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Founder of Chicago Mass Choir in 1988.


As a young teen, James C. Chambers became director of the Radio Choir and later organized the youth choir at the Haven of Rest M.B. Church. Church, however, was not the only place where his gift was realized. In 1971, under the guidance of his music instructor at Chicago Vocational School, he crossed denomination barriers and organized the Ecclesiastes Community Choir.

This choir was nourished by James and the Lord for more than 20 years, and Ecclesiastes Community Choir flourished into one of the country's finest singing aggregations. In July 1988, James' greatest vision became reality when the Ecclesiastes Community Choir Music Workshop commenced at the Adult Continuing Education Department of Kennedy-King College. Its purpose was to enhance the performance quality and music administration of gospel music and to unite this city's choirs, community organizations, musicians, songwriters, and soloists. During that first workshop in 1988, James founded the Chicago Mass Choir. The Gospel community responded positively: In 1991 Chicago Mass was nominated in five categories for the Gospel Music Excellence awards and was named Best New Artist. In 1992, the Chicago Mass recording "I Can Go to the Rock" was the winner of Song of the Year.

In 1994, the ECC Music Workshop/Chicago Mass Choir leadership was passed to Dr. Feranda Williamson, who had been a founding member and featured soloist of the Ecclesiastes Community Choir, and a longtime colleague and close friend of the group's beloved founder. Since that time, Dr. Williamson has led the group to record 17 albums, take multiple European tours and sing at Millennium Park for the 2021 St. Jude's Hospital fundraising event. She was recognized in 2021 with an Eddy Award from the Impact Television Network for her "superb leadership and dedication as a music ministry leader to the Kingdom of God."

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With the soulful force of a traditional gospel choir, the Chicago Mass Choir® has thrilled audiences around the globe with its penetrating vocals, dynamic musicianship, and stirring messages of hope and encouragement.


The Chicago Mass Choir has had no less than seventeen albums reach the Billboard gospel charts.  It has garnered two Grammy, three Dove, and more than ten Stellar Award nominations.   The group has appeared on several television programs, including BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel, Windy City Live and the Allstate Gospel Super Fest.  And, the group has sung in a variety of genres: in 2003, the choir sang “Pressing On” for the Grammy-nominated album, Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan; in 2009, they sang with the Greek pop band Onirama in Athens, Greece; and in 2020, provided the vocal background for a commercial for the University of Chicago Health Center.

The 17th recording of the Chicago Mass Choir entitled  

My Soul Says Yes was released in August 2020 and co-produced by

Percy Gray Jr, and Jeral Gray, Sr. on New Haven Records. 

It debuted at #16 on Gospel Billboard chart.  

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In November 2021, New Haven Records announced that  My Soul Says Yes will debut in deluxe digital format.

In addition to the eleven tracks on the original version of the album, the expanded collection will include nine performance videos shot live during the recording of the album. This Deluxe Edition also includes a bonus “virtual choir” version of their hit single, “My Soul Says Yes / I Say Yes to My Lord,” featuring Chicago Mass members performing the song from their homes during COVID-19.


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The project was recently nominated in six categories at the 36th Annual Stellar Awards and helped Chicago Mass Choir earn Best Gospel Entertainer of the Year honors at the 39th Annual Chicago Music Awards.

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