Jennifer Bumbu and Cheryl Istvan

Barbara Levin

Jennifer Bumbu and Cheryl Istvan serve as League Co-Chairs of the CSOA’s 2018 Corporate Night on June 11, 2018. Both Jennifer and Cheryl are longtime League members who have participated in many League initiatives. Currently, Jennifer serves as the Vice President of Education and Cheryl serves as Strategic Planning Chair. Cheryl is also a past president of the League.

What inspired your love of music?
CHERYL ISTVAN: I was the only one in my family who had an interest in classical music. My father used to play Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, and Harry Belafonte; he loved music but not classical music. My mother then saw that I enjoyed classical music and encouraged me. When I went to college, I majored in music history and musicology. My first job out of college was at the Boston Symphony Orchestra working for their youth programs. I became very attached to the orchestra and classical music in Boston. JENNIFER BUMBU: There was always music playing in the house when I was a little girl. My dad played the trumpet when he was young, and my mother was a mezzo-soprano. When I was a little girl, my parents bought me a piano. My father taught himself and then taught me how to play. Since my parents both loved music, they also signed me up for the school orchestra, which needed an oboe player, so I played oboe!

How did you first get involved with the CSO?
CI: When I moved back from Germany a former boss put me in touch with the CSO. JB: League member Mary Jane Jones overheard me calling the CSO to order tickets to a concert. She happened to be in my office and asked if I wanted to get involved with the League. It was that easy!

Tell us about your past involvement Corporate Night. What are your goals for this year’s event?
CI: When I first chaired Corporate Night, it was a completely different event. I chaired with former Board Chair Jay Henderson. We made some changes that really kicked things up. We met regularly and worked really great as a team. That year set the stage for the way the event was to progress in the following years. JB: My goal is to bring new people to the table. We have an advisory council this year that allows people to get involved at a higher level. It’s a really nice opportunity to foster more involvement.

Why do you feel it’s important to support the CSO?
CI: The CSO is one of the great cultural institutions of the world, and our support is vital. It’s a source of pride to people who love music and the city of Chicago. You can’t take a chance to let that go! JB: So children can experience classical music. Who knows? They may be the next Gregory Porter or Yo-Yo Ma!

Do you have any advice for those who are interested in getting more involved?
CI: There are so many interest groups at the CSO. They all serve to make people feel more comfortable and welcome. They are great vehicles for people to get involved. Do what you can, and you can be a part of the CSO family and gain access to everything this organization has to offer. JB: Just do it. Just come. Let someone know you’re interested. There’s a place for everybody.