Organization | Inducted 2022

Windy City Performing Arts (WCPA), incorporated in 1983, first originated in 1979 with the formation of the Windy City Gay Chorus. Before they walked on stage in 1979, director Richard Garrin recalled he was not sure they’d perform more than once. During its 40-year history, this community chorus has been many things: a family, a source of joy for the members, a refuge through the HIV/AIDS epidemic, a platform to fight for marriage equality, and an advocate for gender expression and sexual orientation equity for all people. The chorus today still works to change hearts and minds in the Chicago community to shape the course of queer culture in the Windy City.

Windy City Performing Arts (WCPA) has had numerous accolades and been home to four world-class choruses: Windy City Gay Chorus; Windy City Treble Quire (originally Aria: Windy City Women’s Ensemble); Windy City Slickers; and Unison: Windy City Lesbian and Gay Singers. WCPA’s choirs produce three regular concerts per year, with additional small ensemble and cabaret performances. For these performances, WCPA has commissioned countless choral works from dozens of world-renowned composers including Clark Eastham, James Adler, Saunder Choi, Dean Johnson, and Mark Hayes. In addition to regular concerts, WCPA’s choirs have been featured in performances with renowned performers from the Chicago Symphony to Hugh Jackman.

WCPA is also active on the national LGBTQ music scene. Windy City Gay Chorus was a founding member of GALA Choruses, the largest association of LGBTQ choruses in the world. Every four years, WCPA’s ensembles perform at GALA’s LGBTQ choral festival for international audiences of thousands. Windy City Gay Chorus and Treble Quire have also been featured performers at state, regional, and national American Choral Director’s Association conferences.