CYSO 70th Anniversary Celebration Breaks Previous Fundraising Records

The CYSO 70th Anniversary Celebration took place Saturday, February 11, 2017 at the Four Seasons Chicago. A glamorous celebration of the music of James Bond, the event was dubbed “0070th.” As CYSO’s largest fundraising event of the year, the gala broke previous records, raising $365,000 for our music training and education programs.

Highlights of the evening included internationally-acclaimed violinist Rachel Barton Pine, who joined Symphony Orchestra—under the baton of Music Director Allen Tinkham—as guest artist to perform well-known songs from the James Bond films. The evening also featured the presentation of the 2017 “Note of Excellence” award to Rachel Barton Pine and philanthropist Jennifer Myerberg.
The evening began as guests were greeted by Preparatory Strings students performing James Bond tunes as they ascended the Four Season’s Grand Staircase. Attendees walked the red carpet to enter the spy-themed event, proceeding to the cocktail hour where they bid on the mini-live auction while enjoying music from Steel Orchestra players.

As the cocktail hour concluded, the doors to the Grand Ballroom opened and guests were greeted by the sounds of the James Bond theme performed by CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra. The 120-member ensemble was an impressive sight on a room-spanning stage under a giant “0070th.”

The evening’s formal program with a welcome from emcee Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times film critic and co-host of Fox 32’s “Good Day Chicago.” CYSO Board Chair Hank Turner formally introduced incoming Executive Director Susan Lape, who made brief remarks about her excitement in joining the organization.
“Certainly in my own life, music is where I found myself,” Lape said. “And I am so excited to be joining CYSO to be part of the work shaping these young musicians and preparing them to be citizens in an increasingly complex world.”

The event’s co-chairs presented the CYSO Note of Excellence Awards, given annually for exemplary support of CYSO’s mission and youth music education in the Chicago region. Violinist Rachel Barton Pine was recognized by Pam & Dave Conroy for her work with the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation. Jennifer Myerberg, philanthropist and CYSO trustee, was recognized by Allen Tinkham & Rachel Lang for her ongoing support of CYSO’s steel orchestras program.

“I was honored to receive the CYSO Note of Excellence Award at this year’s CYSO 70th Anniversary Celebration!” said Barton Pine. “Soloing with the talented students of CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra was inspiring to me and I was proud to be a part of the event supporting CYSO’s important mission.”
In the centerpiece of the evening’s entertainment, Rachel Barton Pine returned to the stage to join CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra in a performance of hits from James Bond films, including “Skyfall,” Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre, and “Live and Let Die.” Playing her electric violin, Pine’s performance reverberated through the ballroom and elicited a standing ovation from attendees.

 Proceeds raised through the evening’s event help fund CYSO’s music training and education programs, which benefit more than 2,500 students each year.
See full photo gallery. More information on the event at

The CYSO 70th Anniversary Celebration was co-chaired by Pam & Dave Conroy, and Rachel Lang and Allen Tinkham. Major sponsors include First Hospitality Group, Jenner & Block LLP and Ross Bricker & Nina Vinik, Alyson & Pat Nash, Alliant Mesirow Insurance Services, Doug & Sharon Carroll, Chapman and Cutler LLP, Kabouter Management LLC, KPMG, Janie Song & David H. Song, MD, and Winston & Strawn LLP. Major event partners included Blackbird, CS Modern Luxury, Epoch Floral, Lalique, MarCon Communications, Skylark and Souther Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.

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