Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alums are featured in Sweet Home Chicago, a new music video produced by HMS Media as a fundraiser for the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund, an organization helping Chicago-area artists struggling in the wake of COVID-19 closures. The nationally acclaimed video features an ensemble of more than 100 participants, all with deep ties to the Chicago arts scene, performing a virtual group rendition of the blues anthem “Sweet Home Chicago.” Among the performers are Columbia alums Courtney Mack ’15 and Mallory Maedke ’14, both graduates of the Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Musical Theatre Performance. Both Mack and Maedke were cast members of the hit rock musical Six, which ran in Chicago at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre before transferring to Broadway. Also featured is Columbia alum Shantel Cribbs ’17, also a graduate of the Musical Theatre Performance BFA program.
The video will help to raise money for the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund, providing relief to Chicago-area artists struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. To donate to the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund, click here.
Also participating in the project are Columbia College Chicago Music Department faculty member Ellen Winters, who teaches voice for Musical Theatre Program majors; former Columbia College Music Department faculty member Bobbi Wilsyn; and former Columbia College Theatre Department faculty member Jeff Perry, cofounder of Chicago’s internationally renowned Steppenwolf Theatre. Other Chicago-linked celebrities in the video include Jim Belushi, Andre De Shields, Lecy Goranson, Keegan-Michael Key, Ramsey Lewis, Joe Mantegna, Jessie Mueller, Jim Peterik, Rachel Barton Pine, Alan Ruck, George Wendt, and Chef Rick Bayless.
Rolling Stone magazine reports that Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot stated: “I am incredibly grateful to the many artists, performers, and residents who lent their Chicago and Chicago-inspired voices to this absolutely heartwarming production of our hometown anthem and very worthy cause. If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it’s the nourishment and joy the arts bring to our lives, however, our artists have also been among most impacted by the fallout from this disease.”