The Chicago Public Library, especially Harold Washington Library’s 8th floor music collection, is an invaluable resource. You can photocopy the pages you need there. Hard-to-find sheet music can be sourced via Inter-library loan. Ask a librarian to help.
You can purchase sheet music in person at Coulson’s (312) 461-1989. 900 N Michigan Ave.
Classical songs in the public domain can be found at the International Music Score Library Project. http://imslp.org. You can find some free scores and lead sheets (melody line and chords) at musescore.com. Many songs can be easily transposed to a different key. Sheet music online for purchase is available from SheetMusicDirect.US, SheetMusicPlus.com or MusicNotes.com.
Try to find either the original score or the simplest arrangements possible. For cabaret and jazz standards, a lead sheet with the melody and chords is sufficient for pianists. Less ideal is sheet music in non-standard arrangements for specific artists.
Print first to a PDF. This way you can print a copy anytime and share the music with your accompanist.
If you are not sure of your key, print, but do not confirm that the printing was successful until you have tried the song. You can usually change the key, if necessary, at no additional cost.
The mobile app iRealPro has 1300 jazz standards and is inexpensive. The app provides a chart of chord changes only. However, if you and your pianist already know the tune, it is handy for instantly transposing and for having the chorus of the song all on one page.
Members of Chicago Cabaret Professionals share music via the website chicagocabaret.org. Membership in CCP is required. Join online for a modest $35 per year at chicagocabaret.org.
On the CCP website, you can send a message seeking Arrangers and Transcribers. When working with the arranger, be sure to specify whether you want a lead sheet with melody line, lyrics, and chords or a complete piano/vocal score.
Each SongShop participant is encouraged to sing two songs at the annual concert gala. The Salon Series are house concerts featuring four to six singers, each performing a 12-to-15 minute set of songs. SongShop Garden concerts became quite popular during the pandemic.
Singers are expected to attend at least six SongShop sessions in the months preceding the concert, and to invite at least ten people to attend the concert.
We are not a producing organization per se. We can provide feedback and coaching, suggestions for repertoire and collaborators. We assist with graphic design, and promotion of your individual or small ensemble show to the SongShop Live audience.
There is also a monthly Liederstube for art song singers. We can suggest other opportunities to perform. Lots of time onstage further syour craft and confidence.