Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras Serenade a Night To Remember
Patrons of the arts flocked to the Grand Ballroom of the Four Seasons Chicago to support the beautiful sounds of Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) at the organization’s annual gala event.
As one of the nation’s premier youth orchestra and ensemble training programs, CYSO’s musicians enchanted audiences with a night of inspiring young talent, featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein’s classic, West Side Story.
The elegant black tie event began as guests ascended the grand staircase to impressive performances by Prepatory Strings musicians ages 7-9, followed by a glamorous red-carpet experience, cocktail reception, and live auction serenaded by the sensational CYSO Steel Orchestra Students.
A special VIP reception, attended by Jamie Bernstein, broadcaster, author and eldest daughter of Leonard Bernstein, was accompanied by the talented CYSO Jazz Orchestra Trio, prior to the event’s main act – an elegant dinner reception with CYSO’s renowned 125-member Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra, made up of high school-age performers from across the Chicago region, mesmerized guests with a performance of three sets including popular West Side Story classics such as the Overture, “Somewhere,” “Mambo,” “Cha Cha,” “Cool,” and “Rumble” conducted by CYSO Music Director Allen Tinkham.
Lourdes Duarte, WGN-TV anchor, and investigative reporter shined as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies introducing distinguished guests, sponsors, and organizers who made the evening possible. Event chairs Saurab and Anjani Bhargava welcomed guests with a moving speech, and Jamie Bernstein was presented with The Note of Excellence Award for her father’s work.
A lively auction offered several packages including a London and Cornish Coast trip, a private seaside cottage in Frances’ Charente-Maritime region, a Mexico City getaway, and a “Bernstein’s New York” experience. Other auction items included an EL Ideas Chef-for-a-Day and the opportunity to conduct the orchestra at the 2019 CYSO gala. The live auction brought in nearly $121,000 to support CYSO’s financial assistance program which will help keep program tuition affordable for all families.
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras has provided music education of the highest caliber through orchestral programs and performance opportunities since 1946. CYSO musicians learn from Chicago’s most respected musicians and have the opportunity to tour the world performing in the greatest international concert halls while gaining the discipline and self-confidence necessary for future success. Through their Community Engagement and Ambassador Programs, CYSO supports instrumental music training and music access for young people across the city of Chicago, including students in underserved neighborhoods.
The night was a huge success for the city’s top young musical talent, whose impeccable and moving performances, along with the efforts of the CYSO organization and gala patrons, broke previous CYSO fundraising records bringing in over $425,000 for the organization. Gala proceeds with benefit nearly 10,000 young people in the Chicago region who are in CYSO music training, education, and community engagement programs.
Congratulations to CYSO on your monumental success. Thank you for sharing the brilliant musicians of tomorrow.