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3,000 youth singers "Paint the Town Red" at Millennium Park concert

United voices fill Millennium Park for youth choir concert
United voices fill Millennium Park for youth choir concert 02:09

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Millennium Park was a sea of red on Thursday, as this year's Uniting Voices "Paint the Town Red" event kicked off the park's summer concert series in a big way, with thousands of young people singing their hearts out downtown.

"You have to be the light. You have to be the light for yourself, and the choir is not just a choir, but we're movement, and were moving people through music," said Disney II Magnet School junior Isis Clark. "This is like my year, and so I'm very excited."

Clark is from the Austin neighborhood. It was her first time on the stage at Millennium Park, painting the town red with 3,000 other students from all over Chicago, taking over the park on their own terms.

"I hate to see us labelled as 'these crazy teens' and stuff like that. So things like this, Paint the Town Red, we're coming together for music," she said.

"Ten years ago, I was sitting in those stands as a neighborhood singer with the Lincoln Park Ensemble, and now I get to sing with the Voice of Chicago on that amazing stage," said Northside College Prep senior Zachary Stone. "Music is the great connector."

Thursday's performance alone connected teens from every side of the city. The hours of preparation created even stronger bonds and friendships.

"I would have never met any of these people if it wasn't for this organization [Uniting Voices]," Stone said.

Uniting Voices was founded in response to the civil rights movement, rooted in the belief that music can bring everyone together.

"I think everyone's dream is to be the next big thing. But for me, I really wanna change the view of young people. I wanna be that image that were not just bad were not just centered around violence and drugs, but we're more than that. We're the future," Clark said.

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