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Chicagoland Youth Orchestra Performs at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Sterling Brass Quintet (Patron Stu Ainsworth) from left to right: Derek Detzler of Aurora (trumpet), Selena Greising of Aurora (horn), Tom Dieter of St. Charles (tuba), Steven Franklin of Wheaton (trumpet), and Carter Taylor of Aurora (trombone).

Sterling Brass Quintet (Patron Stu Ainsworth) from left to right: Derek Detzler of Aurora (trumpet), Selena Greising of Aurora (horn), Tom Dieter of St. Charles (tuba), Steven Franklin of Wheaton (trumpet), and Carter Taylor of Aurora (trombone).

Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra (EYSO) members are no stranger to unique performance opportunities. The local youth orchestra and honors chamber groups perform in venues with world class musicians throughout Illinois every year experiencing many once in a lifetime opportunities.

The most recent example of this – the three honors chamber music groups gave a pre-concert performance for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which came about as a part of the EYSO's recent Civil War Tour. The tour was part of this season's theme Arts & Minds where students explored the relationship between music and history during a ten day tour of significant Civil War sites.

Attendance at the ASO March 24th concert was part of the tour itinerary and Amy Pirtle (Tour Chairperson) was working with ASO Group and Corporate Sales Assistant Ted Caldwell to coordinate the activity. During an email conversation, Amy casually asked if there was a chance for the EYSO honors chamber groups to play pre-concert.

Ted responded with enthusiasm and in no time had approval from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra organization. The only thing left to do was get ready – the opportunity presented itself on March 20th leaving only four days to make arrangements. Ultimately, the hard work of the past year paid off and all three groups performed beautifully.

"I was overcome with pride watching these kids perform at Symphony Hall. First of all, they looked and sounded completely like professional players, playing very difficult repertoire with real style and confidence. But to see all these seasoned Atlanta concertgoers, hundreds of them, moving in closer to hear them, and wildly applauding them after each piece–it was really thrilling for everyone, especially their EYSO buddies, looking on proudly," said Randal Swiggum, EYSO Artistic Director and Youth Symphony Conductor.

The students had a great time too. Playing before professional orchestra concertgoers attending a Saturday evening concert while being supported by their fellow orchestra members in the audience, the students took away memories of a lifetime.

“The opportunity to perform at an Atlanta Symphony concert was a great experience for me. Not only was it special getting to play pre-concert music before a world-renowned orchestra concert but playing for a well-cultured and receptive audience was a delight.” – Steven Franklin, trumpet (SBQ)

“What I remember most vividly is the sound that the marble floors created. Our music wrapped around us so completely that I felt to literally be a part of the music.” – Chloe Holzman, violin (HSQ)

“I enjoyed playing before the ASO concert because it gave me an opportunity to share the beauty created by our hard work with people who love to hear quality music (as evidenced by the fact that they were on their way to an ASO concert).” – Calvin Kuntz, violin (HSQ)

“Performing before the ASO Concert was great. It was amazing to be able to perform for people who were there to see professionals; in essence, we were "opening" for a professional Symphony Orchestra. It was a real honor.” – Annika Sundberg, viola (HSQ)

Participants of the EYSO honors chamber groups are selected through auditions open exclusively to the members of the advanced “Youth Symphony” orchestra. The talented students selected for the honors chamber groups during the EYSO 2011-12 season are as follows:


*** Chloe Holzman (violin), Inverness, IL
*** Calvin Kuntz (violin), West Chicago, IL
*** Annika Sundberg (viola), Lake Zurich, IL
*** M. Patrick Yasutake (cello)*, Glen Ellyn, IL [* Patrick was unable to tour. Christopher Mendez of Algonquin performed with the Hanson String Quartet in Atlanta.]


*** Patrick Connolly (violin) = Schaumburg, IL
*** Katie Gallagher (violin) = Naperville, IL
*** Bradi Pirtle (viola) = Lombard, IL
*** Christopher Mendez (cello) = Algonquin, IL


*** Steven Franklin (trumpet) = Wheaton, IL
*** Mason Grainger (trumpet)** = Naperville, IL [** Mason was unable to tour. Derek Detzler of Aurora performed with the Sterling Brass Quintet in Atlanta.]
*** Selena Greising (horn) = Aurora, IL
*** Carter Taylor (trombone) = Aurora, IL
*** Tom Dieter (tuba) = St. Charles, IL

All three EYSO honors chamber groups will have featured performances at the upcoming Move concerts on May 6th at the Blizzard Theatre, Elgin Community College.

EYSO 2012-13 Season Auditions
Auditions will be held from May 30th to June 3rd, 2012. Students who will begin 4th grade in the fall to college students may audition for a seat in one of the six ensembles. Applications and audition requirements may be found at, or by calling the EYSO office at (847) 841-7700.

Auditions for the EYSO Honors Chamber Groups
Auditions for the Maud Powell String Quartet, Sterling Brass Quintet, and Hanson String Quartet are open to brass and string players who will participate in next season's Youth Symphony. Candidates new to the EYSO must first audition for the Youth Symphony during the May 30-June 3 auditions – more information and the audition form is available at

EYSO is more than great concerts. It’s a life-changing opportunity.

About Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra
The Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra (EYSO), an In-Residence Ensemble in the Arts Center at Elgin Community College, is home to five orchestras and a brass choir with more than 300 students from over 60 communities. Founded in 1976, the mission of the EYSO is to create a community of young musicians, enriching their lives and the lives of their families, schools, communities and beyond, through the study and performance of excellent music. This program is partially supported by grants from the EFS Foundation, the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission, the Illinois Arts Council (a state agency), and the Palmer Foundation. The 2011-12 EYSO season sponsor is USPlate Glass Insurance Company.

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