The Illinois Orthodox Choir
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The Illinois Orthodox Choir was formed in the fall of 2015 in Champaign-Urbana, IL. The founding director is Dr. Zhanna Lehmann. The choir consists of enthusiastic singers with a diversity of musical backgrounds but three things unite us: love for God, love for the beauty of Orthodox Christian music, and love for singing. The core of this group is singers and chanters of Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church. The group welcomes people of all religious backgrounds, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike. The choir makes their concerts for the local community, nursing homes, and outreach concerts to other parishes. The Illinois Orthodox Choir is sponsored and supported by St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church under he pastorate of V. Rev. James Ellison and by Abbess Katherine Weston.

The Illinois Orthodox Choir works in continuous collaboration with the composer Mother Katherine. The choir was the first to premiere her works in 2021, 2022, and 2023.


In December 2021, the Illinois Orthodox Choir premiered to the public three hymns by Mother Katherine (Weston), the Abbess of St. Xenia Monastery in Indianapolis and the President of the Fellowship of St. Moses the Black. These Orthodox hymns comprise a symbiosis of the melodies of the traditional Spirituals, Orthodox liturgical texts and unique compositional style of Mother Katherine. The hymns are It Is Right Indeed (Were You There When They Crucified my Lord?), Cherubic Hymn (Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child), and Our Father (Christ Our Balm In Gilead).

That performance led to the production of the CD "Christ Our Balm in Gilead", directed by Dr. Zhanna Lehmann. The CD was a compilation of hymns from the previous few years, including pieces by Mother Katherine and our very own Nicholas Holwey.

In April 2022, the Illinois Orthodox Choir premiered to the public Polyeleos by Mother Katherine (Weston).

In March 2023, the Illinois Orthodox Choir premiered to the public Christ is Risen by Mother Katherine (Weston).

In December 2023, the Illinois Orthodox Choir premiered to the public the Beatitudes and Praise the Lord by Mother Katherine (Weston).


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