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Member Spotlight

Chester Children's Chorus

Tell us a little about your organization!

The Chester Children’s Chorus (CCC) provides an intensive, sophisticated and joyful choral music experience to young people of the city of Chester and supports their academic achievement and personal development. Be sure to check out our performance schedule

The CCC Provides…MUSIC

Through exemplary teaching and a commitment to rigorous learning, CCC members master many forms of choral music, from classical to rock to gospel, and deliver inspiring performances throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.  The children practice and rehearse year-round, and Chorus members can choose to take voice and piano lessons to deepen their understanding of music and strengthen their performance ability.

The CCC Provides…JOY

Attending a Chester Children’s Chorus concert is a joyful experience for the audience and Chorus members alike.  That joy permeates behind the scenes activities, as the children work hard, laugh a lot, and share the gratification of choral mastery and exceptional performance.   

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The children’s relationships with each other, their teachers and the staff are foundational to the work of the CCC. Most new members are welcomed as rising third graders. Over the course of their 10 years with the Chorus, the children grow up together, with older Chorus members acting as role models and mentors to the younger ones.  During the school year, weeknight and Saturday rehearsals keep the children — 125 in all, ages 8 through 18— connected to one another. That connection is strengthened every summer when they spend six weeks together on the beautiful Swarthmore College campus during the annual Summer Learning Program.


During their careers, CCC singers will learn and love Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah, as well as the music of The Beatles, Queen, Stevie Wonder, and Aretha Franklin.  The children are proud of their musical accomplishments and know that with every performance they teach audiences that excellence is possible in Chester. 

The CCC Provides…Academic Support

Supporting the children’s academic growth is an integral part of the CCC mission.  During the summer, they receive programming in reading, science, math and more. Extending this part of our mission, we recently  launched an intensive year-round Math Practice Program to provide the children with personalized learning experiences to support their mathematical achievement.


When the CCC performs James Brown, the Jackson 5, and Stevie Wonder, the children are given the opportunity to be respected and celebrated for what they know and love. Performing R&B and gospel along with classical music allows CCC children to develop the bi-cultural fluency they will need to succeed in America, while avoiding the messages of inferiority that minorities, especially Black-Americans, experience in school and the media.

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How have you grown as an organization?

The Chester Children’s Chorus was founded in 1994 by Dr. John Alston, then an Associate Music Professor at Swarthmore College, who wanted children from Chester to have the same opportunity to change their lives through music that he was offered as a boy by the Newark (NJ) Boys Chorus.  The CCC began with seven boys from one elementary school; it now serves more than one hundred boys and girls in third through twelfth grades from every school in Chester.  John continues to lead the organization as its Executive and Artistic Director. 

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What made you want to join the Cultural Alliance and/or What do you value the most about your Cultural Alliance Membership?

Membership with the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance provides the CCC with important opportunities to learn from and partner with peer organizations and like-minded individuals. We appreciate the opportunity to share our work and accomplishments with cultural institutions throughout the region.  Posting upcoming performances on Phillyfunguide is a great way to raise awareness about our work and build our audience.

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What are you most excited about for this season/that is coming up? 

We are proud to celebrate our 25th anniversary this year, which kicks off with a community party in October.  As part of the year-long festivities, the children are preparing for a March 2020 performance of Handel’s Messiah.

This summer, CCC concerts are scheduled for July 25, 26, & 27 at Swarthmore College’s Lang Music Building, just a quick train ride from Center City. Keep an eye out for our listing on Phillyfunguide & please join us to watch and hear 120 joyous children celebrate everything that is the Chester Children’s Chorus!

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