On Saturday, February 7, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) presented its annual gala, “The Noteworthy Night: An Evening with The Second City” at Chicago’s Four Seasons Hotel. T.J. Shanoff, writer/ director/musical director for The Second City emceed the formal affair co-chaired by Jim and Ginger Meyer of Chicago. The evening was attended by a capacity crowd of 300 and raised more than $260,000 for CYSO’s music training and education programs.

Highlights of the evening included the separate and collaborative performances by the CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra led by CYSO music director Allen Tinkham and members of The Second City including Brad Einstein, Nicole C. Hastings Travis. The evening also featured the presentation of 2015 “Note of Excellence” awards to Northern Trust (Champion for Youth & Music Award) and Jim and Ginger Meyer (Leadership & Service Award.)

Festivities began at 6 p.m. as guests in dress attire walked the red carpet into the reception, where they had the opportunity to meet the “Note of Excellence” awardees while dining on hors d ‘oeuvres, enjoying music by CYSO’s Preparatory Strings and new Steel Orchestra ensembles and bidding on an extensive selection of more than 150 silent auction items ranging from exclusive private music lessons from members of the CSO, to box seats at Wrigley Field to handcrafted items and more.

At 7:30 p.m. guests were treated to pre-dinner performance of the overture to Dmitri Kabalevsky’s “Colas Breugnon, op 24” and a selection from Gioachino Rossini’s William Tell Overature, followed by a welcome by emcee T.J. Shanoff and the chance to compete in The Dash Game, an interactive fundraising activity conducted by Chris Liby of Sayre & Jones Auctioneers, that had guests dashing up to the boards to place their bidder number next to a donation amount.

For dinner, guests dined on a delicious comedy themed three-course meal featuring “The Three Stooges” salad of golden and purple beets, goat cheese, petite greens with horseradish vinaigrette and their choice of a “Second City” entrée of roasted beef tenderloin with red wine shallot sauce or roasted salmon with cider thyme essence, plus sides of macaroni gratin and maple glazed brussel sprouts. Dessert choices of “Lucille Ball” or “Chocolate Chaplin” completed the gourmet menu.

After dinner, guests were treated to an orchestra skit by The Second City performed to CYSO’s rendition of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5, op 76, IV. Allegro (selection) and CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Jacques Offenbach’s Infernal Galop from Orphee aux Enfers.

CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra has earned its reputation as a premier orchestral ensemble featuring extraordinary young musicians from the Chicago area. Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) has provided music education through orchestral programs and performance opportunities of the highest caliber since 1946. The organization currently serves 500 Chicago area musicians ages 6-18 through three full orchestras, three string orchestras, multiple steel orchestras and supplemental programs that include chamber music ensembles, music theory and composition. It also reaches the diverse population of Chicago Public School students, educators and community members each year through its Music Pathways program. 
(L-R): Allen Tinkham, Music Director at CYSO; Chas Davis, Program Officer at Northern Trust; Deborah Liverett, Senior Vice President and Director of Community Affairs at Northern Trust; Joshua Simonds Executive Director at CYSO (photo courtesy of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras).

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras Raises $260K in 2015 Gala