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Neighbors of Kane County

Outpouring of Community Support Secures ESO Season Finale Bernstein & Mahler Concerts May 5 & 6

Apr 04, 2018 12:00PM

An outpouring of community support through donations, both large and small, has made certain that Elgin Symphony Orchestra - Elgin, ILconcerts Saturday, May 5, 7:30 pm and Sunday May 6, 2:30 pm will be presented as scheduled. 

The 2017-18 season finale concerts, led by Music Director Andrew Grams, feature the ESO premiere of the great American composer Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Suite as part of a world-wide celebration of the composer’s 100th birthday. The ESO and Gail Borden Public Library will host a free Bernstein Birthday Bash on Tuesday, May 1, 6:00 pm at the Library that includes an introduction by Andrew Grams, birthday cake and a screening of West Side Story. Bernstein composed the music for this iconic film. The season finale concert program also features Gustav Mahler’s passionate Symphony No. 5.  The composer wrote the piece after a close brush with death, and it holds a dazzling array of emotions.  Music Historian Jim Kendros will lead free Listeners Clubs discussions about the upcoming concerts on Wednesday, May 2 at 10:30 am at GreenFields of Geneva, and 1:00 pm at the Gail Borden Public Library. The public is also invited to a free open ESO dress rehearsal on Friday, May 4 at 7:15 pm, Hemmens Cultural Center.  Reservations are required for the open dress rehearsal at ElginSymphony.Org. Concert sponsors are Presence Saint Joseph Hospital, Elgin Symphony League, Candace McCreary and Jodie & Rob Stackowiak. Music Director Andrew Grams will give a free pre-concert chat one hour before the performances. Saturday night patrons are invited to Mingle with the Musicians after the show at Bennigan’s Elgin at the Holiday Inn, IL31 and I-90. Concert tickets start at only $30. Student tickets are $12. There is valet service or free parking. For more information, visit ElginSymphony.Org.

While the final 2017-18 concerts are secure, an aggressive capital campaign is taking place to help fund the 2018-19 Season and raise funds for an endowment. For generations, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra has been a committed community partner leaving an indelible mark on the western suburbs. Like almost every US orchestra, the ESO has struggled with finances over the years. Production costs are high. Ticket sales never cover the entire cost, and in fact are responsible for only 35% of the budget. The remaining 65% must come from donors, businesses, corporations and municipal bodies. Donations can be made on the website at ElginSymphony.Org, by calling 847.888.0404, by visiting the office at 20 DuPage Court, or by mailing a check to that address. Monthly giving programs are available. IRA distributions, corporate matching, gifts of appreciated stocks and securities can be arranged by calling Niesa Patton, Director of Development, at 847.888.0404. Contributions to the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, a 501(c)(3) organization, are tax deductible to the fullest extend of the law. The ESO is exploring other fundraising avenues from a variety of sources.

What the ESO brings to the Fox Valley area is irreplaceable. It would take many years to replicate what has been created through the blood, sweat and tears of the individuals who built the institution.  The Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) is one of the oldest and largest professional orchestras in the state of Illinois, winning Orchestra of the Year from the Illinois Council of Orchestras a record-setting four times. ESO Music Director Andrew Grams is a superstar conductor with an international reputation, and he has taken the orchestral playing of the musicians to new heights. Concertgoers leave a performance “high” from the intense musical experience, raving about the Orchestra, and feeling fortunate to have such a quality artistic resource in their own backyard.  

The organization engages the entire Fox Valley with programs that touch and support all members of the community, not just those in the concert hall.  Here are some of the ways the ESO is making a difference:

  • ESO concerts bring thousands of people to the area, helping enhance Elgin’s reputation as a cultural destination. These visitors spend money at restuarants, bars and other buinessness. Since 2012, the ESO has hosted Mingle with the Musicians after Saturday concerts at local restaurants.
  • The Elgin Symphony Orchestra is the largest music educator in this area because of its many years providing annual youth concerts. Hundreds of thousands of elementary and middle school children have been introduced to classical music, and the basics of music in general, through Ainsworth Concerts for Youth field trips. 
  • The ESO has a successful, long-term partnership with Advocate Sherman and Good Shepherd Hospitals, providing ESO musician performances for patients, family & staff. This program is well-received and highly-valued for its ability to provide solace and healing to those involved.
  • The ESO is commited to presenting free open rehearsals, including two (2) the 2017-18 season.
  • ESO traveling ensembles appear at schools and in communities throughout the region.
  • Free, open-to-the-public masterclasses are offered in partnership with the Gail Borden Public Library. Young area student musicians work with leading performers in their field.
  • ESO Music Director Andrew Grams presents orchestra clinics at area high schools.
  • The ESO participates in U-46 Alignment Collaborative for Education Career Day at Elgin Community College  
  • The ESO provides performance opportunities for students and adults in the lobby before ESO concerts.
  • The ESO creates programs and events through Gail Borden Public Library partnerships, including free pop-up concerts, movie screenings and Family Concerts.
  • Music Historian Jim Kendros gives free ESO Listeners Club talks in Geneva and Elgin.
  • Music Director Andrew Grams gives free Pre-Concert Chats before most concerts. 
  • ESO concerts are regularly broadcast on WFMT 98.7, Chicago Classical Radio.
  • The ESO presents a radio show on WHLU-LP (Huntley Radio).
  • The ESO provides business community support through ESO Business Networking Nights and area Chambers of Commerce involvement. 
  • The ESO offers social service organization support to Food for Greater Elgin, Rotary International, the VFW Poppy Campaign and Toys for Tots.
  • The ESO gives free tickets to underserved populations providing access to the arts for all. 
  • The ESO cross-promotes and markets with other, smaller local arts organizations and businesses, providing them wider visibility to a large audience.
Now in its 67th season, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) offers programming unmatched for an entertaining, informative and relaxing cultural experience. The ESO has won Illinois Professional Orchestra of the Year a record-setting four times - in 1988, 1999, 2005 and 2016 - and strives to create an enjoyable entertainment experience that goes beyond the magnificent music performed by some of the best musicians in the Midwest. The Elgin Symphony Orchestra is a world-class orchestra providing quality musical explorations that are entertaining, hassle-free and conveniently located close to home in the western suburbs. Get to Know YOUR ESO!