It started out as a harmless bit of hyperbole.
References to the “world-renowned Leo Choir” were intended to recognize not only the singers’ talent and commitment, but the invaluable attention they bring to Leo as some of our finest ambassadors.
And Music Director La Donna Hill, as we know, is a gift from God.
But as word of the Choir’s excellence spreads, the opportunities for exposure seem never-ending. The more the Choir performs, the more they are in demand. It could just be that “world-renowned” is not so much hyperbole as it is an accurate description.
The week leading up to Christmas break told the story of the Choir’s popularity. It featured four gigs, beginning with an outdoor appearance on behalf of the Auburn-Gresham Neighborhood Development Corp. at 79th and Halsted on Friday, Dec. 14. On Monday, Dec. 17, the Choir was the headline act for the holiday party the Chicago Bears threw at Leo to make Christmas a little brighter for more than 50 neighborhood families. On Wednesday, Dec. 19, the Leo Auditorium was filled to capacity for the annual Christmas Concert featuring the choir, the drum line and Ms. Hill’s music classes. Finally, on Dec. 19, the Choir traveled downtown to perform at a corporate Christmas event organized by Sally Fulwiler, wife of Leo Man Scott Fulwiler ’74, a “Leo couple” who have supported the school in ways big and small.
Downtown appearances are all in a day’s work for the Choir. They were the opening act at the third annual Leo Scholarship Benefit, which drew a full house to the Four Seasons Hotel to honor Lifetime Achievement Award winner Tom Owens on Nov. 27. And Holy Name Cathedral was a splendid setting for the Choir’s voices when they provided the music for a Catholic Lawyers Guild mass on Oct. 2.
They’ll be back on the lakefront in April, performing at the National Catholic Educators Convention, which is expected to draw 8,000 people to McCormick Place.
And when school resumed after Christmas break, the Choir jumped right back into action, singing the National Anthem before an Alumni Night crowd that packed the gym for the Leo-St. Laurence basketball game on Jan. 11.
“The response to the boys has just been phenomenal,” Mrs. Hill said. “We’re getting opportunities to appear all over the city.”
All this exposure comes at a cost. “I think we should ask Mr. McGrath for a raise,” sophomore soloist Chandler McMahan said.