The All-City Performing Arts Program (ACPA) is one of the oldest traditions in CPS, going into its 57th year. Any CPS student in grades 3–12 at beginning to advanced levels in their art forms are eligible to join districtwide music, theater and dance ensembles.

Students rehearse each Saturday during the fall semester, receiving exceptional instruction from highly-qualified CPS arts educators and local teaching artists. They go on to perform in a Winter Showcase in December.

Students from Winter Ensembles may be eligible for nomination to the All-­City Performing Arts Ensembles, who rehearse on Saturdays throughout the spring semester. They go on to perform at a Spring Showcase in May. Students who participate are eligible for scholarships to Columbia College.

When rehearsals are in-person, All-City students are offered free breakfast and lunch.


2020–21 All-City Performing Arts Program

The All-City Performing Arts Program (ACPA) will be offered remotely in the 2020-2021 school year. Priority will be given to students who do not have access to in-school arts education at their home schools.Instruments and other materials will be distributed to students after enrollment is closed. The ACPA ensembles offered in the 2020-21 school year are:

  • Symphonic Band I and II, (formerly Concert & Symphonic Bands), Grades 4–12
  • Percussion Ensemble, Grades 6–12
  • Jazz Band, Grades 4–12
  • Music & Media Production (formerly New Music), Grades 6–12
  • Orchestra, Grades 6–12
  • Choir, Grades 3–12
  • Elementary Modern Rock Band, Grades 5–8
  • High School Modern Rock Band, Grades 9–12
  • Mariachi, Grades 5–12
  • Dance, Grades 6–12
  • Theatre, Grades 6–12

Interested in joining this year’s ensembles? Are you already enrolled and looking for information about your ensemble? Click below to access information about the 2020-21 All-City Performing Arts program, including student placement/audition information and rehearsal schedules.


Watch the 2020-21 All-City Performing Arts Winter Showcase!

This year, in light of citywide school closures, our All-City Performing Arts directors moved their ensemble rehearsals to a virtual format so that CPS students across the district could continue to dance, sing, play, and perform together. Months of their inventive and dedicated work have culminated in the 2020-21 All City Performing Arts Virtual Winter Showcase, which premiered on December 19th, 2020 on YouTube.

This showcase spotlights the talents of nearly 200 elementary and high school students from 90 CPS schools across the district who have participated in Modern Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Percussion, Orchestra, Choir, Music & Media Production, Theatre, and Dance ensembles throughout the fall and winter of the 2020-21 school year. This virtual event carries on a vibrant CPS tradition that has thrived for 57 years!

We are so proud of our All-City students for their resilience, hard work, creativity, and imagination. We also extend our deepest thanks to the All-City directors for creating space and time for students to express themselves and connect with each other, and to all the parents and family members for supporting and nurturing the passions and talents of their children.

Read and Watch Our Press Coverage!


NBC: All-City Performing Winter Showcase 

NBC | Staff Report, December 19, 2020 
Nearly 200 CPS students from 90 schools showed their talents in a virtual production of the All City Performing Arts Winter Showcase. 

CBS: Chicago Public Schools Performing Arts Winter Showcase 
CBS | Staff Report, December 20, 2020 
Check them out—200 students virtually took part in the All City Performing Arts Winter Showcase. Musicians and dancers showed off their hard work through the school year. 

WGN: CPS Students Perform in Virtual Winter Showcase 
WGN | Staff Report, December 20, 2020 
Nearly 200 CPS students from 90 schools took part in the All City Annual Performing Arts Winter Showcase. 

ABC: CPS Students Participate in 57 Annual All-City Winter Showcase
ABC | Staff Report, December 20, 2020 
Chicago Public School students showcased their talent at the 57th annual All City Performing Arts Winter Showcase.

Telemundo: Virtual Student Concert 
Telemundo | Carolina Cruz,  December 19, 2020
Students from more than 90 Chicago Public Schools demonstrated their talents in a virtual production of performing arts. There were groups of percussion, jazz, and mariachi; there was also dance, choir, theatre, and more. This annual winter performing arts exhibition recognizes the hard work of students in the arts and provides a great platform for creative expression.

If you have questions about the All-City Program, please contact the CPS Department of Arts Education by emailing allcityarts@cps.edu or calling (773) 553-2170.