The Chicago Symphony Musicians Will Present a Benefit Concert June 13th for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Conducted by Music Director Riccardo Muti.
The Musicians of the Chicago Symphony will present a benefit concert for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, GCFD, on Monday, June 13th at 8:00PM at the Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Our musicians have always been involved in the community through chamber, educational, and community concerts. This concert, undertaken as an orchestra and conducted by our Music Director Riccardo Muti, will be the first time such a collective effort has been made. Collaborating with the Food Depository, our musicians can offer support in direct ways, by raising funds. This concert will bring attention to two of the most difficult problems our society faces: hunger and malnutrition. The concert is entirely produced by the musicians. All of the proceeds will be donated to the GCFD.
All participants: musicians, stage hands, ushers, will be donating their services for this concert. CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti will also be donating his services. He shares the musicians’ commitment to help those in need, saying "I am very happy to be conducting the first concert of the Chicago Symphony Musicians to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository, whose effort to end hunger is so important to our City. As musicians, we strive to provide cultural nourishment and so this joint effort is a reflection of our collective desire to feed the body and soul."
The Studebaker Theater is just two blocks south of Orchestra Hall, within the Fine Arts Building. This location was chosen because of its easy access for audience members, and its 720 seats will give listeners an opportunity to see and hear us in a more intimate setting. The program will begin with the William Tell Overture by Rossini, followed by the Mozart Clarinet Concerto featuring Steve Williamson, soloist, and conclude with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. By offering the use of this venerable hall, The Fine Arts Building has joined with the musicians to support the GCFD. We also thank the Chicago Federation of Musicians for their support and encouragement.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository began its work in 1979 . They support directly, or through over 650 partner organizations, one of every six Cook County residents. Currently they provide approximately 165,000 meals each day, and the proceeds from this concert will help to support this vital mission. We are proud to offer our support!
Tickets for this benefit concert are available through the Studebaker Box Office http://www.studebakertheater.com/tickets/box-office/
Greater Chicago Food Depository Vice President of Fund Development
Jill Zimmerman walks with Riccardo Muti and Steve Lester.
photo by Todd Rosenberg
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Music Director Riccardo Muti with Greater Chicago Food Depository Vice President of Fund Development Jill Zimmerman, Principal Bass Alex Hanna, Assistant Principal Oboe Michael Henoch, Violinist Susan Synnestvedt,
and Bassists Steven Lester and Rob Kassinger.
photo by Todd Rosenberg
Many people speak about the healing power of music, and I was lucky enough to be able to experience the truth of the idea. In the summer of 2013, I traveled with my now-wife then co-dreamer Lauren to the Middle East to bring music to refugees. We called our project Music Heals Us and raised over $7,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to fulfill our mission statement: we have a moral obligation to provide a voice for the unheard children. We present our expression through our music as an example to them. And through our interactions, we establish relationships to show that community extends beyond racial, cultural, and geographic barriers.
We spent seven weeks traveling to different cities throughout Jordan and the West Bank. Our first workshop took place at a summer camp for Palestinian refugee children located in the Old City of Jerusalem. Our workshops consisted of three main parts: introductions, group building musical activities, and a performance at the end. It really amazed me how much vitality these children had. They ranged in age from 8 to 16 years old, but they all seemed uninhibited in their expression and happy to be inclusive of one another and of us. That day happened to be my birthday and after Lauren informed them, they treated ME to some beautiful birthday music. I thought we were bringing music and joy to them but they definitely brought some to us as well.
We did a workshop in Bethlehem in conjunction with a NGO called Shoruq. I still get excited thinking about that group of young people and the creativity and spontaneity of their musical expression. We split them into groups and gave them 10 minutes to compose rhythmic patterns which they would then perform. The kiddos were very cute with the basic rhythmic patterns we taught them. The teenagers came up with a musical performance that STOMP would be proud of, with complexity of rhythms, call-and-response, and hocket. If more people would pour their creativity into music like these kids and less into more violent endeavors, what a different world it would be.
One of my favorite workshops was a week-long camp we hosted in Mafraq, Jordan. The city took on (and is still taking on) a multitude of Syrian refugees and many of the children cannot possibly comprehend the situation. So we gave them a place to build community, and to learn about and experience the transformative power of music. Every day we had a different instrument for them to learn about, different ways to be reflective on what we are thankful for, and musical performances. Our hope is that we were able to impress on them how to constructively channel our energies into the creative endeavors of music, learn about our culture, and remember that the community of humanity can only be held together through a common language of music.
To learn more about our project, visit our blog at Music Heals Us.