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Our Songs, Our Stories

Our Songs, Our Stories generates original musical works by, for or with the young people of Chicago Children’s Choir, with a particular focus on untold stories, historically underrepresented voices and 21st century sounds. This consortium of composers and creators delivers fresh content relevant to the next generation of global leaders.

Composer-in-Residence

Mitchell Owens

Mitchell Owens is a composer, arranger, singer and instrumentalist. Beginning as a drummer at the age of two, Mitchell’s musical gifts were later nurtured through 10 years in Chicago Children’s Choir under the direction and mentorship of Josephine Lee. Owens studied percussion formally with Patricia Dash of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Douglas Waddell of the Lyric Opera Orchestra as part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Percussion Scholarship Program and studied piano at DePaul University with Regina Serkin.

Mitchell’s compositions embrace a variety of musical styles and mediums, with a passion for ensuring that musicians of all cultural backgrounds are free to express their own culture in their music. He wants his music to be universal. As Composer-in-Residence for Chicago Children’s Choir, Mitchell is excited and honored to contribute to the organization that has played such a pivotal role in his musical development.

Commissions include:

  • "Believe in Love"
  • "We Need a Word"
  • "We All Live Here"
  • "Breakin’ the Silence"
Owens Mitchell

Summer 2022

Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach is a full-length musical production inspired by true events in 1961 that led to the desegregation of beaches on the south side of Chicago. The piece of living history recounts the wade-ins, a form of nonviolent protest in which demonstrators demanded equal access by stepping into whites-only waters, and speaks truthfully to the violence that ensued.

Production is anticipated in Summer 2022.

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Our Latest Album

Long Way Home

Long Way Home, a hip-hop version of Homer’s Odyssey written and directed by Q Brothers Collective, premiered at the Studebaker Theatre in 2018 and was released as a full cast recording in 2021.

The story follows Ody, a young rapper who wants to share her voice with the world. She and her friends, hailing from the sometimes troubled Ithaca neighborhood, enter an open mic on the opposite side of the city. As the evening takes an unexpected turn, the crew finds themselves on a magical El train ride through the city of Chicago. What starts as just another Friday turns into a wild adventure across their city, exploring the music they love. Most importantly, they learn about confidence, collaboration, and the power of friendship.

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"Just a Dream"

By Jamion Cotten

Jamion Cotten, a member of the Austin Neighborhood Choir, wrote this original song, which was given a full arrangement by CCC Composer-in-Residence and Choir alumnus Mitchell Owens and performed by Voice of Chicago in 2020. The final music video was shared on CCC's YouTube and Facebook pages in September 2020, garnering thousands of views.

Want to dive into composition? CCC works with young people to make their musical ideas a reality.

Stage Show

Sita Ram

Sita Ram is a modern interpretation of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, fusing the past, present, and future in a fantastical world of song, dance, fashion, and design that leads its audience on a path of reflection and self-discovery. This 3,000-year old legend follows Rama, who must save the world from the evil demon King Ravana. But when Ravana steals Rama’s love and soulmate, Sita, it takes all of the world’s creatures, lead by Rama’s devotee Hanuman, to come to the prince’s aid, defeat Ravana and his demon retinue and restore balance and harmony to the universe.

Sita Ram is a wedding of art, youth and the ancient themes of human nature and Heroism.

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