Downers Grove Choral Society gets COVID-19 Response Fund Grant from DuPage Foundation

  • Downers Grove Choral Society put on a virtual presentation of Antonio Vivaldi's "Gloria in Excelsis," produced by Enhance Productions, a division of Cagen Music, LLC.

    Downers Grove Choral Society put on a virtual presentation of Antonio Vivaldi's "Gloria in Excelsis," produced by Enhance Productions, a division of Cagen Music, LLC. Courtesy of Downers Grove Choral Society

Updated 8/20/2021 7:36 PM

The Downers Grove Choral Society is one of 24 DuPage County nonprofit organizations with a program specific to the arts to receive a grant through DuPage Foundation's most recent COVID-19 Response Fund grant program, due to the advocacy efforts of Arts DuPage, the foundation's initiative for all things art in the county.

The Downers Grove-based organization received a grant in the amount of $10,178.


The grant has allowed the society to continue to support the professional staff, continue ensemble rehearsals on Zoom, and create virtual videos for the Downers Grove Choral Society YouTube channel.

Its mission is to provide members the opportunity to achieve excellence in the performance of worthy choral music. It provides audiences in the greater Chicago area the opportunity to hear quality performances of a wide variety of choral repertoire.

The choral society continues to build a broad community of musicians, audience members, and supporters.

Since its founding in 1959 by Thelma Roe Milnes and Donald Drew, it has earned a reputation for excellence and has developed a loyal following throughout the western suburbs of Chicago.

The volunteer nonprofit organization is dedicated to the performance of great choral music.

The Downers Grove Oratorio Society originally presented traditional performances of Handel's "Messiah" annually in the local churches.

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The renamed Downers Grove Choral Society enhances this tradition by performing a variety of major choral works, providing opportunities for singers in the community to participate in programs of excellent choral music.

With help from Arts DuPage Advisory Committee member Sheila Rutledge, who is also a DuPage County Board member, the foundation was able to secure and grant $300,000 in federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds from DuPage County.

Through a speedy, but thorough, grant process, a small working group of DuPage Foundation volunteers evaluated 27 grant applications based on specific criteria required for CARES Act Funds to meet the deadline.

The executive board stated: "The Downers Grove Choral Society is extremely appreciative of your notification and expert guidance throughout the CARES grant process from the DuPage County funding to Arts DuPage of the DuPage Foundation and we are grateful for the opportunity to receive the grant of $10,178 with the assistance of Arts DuPage of the DuPage Foundation."


From the start of the pandemic through the end of 2020, DuPage Foundation awarded $1.7 million on behalf of donors and the community to area nonprofits from the DuPage Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund developed and funded last spring in five rounds of grant funding and due to contributions from hundreds of residents, businesses and other organizations.

The auditioned choral ensemble normally holds rehearsals Mondays from 7:30 to 9:45 p.m. Members are responsible for yearly dues and the cost of music for each concert.

The Downers Grove Choral Society not only normally presented three concerts each season, but also outreach concerts at retirement communities and has participated in such events as the annual Downers Grove tree lighting, the Giving DuPage Human Race, and the VFW Memorial Day ceremonies.

Arts DuPage supports, promotes and advocates for the arts in DuPage County. An initiative of DuPage Foundation, Arts DuPage stimulates engagement and investment in the County's vast cultural landscape through, its comprehensive website for all things art.

DuPage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) community foundation, is the philanthropic leader in DuPage County, Illinois. DuPage Foundation manages more than $105 million in assets and has awarded more than $55 million in grants to nonprofit organizations serving the residents of DuPage County and beyond since its founding in 1986. Individuals and organizations seeking to provide impactful support in DuPage County to address critical issues can create powerful, customizable gift solutions and partnerships through DuPage Foundation. More at "Doing a world of good in our own backyard."

For information regarding Downers Grove Choral Society, check out, email or call (630) 515-0030.

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