Jamey Fadim and Laura King are co-chairs of the 2016 Symphony Ball on October 15. As co-chairs, Jamey and Laura have a combined sixty years of involvement with the CSOA. Jamey has been a CSO subscriber for forty-eight years. He has served as a CSOA trustee since 1998, and a life trustee since 2010, and served on the Marketing, Facilities, and Artistic Planning Committees of the CSOA Board. Laura joined the CSOA Women’s Board in 2012 and became a trustee of the Negaunee Music Institute in 2015, serving on the Development Committee.
What makes Symphony Ball such a special event?
Symphony Ball is one of Chicago’s not-to-be-missed celebrations. A black tie gala and concert, it serves as the annual kick-off to the CSO season. It became a project of the CSOA Women’s Board in 2009. The concert portion of the evening is always special, but the celebration after the performance gives gala attendees the chance to meet fellow music lovers, connect with CSO musicians, and celebrate the incredible gem that is this orchestra. Experiences like this renew our commitment to this place, and the music, and you see the care that goes into everything that is done here. It is an evening of elegance and fun, and forges the connection between the audience, the Orchestra, and the city.
What’s unique about this year’s Symphony Ball?
This Symphony Ball is a celebration of the CSO’s 125th birthday—the culmination of the 125th anniversary season we celebrated last year. Last year’s Symphony Ball was the kickoff to the anniversary, and this year’s event bookends the celebration. The two events together represent a time of looking back and looking forward for the Orchestra. It will be a time to celebrate our Orchestra’s legacy, as well as its future. It is a moment to be grateful for the gift that the Orchestra is to our city.
Tell us about this year’s Symphony Ball concert.
For this year’s Symphony Ball concert program, Maestro Muti and the Orchestra will recreate the first concert program presented by the CSO in 1891. The program was Maestro Muti’s idea and everyone was immediately on board. It truly is visionary—to take the Orchestra back to its roots—and to play what we see today as foundational repertoire. Both Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto are wonderful, big orchestral gems. The Wagner piece is still a great fit for our Orchestra today and is a great celebration of Maestro Muti’s love of opera. Dvořák’s Husitská Overture was still relatively new when the Orchestra played it in 1891—it had only received its premiere eight years earlier in Prague. The Tchaikovsky piece, which we know as being a part of the canon, had only been premiered in 1875. This repertoire reflects the CSO’s legacy of presenting new works by new composers since the very beginning.
What role does Symphony Center play in this year’s event?
Some people may not know this, but the first Orchestra concert in 1891 was held at the Auditorium Theatre. After nearly fourteen years there, Orchestra Hall opened its doors on December 14, 1904. What a vision it was to create this space—and to have so many people, from all walks of life, across the city, involved in making this truly, the people’s hall. Then, to have it be a design by Daniel Burnham… He’s quoted as saying “make no little plans,” and he sure didn’t! We’re still on the receiving end of all of that work and inspiration, and it falls on every generation to take care of what we have, to preserve it, and to make it better. And that’s what Maestro Muti is continually calling us to do: to preserve this music, this orchestra, to make it better, and to showcase it to the world. Our hall, and our orchestra, is a gift for the city and a gift for the world, and its right here for all of us to enjoy.
What inspired you to take on a co-chair role?
Both of us had been involved in the CSO for a long time before taking on this role. We both watched friends and members of the CSO Family step up and take on leadership roles around these important events, and now we felt like it was our turn. We’ve worked well together and had a lot of synergy around the event with different members of the Women’s Board, different staff members, the CSOA Board. Everyone comes together and it really becomes the Symphony Family event. It definitely is a commitment to take on a leadership role, but it’s been a wonderful experience. We consistently are in awe of the support and involvement of the different parts of the CSO Family that help make these things possible—the CSOA Board, the Governing Members, Overture Council, the League, the Women’s Board—they’re all components of the bigger community we hope to include. It’s a wonderful privilege to be involved.
What advice would you give to those looking to become more involved?
First, come to Symphony Ball! If not in 2016, then the next year. It’s accessible, fun, and if you haven’t attended before, come and see what it’s like—it might become your annual event. It’s a wonderful way to connect and feel a part of everything that goes on at the Symphony. And consider finding another way get involved with this orchestra. If you’re coming to concerts, take the extra step and get involved as a donor or a volunteer. It might surprise you how satisfying and interesting it is. And bring your friends to concerts! Spread the word about how much you love the CSO and this music. It’s so important to keep building audiences. There are plenty of opportunities to give back, celebrate, and connect.
For more information about CSOA events, volunteerism, and giving opportunities, please contact the Development Department at 312-294-3100.