Designed for young children ages 3–5, these programs features a small group of CSO musicians and a master storyteller who create interactive experiences that introduce young children to the world of music.




Your imagination will be inspired by vivid storytelling, music that depicts the characters and action, and props, costumes and images created by Chicago Children’s Theatre. Sing, dance and play with the musicians; you are a part of the performance too! Leave with beautiful memories and resources to continue the exploration at home.

During the 2013/14 season, we present two programs highlighting classic tales. In the first program, Stone Soup, a hungry traveler arrives at a village with nothing except an old cooking pot, arousing the curiosity of the townsfolk when she begins to make a pot of “stone soup.” One by one, the villagers contribute and enjoy the most delicious soup they have ever tasted! The second program, The Three Little Pigs, tells the tale of three pigs who build houses of straw, wood and brick. A hungry wolf threatens to blow down each of the pigs’ houses. The wolf’s plan would have succeeded … if it were not for the savvy thinking of the third pig!”


Stone Soup
Saturday, Oct 19, Nov 2, Nov 23
10:00 a.m. & 11:45 a.m.

The Three Little Pigs
Saturday, Mar 22, Mar 29, Apr 26
10:00 a.m. & 11:45 a.m.

Preconcert activities begin 45 minutes before the performance!


Stone Soup
Monday, Oct 21, Nov 4, Nov 25
10:15 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

The Three Little Pigs
Monday, Mar 24, Mar 31, Apr 28
10:15 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

Preparatory classroom visits by trained music educators are recommended.

Each Saturday performance is preceded by a special set of activities, led by collaborating music educators, to introduce some of the music you will hear at the concert. Participating in these activities will prepare your child to take part in the interactive portions of the performance and plant seeds for strong memories.

Monday and Friday performances are intended primarily for preschool groups. Preconcert activities are not offered, but educational materials and free classroom visits by trained Docents and music educators will help prepare young students for their visit to Symphony Center.


Once Upon a Symphony is a unique program with experiences that extend beyond your visit to Symphony Center. The information below will help prepare for your visit.

  • A few weeks prior to each concert, you will receive a preparatory document that describes what to expect at Symphony Center and several recommendations of ways that you can prepare your child for a fun and engaging musical experience.
  • Concerts are presented in Buntrock Hall, with special seating designed just for our youngest audience.
  • In addition to the friendly CSO ushers, staff and volunteers will be on hand to help ensure that you have a comfortable and safe experience.
  • After the performance, you are invited to meet the musicians and the storyteller before heading home. A postconcert document will be sent to you in the days following the concert, offering suggestions to continue exploring the music and the story at home.

Susan and Richard Kiphart provide major support for Once Upon a Symphony. Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust is the lead foundation sponsor with additional support provided by The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund.

Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust

Presented in collaboration with: