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Advancing the Spirit of Community

We believe that music should not be limited to those who can visit the concert hall. Our Bridges program, launched in 2013, is an integral part of the Back Bay Chorale’s mission to celebrate and share the unifying power of music with our community. 

180210-RiikkaHeadshots-0271.jpgWe are also very excited to announce that we have a new leader for our Bridges program. Riikka Pietiläinen Caffrey, a native Finn, is a renowned teaching artist, conductor and singer in the Boston area. Her research focuses on equity and inclusivity in music education and challenging the patriarchical narratives in music. Riikka believes in fostering versatility in her students in order to give them optimal chance for success. She is currently Associate Professor of the Practice and Director of Choral and Vocal Performance at Boston College.  We are thrilled to have Riikka lead our Bridges ESOL Chorus, and we know you will enjoy singing for him. Read more about Riikka here >.



WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Visits the ESOL Chorus

Listen to WBZ NewsRadio 1030's interview with former Director of Community Engagement Katherine Chan, about our ESOL Chorus.
Boston Chorus Aims To Help Non-English Speakers Hone The Language >


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 ESOL Chorus

Music and English are universal languages. Everyone should have access to these languages without fear of making mistakes, whether spoken or sung. In partnership with the Boston Public Library, our Bridges ESOL Singing Group provides participants with an opportunity to make vocal music, improve their English language skills, and develop friendships with singers—within the ESOL community as well as with singers from Back Bay Chorale. Bridges participants meet each Tuesday morning to learn basic singing skills and songs in English. At the end of each class, they have the opportunity to make new friends and practice their English conversation skills. No previous music skills are required.

About the Video

 In February 2021, the ESOL Chorus and participants of  The Complete Chorister  recorded "We Shall Overcome", that most famous anthem of the American civil rights movement.

Read more >

What our ESOL participants say.

"For me, singing is a dream come true! Thank you!”
– Maunia (Iran)
"Singing makes me feel free from my worries and gives me hope and strength."
– Monika (Poland)
"It's very easy and fun to improve my English with this music class."
– Débora (Brazil)
“For the singing class, it was professional. The class is very good.”
– Ngon (Vietnam)


Boston Public Library: Literacy Training
Faneuil Hall: Naturalization Ceremony

A Heart for  Service

Service has always been at the heart of the Back Bay Chorale experience. Musician, minister, and social activist Larry Hill founded the Chorale in 1973 to create a musical ministry that would bring meaning to both singers and their audience.

We launched Bridges in 2013,  focusing our efforts on performing live choral music for those unable to visit the concert hall. From retirees, to Alzheimer patients, to veterans recovering from injury and PTSD, Bridges has always connected and uplifted communities across the Commonwealth.

Voices, spirits lift in face of Parkinson’s steady toll
— Boston Globe

We also started welcoming our country’s newest citizens by performing the National Anthem at Naturalization Ceremonies. To further help connect our community, we coordinated with local universities to include students in this endeavor, and we look forward to resuming this important function when it is safe to do so.

Our current initiative is a partnership with the Boston Public Library, helping with literacy training through song. Thanks to our online sessions, which launched in the spring of 2020, our reach is now global.

While our initiatives may evolve, what inspires us is a shared commitment to a sincere and authentic experience, advancing the spirit of community through our song. 

Current Partners:

Boston Public Library

United States District Court

Previous Partners Include:

Chelsea Soldiers' Home

Cornerstone at Canton

Goddard House

Jewish Children’s and Family Service

Northeastern University Choral Society

Olmsted Choir

Standish Village at Brookline

Tremble Clefs Chorus

Women’s Lunch Place, Back Bay

For more information on the Bridges project or to request a performance, contact us at bridges(at)