Heard about the “McDonald’s Signs” commercial that aired on Sunday’s Golden Glove Awards? Put aside whether you love, hate or don’t care much about it — and take time to listen to the choir. It was performed by five young students from Midwest Young Artists’ Voices Rising, a choir that includes dozens of children and teens from the North Shore and beyond.
Stevi Marks, director of Choral Programs at Midwest Young Artsists and director of Voices Rising, said her students were a last-minute addition to the commercial. The original choir was from Australia and had been recorded before the holidays, she explained. But a short time later when the ad agency, Leo Burnett, and production company, Comma Productions were working on the spot and wanted a different sound, holiday schedules required that they look closer to home for a new take. Since they are both based in Chicago, they reached out to Marks to tap into the Voices Rising talent pool.
“The requirements were very specific,” she said. “They were very age, vocal type and personality specific. It was hard for me to choose between these amazingly talented kids in Voices Rising. Every single one of our 57 kids would have been capable of doing this commercial.”
But choose she must, so on a recent Sunday she sent an email to five students and their parents. The kids practiced in her home on Monday, and the next day, Tuesday, they recorded for the commercial.
They did not know if the producers would pick up their recording — but indeed they did. Most of the choir voices are from the Voices Rising students, but some of the Australian voices can be heard as well.
Midwest Young Artists and Voices Rising are based in Highwood and attract students from all over the North Shore and beyond.