Judy and Joe Konen have been volunteers and supporters of the CSO’s education and engagement programs since 2001. They are supporters of numerous Negaunee Music Institute programs including the Percussion Scholarship Program and Adventures in Music, and have been active Governing Members. Judy served as past president of the Women’s Association (now the League of the CSOA), chairing numerous events, and participating on Institute committees. Joe recently became a member of the Institute Board and was elected as a CSO Trustee in 2012.
How did you become involved at the CSO?
We always had an interest in classical music, but hadn’t had the chance to get involved. When we moved to Chicago and thought about our volunteer efforts, the CSO immediately came to mind. We were particularly excited about the programs and opportunities the Institute provides for young people. Early access to music is so important, it was important for us to connect with that aspect of the orchestra.
What inspires your support of the Negaunee Music Institute?
We get really excited thinking about the Institute’s audience and the impact music has on people’s lives. The Institute is our way of educating future musicians, exposing young children to music, and connecting with the world. The Citizen Musician initiative and other Institute programs bring people together around the power of music and the incredible music of the CSO. All of us, every person, every citizen, has the opportunity to be involved and participate in music. Music is universal, and Citizen Musician helps drive that. These programs and values ensure that the work of the Institute lasts forever.
What inspires your support of the Percussion Scholarship Program?
We were so impressed with the program directors, CSO percussion Patsy Dash and Doug Waddell, and their passion for the program and the kids. Many of these children would truly not have the opportunity to study music if it wasn’t for PSP. The instruments themselves are so exciting and really appealing to kids! It’s fun music, and very accessible. We hope this type of program can serve as a model for other orchestras and organizations, demonstrating the incredible power of music education and the exciting, innovative ways young people engage in music through talented and passionate teachers.
What are your favorite CSO memories?
Adventures in Music, run by the League, welcomes children from all across Chicago to Symphony Center to experience a concert. Most of these kids come from parts of the city that don’t traditionally have access to the CSO, concerts, or to classical music. As an AIM docent, you escort the kids around and sit with them during the concert. Watching their delight, interest, and enthusiasm blossom is a real privilege.
What is it like being a part of the CSO Family?
We have made some dear friends through the CSO, whether through volunteerism, attending concerts, or touring with the Orchestra. Being a part of this community—the connections we’ve made and the people we have met, the way music brings people together—is a terrific blessing. The CSO brings together those who appreciate the power classical music has to uplift people from all walks of life. We feel like we are a part of something that has value not only to us, but to the communities and people around us. This music stands the test of time, and we appreciate the opportunity to come together in support of that.
To learn more about supporting programs of the Negaunee Music Institute, please contact Al Andreychuk, major gifts officer and director of planned giving, at 312-294-3150.