Elgin Master Chorale marks 10th year of education concerts with Latin Movement

  • Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl dancers and the Elgin Master Chorale entertain hundreds of elementary school students at the 10th annual Education Concert.

    Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl dancers and the Elgin Master Chorale entertain hundreds of elementary school students at the 10th annual Education Concert. Courtesy of Jim Obos

Updated 2/21/2023 1:39 PM

The Elgin Master Chorale hosted 600 elementary students at its 10th annual Education Concert Friday, Feb. 10, at Elgin Community College's Blizzard Theatre.

Featuring an entertaining collection of authentic Mexican music and dance by Elgin Master Chorale and Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl, the concert was led by Elgin Master Chorale Music Director Andrew Lewis and emceed by Mexico native, musician and folklore expert Juan Diez.


Lewis stated, "This is an excellent opportunity for students to celebrate the unique sounds and dances of Mexico that contribute to our diverse community."

Chris Johnson, board member and former Elgin Master Chorale president, shared the Education Concert series background: "Ten years ago, EMC (formerly Elgin Choral Union) and I wanted to present an educational concert for the students within the community. In partnership with the Elgin Symphony, a special education concert was created in memory of the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. We featured narration by actors performing as Mary and Abraham Lincoln. State Sen. Michael Nolan recited the Gettysburg Address from memory. It was a very memorable day for all in attendance and set the tone for excellence in the performances to follow."

After its initial education concert performance, the Elgin Master Chorale has produced and performed annually for enthusiastic student audiences. Memorable programs include celebrating Black History Month, another featuring Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie" books and American folk songs, and music of Leonard Bernstein in celebration of his 100th birthday.

In 2021 during the pandemic, the concert, titled "Rivers and Rails," was produced and filmed, distributed to schools statewide, and shown to more than 3,000 students.

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When asked what the vision was for this extraordinary endeavor, Johnson replied, "The idea came from brainstorming a way to tie the college, the community, and young people closer together. We wanted the students to see that music is something to treasure and share for a lifetime. It is thrilling to see audience reactions as they realize that music is the way to experience many topics and cultures."

As the Elgin Master Chorale celebrates all who have participated in the Education Concerts series over past 10 years, give a standing ovation and say in one voice, Encore!

Learn more about the Elgin Master Chorale at elginmasterchorale.org

The next concert will be "The Ordering of Moses" on Saturday, April 15, with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and special guests, the University of Illinois-Chicago and the Elgin Youth Choirs. Tickets are $29 or $24 for seniors and students. Tickets are available via eccartscenter.org.

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