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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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