CYSO Stories: Fred McClure

Fred McClure was eager to finally choose an instrument when he entered the 5th grade. After watching his school band for a few years, he initially tried brass and wind instruments, but they just didn’t feel right. But when he picked up his first pair of drumsticks, they seemed to fit into his hands perfectly. Now a junior at Carl Sandburg High School and percussionist in CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, and Kaiso Steel Orchestra, Fred hasn’t looked back.
CYSO Stories: Fred McClureFred performing at Orchestra Hall in November 2015
As a member of CYSO for the past three years, Fred says that the experiences in the orchestra have helped him grow as a musician. “My confidence has risen immensely,” he said. “I feel like I have learned lessons that will be very important for any obstacles I may face in a music career and in any part of life.”
As a CYSO Music Ambassador, Fred performs at Chicago Public Schools locations that lack music programming, acting as a mentor to students who aren’t exposed to opportunities for music-making. “Seeing very young children interested in percussion is always great. And it’s a fun challenge figuring out ways for little kids to understand basic concepts of music.”
CYSO Stories: Fred McClureFred enjoys downtime between Symphony Orchestra performances at CYSO’s gala
Fred is dedicated to practicing and constantly improving his musical skills, participating in multiple ensembles to stretch both his percussion skills and teamwork abilities. Not only does he play percussion every day in his school ensembles and practice weekly with Symphony Orchestra, Fred also participates in the Percussion Ensemble as part of CYSO’s chamber music program. “I have played in a good amount of ensembles, but I have never been more proud of an ensemble as much as our group of five at CYSO,” he said.
Fred, far left, performs with CYSO’s Kaiso Steel Orchestra, December 2015
All that hard work has proved rewarding. In five years, Fred sees himself continuing his commitment to percussion. He hopes to be an orchestra member or work in a recording studio professionally some day. It’s clear that Fred’s dedication and commitment will continue to serve him well, wherever percussion—and life—take him.

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