year in review
Hermine Gagné, Joyce Noh, Daniel Katz and Weijing Wang participate in
a youth choir concert at Third Baptist Church led by Brad Opland
ince its launch, the Citizen
Musician Initiative has created
opportunities for musicians of
the Orchestra to design and implement
their own programming that responds
to a need, creates community and
makes new friends of the Orchestra.
In total, ten CSO musicians have led
projects thus far that have engaged
people in hospitals, churches,
elementary schools, high schools,
universities, retirement communities
and orphanages.
There were many highlights of
this work in the 2012/13 season. The
Civitas Ensemble
—composed of CSO
members Yuan-Qing Yu, violin;
J. Lawrie Bloom, clarinet; Ken Olsen,
cello; and Winston Choi, piano—
offered four performances at the
Anne and Robert H. Lurie Children’s
Hospital of Chicago for audiences of
young patients and their families. Led
by Yuan-Qing and fueled by the belief
that music has the ability to heal, the
group works to share chamber music
performed at the highest possible level
with diverse audiences. In May of 2013,
Yo-Yo Ma joined the ensemble at the
hospital for its final performance of the
On Sunday, July 14, CSO bassist
Brad Opland led the culminating event
for his project, a youth choir concert
titled “It’s Turning Around for Me”
at Third Baptist Church on Chicago’s
South Side. Under the direction of
Samuel Williams, Jr., youth choir
director at St. Sabina Church, the choir
of fifty youth met regularly at Third
Baptist to work alongside professional
musicians from the area. To help the
young people learn the music and to
raise visibility of the work, Brad created
a new website,, which
included links to song lyrics and sample
YouTube videos of each piece.
CSO members Susanna Gaunt,
Dan Gingrich and Mary Gingrich,
horns, and Matthew Gaunt, tuba,
formed the
Mirror Quartet
, a brass
ensemble that offered three interactive
concerts for kindergarten through 3rd
grade students in Chicago’s Oak Park
and Austin neighborhoods. With the
ultimate goal of making classical music
a familiar and inspiring facet of the
youths’ education, the quartet created
their own arrangements and scripts that
cater to the specific learning styles of a
younger audience. They later adapted
the performance for a senior audience
and presented it at a retirement
community in a suburb of Chicago.
Responding to need, creating
community and making new
friends of the Orchestra
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