The Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ Bond-themed 70th Anniversary

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There are few characters in cinema more iconic than the illustrious James Bond, and much credit for the longevity of the Bond franchise rightly belongs to the composers who crafted film scores that have earned recognition at the Academy Awards, Grammys, and on the Billboard charts. It is the popularity and acclaim for the films’ music that made the Bond theme a spectacular choice for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ 70th-anniversary celebration. Aptly named the “0070th,” this year’s black-tie event broke records, raising more than $365,000 to further the organization’s music programs.

On Saturday, February 11, lining the Grand Staircase of the Four Seasons in Chicago, CYSO Preparatory Strings students filled a cocktail hour with familiar medleys from the spy films. As the guests dined on hors d’ oeuvres and bid in the mini-live auction, we also enjoyed a serenade by the older students of the CYSO Steel Orchestra. And at 7:00 PM the Grand Ballroom boomed with the rich sounds of CYSO’s 120-member Symphony Orchestra playing the James Bond theme. I think at that moment I could have been a Bond girl.

Globally-renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine joined the symphony orchestra to perform some Bond favorites. Playing the electric violin, her finale received a standing ovation from the audience. For her work with the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation, she was also recognized with a Note of Excellence Award, along with Jennifer Myerberg, a supporter of the steel orchestras program.

Pam and Dave Conroy, Rachel Lang, and Allen Tinkham co-chaired the event, and Richard Roeper served as emcee. Proceeds from the gala will fund music education programs for more than 2,500 students.

About Irene Michaels

Over the past 25 years I have taken on the roles of a producer, publisher, insider journalist and fundraiser. My artistic interests began early in my teens working as a model and a dancer throughout the U.S. I formed my first modeling agency before I was twenty. While modeling I secured a re-occurring role in the popular daytime TV series General Hospital. Read more...