Chicago Voices and Shemekia Copeland step into the national spotlight

Chicago Voices steps into the national spotlight… Recorded in 2017, the concert is going to premiere on WTTW – Chicago PBS this Friday and Saturday.

For those not fortunate enough to have been there, the welcome news is that “Chicago Voices” will have its national broadcast premiere on PBS’ “Great Performances” series, airing locally at 8 p.m. Friday and 10:30 p.m. Saturday on WTTW-Ch. 11. True, the music-making often looks, sounds and feels different on screen than it had in the Opera House. But, ultimately, it strikes the same joyous notes, honoring music made in Chicago by those best equipped to do so.

Conceived by soprano Renee Fleming, the concert’s artistic director, “Chicago Voices” celebrated this city’s outsized contributions to the way America sings. What would our music sound like, after all, without the contributions of jazz progenitors Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong (both charismatic singers), urban blues pioneers Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, folk bards John Prine and Steve Goodman and gospel eminence Mahalia Jackson? Each set standards for their respective art forms in Chicago, their breakthroughs resonating across music to this day.

To celebrate their achievements and build upon them, Fleming gathered a high-powered lineup for “Chicago Voices,” the cast featuring Prine himself, plus blues diva Shemekia Copeland, Broadway star Jessie Mueller, operatic tenor Matthew Polenzani and others to sing the repertoire they know best.

By Howard Reich. Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Songs featuring Shemekia include “The Battle is Over (But the War Goes On)”, “Wang-Dang Doodle” with Michelle Williams…

Watch the concert this Friday on PBS, and streaming on PBS Great Performances starting Saturday.



Watch the full show. The video will expire on September 7, 2018.

For the finale, Shemekia joined Jessie Mueller, Kurt Elling, Michelle Williams, Matthew Polenzani, and Renee Fleming together to sing a Windy City favorite, “Sweet Home Chicago”.