Michael Fogarty joined the Overture Council (OC) in 2013/14 and became a CSO subscriber in 2014. A middle school music teacher and band director in Romeoville, IL, he also serves as an oboist for the DuPage Symphony. Michael lives in Chicago, is a marathon runner, and also serves as a volunteer for the Ronald McDonald House, supporting families with children receiving long-term care in area hospitals.
What is your musical background?
I grew up learning music in school and in lessons–I was a piano student and oboe student. Later on, I became a musician at my church. One of the other musicians there was in the Chicago Symphony Chorus. She offered me a couple tickets to see Handel’s Messiah when I was in the 8th grade. It was a big deal, coming from the suburbs and seeing the CSO on a Sunday afternoon. My first concert left a real impression on me. Since then, I’ve connected with music both personally and professionally, now making it a part of my everyday life.
What inspired you to join the Overture Council?
I had lived in the Chicago suburbs for a long time, and I would go to concerts when I could. When I moved to Chicago, I was looking for some ways to volunteer, to meet people, and get involved. I found myself on the CSO’s website looking for opportunities. The Overture Council seemed like a great pathway for young professionals to get involved and support the Orchestra. Now, as a member of the OC, I really enjoy exploring new ways to get others involved, and investigating new opportunities to support the Orchestra.
What was your experience at this season’s Symphony Ball?
This is only my third year in the OC, but I had heard great things about the event–and it was the 125th season anniversary celebration, so I knew it would be incredible. It exceeded all my expectations. It was such a special night–everything was so well done and glamorous, it really makes you feel like you are close to the Orchestra and part of the organization. I’m proud to support it and had a great time. We sat with a few musicians at our table, and getting to interact with them socially was a real treat. It was a special opportunity for me to go at the reduced ticket cost offered to OC members.
How do you see music impact the lives of your students?
Teaching at a school in a music classroom, you have the special opportunity to see a student through multiple years of their educational career. This gives you time to make a connection with each student and really be a part of their lives. When you add a teaching style that makes music fun, challenging, and gets them to appreciate it, music really can be an active part of your relationship with students and their learning. Music in particular supports that connection–you have to show a little of yourself, a little vulnerability. As an artist, you show them your emotional side. And they appreciate that because they’re emotional, too. The connection and appreciation starts at the school level. Every kid, every student from any walk of life, can appreciate the beauty of music.
What advice would you have for those wanting to get involved?
Definitely seek out volunteer opportunities. Once I began looking, it was easy to find a way to get involved. Talk to an usher, ask staff, or check out the CSO’s website. I also think raising the profile of classical music in your own life is important. Talk about your love of music with friends. Advocate for it. Invite people to go to concerts with you. Many OC members have studied music at some point in their lives, but some have not. It’s a great community and a diverse group of young professionals.
To learn more about the Overture Council, please contact Jessica Erickson, senior donor engagement manager, at 312-294-3198.