Fall Concerts Wrap-Up

CYSO students shined as always in a full line-up of impressive fall concerts. From contemporary hits to classical masterpieces, students showed their skill on a range of pieces performed for adoring audiences over the past few months.

Our first concert of the season was CORE chamber orchestra’s performance on October 21. Students presented a wonderful rendition of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C major to a crowd of parents and supporters in Roosevelt University’s beautiful Ganz Hall.

Accelerando Strings students on stage during soundcheck at Logan Center

Next up, Accelerando Strings and Philharmonic Orchestra performed on October 21 at Logan Center for the Arts in Hyde Park. Accelerando Strings families enjoyed works by Bach and Schubert, alongside a contemporary piece by Liam Ramsey-White and the finale from Romantic composer Emilie Mayer’s Symphony no. 2.

Philharmonic Orchestra tuba players Pierre Ngoy and Brie Booher show off their matching ties

Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert marked the CYSO debut of conductor Dr. Kenny Lee, and the ensemble played works by two living composers—Carlos Simon and Dai Wei—as well as a triumphant performance of Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Symphony Orchestra geared up for their fall Orchestra Hall concert with a free run-out Community Concert at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park. We love playing for the enthusiastic audience that always comes out when we visit the south suburbs. Fun fact—Executive Director Jennie Oh Brown attended Sandburg and the school’s orchestra director Linda Nussbaum is a CYSO alum!

Jazz Orchestra took the stage on November 14 at a new venue for CYSO—Rhapsody Theater in Rogers Park. The charming, intimate space was a great fit for the ensemble’s glittering performance, and we look forward to returning to that stage again in the future.

Jazz orchestra on stage during soundcheck with Pharez Whitted in front
Jazz students during their concert soundcheck at Rhapsody Theater

Symphony Orchestra’s November 19 performance at Orchestra Hall was a diverse evening of works, from a sparkling Chicago premiere from Augusta Read Thomas to ethereal Debussy, and finally a thundering performance of Mahler’s Symphony no. 5. CYSO also accepted awards from the Illinois Council of Orchestras and presented our 2023 Alumni Award. Read more about the evening here.

Our Pick-Staiger concert day is always a fun one, and our ensembles didn’t disappoint on December 3. First up was Overture Strings, Preparatory Strings, and Debut Orchestra, who brought charm and energy to their performance. Student performed works ranging from medieval dance tunes (Overture Strings) to Peruvian dance tunes (Preparatory Strings) to overtures and waltzes (Debut Orchestra).

Later that evening, Concert Orchestra and Jazz Orchestra took the stage in Evanston. Concert Orchestra performed works from Avril Coleridge-Taylor, Leo Delibes, and Vasily Kalinnikov, and Jazz Orchestra brought their usual diverse array of tunes from classic big band to contemporary experiments to the stage.

Collage of two photos from backstage at Overture Strings, Preparatory Strings, and Debut Orchestra concert. First shows three students on the floor gathered around a chess board. Second shows three students working on CYSO color pages.
Backstage at the Overture Strings, Preparatory Strings, and Debut Orchestra concert, students stayed occupied with games and coloring pages

Our Steel Orchestras ensembles presented their fall performance on December 9 in Curtiss Hall. A packed audience enjoyed the range of performances from young Jumbies all the way up to high school-level Kaiso players. Students played works Haitian composer Michael Mauleart Monton, the familiar Carribbean tune Day-O, the Miley Cyrus hit Flowers, and Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke.

Finally, our fall performances will wrap-up this weekend with our festival of chamber music, Chamberpalooza this Sunday, December 17. CYSO Chamber Music ensembles will perform in room 833 and Curtiss Hall at the Fine Arts Building from 6-8 pm. We hope you’ll join us for this free event!

Congratulations to all our students on a wonderful fall concert cycle! And thank you as well to all the parents, families, and friends who supported our young musicians each week and at our performances. We can’t wait to do it all over again in the spring!

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