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Renee Fleming Celebrates New Vocal Traditions with 'Chicago Voices' Initiative

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Jan 11, 2016 04:08 PM EST

Last week, soprano superstar Renee Fleming announced, in coordination with Chicago's Lyric Opera, a new initiative to celebrate the diverse vocal traditions interspersed throughout the Chicago area. The new program is entitled Chicago Voices and is modeled after a previous endeavor from the singer.

In 2013, Fleming helped bring a new program, American Voices, to Washington's Kennedy Center. Now, the singer will partner with Lyric's community engagement program, Lyric Unlimited, along with the Chicago Public Library, Chicago History Museum and Columbia College Chicago to help service the city's residents in multiple disciplines regarding musical genres abundant throughout the city.

According to a statement made by the singer:

"[The aim] is to create an inclusive platform for celebrating the human voice, while illuminating the legacy of Chicago vocal traditions and amplifying the narratives of everyday Chicagoans."

In order to accomplish what it has set out to do, Lyric is inviting various groups of residents from all over the city to share and submit stories from their community. In accordance with the proposal, applications can be found and filed on the Chicago Voices website.

With the deadline closing on March 1, there will be two rounds of judging and winners will have their stories turned into videos for the website. And at the contest's end, the top three finalists will receive a professional grant to develop their stories into original music to be premiered for the public in Fall 2017.

Also as part of the initiative, residents of the city are encouraged to record their favorite songs to post to the website as well as a photo exhibit that highlights the illustrious history of Chicago's singers, both past and present.

A unique idea indeed, while we wait for the Chicago project to unfold, preview Ms. Fleming below.

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TagsRenee Fleming, Chicago Voices, American Voices, Kennedy Center