2021 Student Award Winners

Each year, CYSO presents awards to students who have distinguished themselves throughout the season and during their time in our ensembles. Chosen by our artistic and administrative staff, here are our 2021 student award winners:


The Mollendorf Award is given to a graduating CYSO senior to support further musical study. It is given through an endowment fund by the late Jean Mollendorf, Founder and Past President of the CYSO Board of Directors. 


Sam Calhoon has been a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras for six years, and currently plays with Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Orchestra. Sam is a senior at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, where he is an active member of the school’s orchestras, symphonic bands, jazz bands, jazz combos, and marching band. In the fall, Sam will be continuing his studies in music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.



The Albert Pick III Award is given to a well-rounded individual to be used to keep music as a creative and joyful part of the recipient’s life. This award is inspired by the memory of Albert Pick III for his love of the students of CYSO and passionate commitment of service to his community.


Dhivya Chari, a junior at Waubonsie Valley High School, started playing violin at age five and has been a member of CYSO for eight years. She currently learns from Drew Lecher and is concertmaster of her school’s varsity orchestra. She also learns classical Indian Carnatic music from world-renowned violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan and has performed and won several competitions locally. In addition to music, Dhivya is on the executive board of her school’s chapter of Business Professionals of America and a member of Youth and Government.


Bryce Kayser is a senior at Oak Park River Forest High School. Since 2014, he’s studied with Michael Hining and performed with Windy City String Ensemble. Bryce has been a member of CYSO for four years, in Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017 and as a member of Symphony Orchestra since 2018. Bryce served as principal viola for ILMEA All-State in 2019 and Oak Park River Forest High School Symphony Orchestra in 2020-2021. He was also the winner of the OPRF High School concerto competition earlier this year. This fall, Bryce will study music education and viola performance with Erica Ekert at the University of Colorado.

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