5, 1929. While attending Harvard University, Moore was a member of the Harvard Glee Club and was mentored by George Wallace Woodworth. He was also influenced by Ferdinand Grossman, the Director of the Vienna Choir Boys, spending time at the Choir’s summer camp during a trip to Europe in 1959. Moore completed degrees in theology from Meadville/Lombard Theological School in Chicago and Harvard Divinity School, where he studied under theologian Paul Tillich. Throughout his career, he was involved with a variety of musical and Unitarian organizations, including Unitarian Universalist Musicians’ Network, Liberal Religious Youth, and Chicago Area Liberal Ministers. Moore came to Chicago to serve as an assistant minister at First Unitarian Church of Chicago starting in 1956, founding a children’s choir that would become the Chicago Children’s Choir.

Christopher Moore was married to social worker Judith Manwell Moore (1934-2016) and they had one son, Jonathan. Moore died June 26, 1987.


42 Linear Feet (90 boxes and 2 oversize boxes; audiovisual materials excluded from extent)


Records of the Chicago Children’s Choir, now known as Uniting Voices Chicago, documenting the Choir’s history, programs, operations, and growth since its founding by Christopher Moore in 1956 at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago. Includes administrative files, publicity materials, performance and tour records, information about staff and singers, photographs, and audiovisual recordings.


Materials are arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Administrative, 1956-1996
Boxes 1-13
Series 2: Christopher Moore personal papers, 1944-1987
Boxes 14-16
Series 3: Development and Financial, 1960-1998
Boxes 16-23
Series 4: Choirs and Singers, 1956-1996
Boxes 24-38
Series 5: Music and Programming, 1950s-1996
Boxes 38-43
Series 6: Engagements and Tours, 1957-1998
Boxes 43-65
Series 7: Publicity, 1956-1998
Boxes 66-79
Series 8: Photographs, approximately 1958-1996
Boxes 80-90
Series 9: Posters and Artifacts, 1968-1997
Box 91
Series 10: Audiovisual, 1956-2008, bulk 1956-1998
Audiovisual boxes

Collection Stack Location

1 9 1-4, 1 16 3


Gift, Judith Manwell Moore, 1988, with subsequent donations by the Chicago Children's Choir.

Processed by

Catherine Grandgeorge, 2022.

Chicago Children's Choir records, 1944-2008, bulk 1956-1998
In Progress
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States