Margo Oberman and Mary Plauché are League co-chairs of the Friday, March 24 A Toast to Gershwin! event. Both are longtime subscribers and League members. Mary lives in Evanston with her husband, serves as a docent tour guide with the Chicago Architecture Foundation and is a programmer for the Community Associates of the Art Institute of Chicago. Margo lives with her husband in Mettawa and is actively involved with Lyric Opera of Chicago and sits on the Board of Council for Jewish Elderly SeniorLife.
What inspired you to become involved with the League? Like many other people who get involved, we both have a deep love of music and wanted to make the CSO a bigger part of our lives. Neither of us came from particularly musical backgrounds, but we both love music and the arts. We both are longtime subscribers and had friends who were involved with the CSO in various ways. It was an easy decision when we were invited to join them in this special group. Th e League, founded in 1934, engages nearly 250 people each year in support of the CSO, its concerts, community engagement, and education programs. It was so easy to get involved.
Tell us about the upcoming A Toast to Gershwin! event. On March 24, we will host a pre- and post-concert celebration for the fi rst Gershwin Spectacular concert conducted by Bramwell Tovey. It’s very special that we get to bring the League fundraisers back to Symphony Center and there’s no space more beautiful than Grainger Ballroom. Some events are too big to hold here, but this concert gives us a special opportunity to use Symphony Center space, and to celebrate in the style of the 1930s and ’40s era. We’ll have a silent auction with some very special items, jazz performances and dancing, and a special appearance by Maestro Tovey.
What makes this concert and event so special? We ultimately want to support our orchestra, and one of the best ways to do that is to connect with new CSO audiences—maybe even new League members! Gershwin’s music is so well known, and branches into jazz and opera. Hopefully, this will be a concert and celebration that will draw people who have never come to Symphony Center before.
What’s your favorite part about being a League member? While our fundraisers are fantastic, all the outreach the League does is so meaningful. Th e Young Artists Competition showcases the phenomenal talent of young people. Th e League also supports a Civic musician, and the Civic musicians perform for a number of League event fundraisers. Seven years ago, we started the Senior Engagement Committee and have just recently added the Veterans Engagement Committee to our activities. Th ese groups attend three CSO open rehearsals each season. It’s so heartwarming to see people walk into Orchestra Hall anticipating this special experience and then to see them walk out of the hall so moved and thankful. Both communities face obstacles in enjoying the CSO regularly, so it’s a great opportunity for us to reach out to them. It’s the least we can do to share music with the senior community, and give back to the veterans who have given so much to us. Music is the universal language, and it touches everyone.
Any advice for those looking to become more involved? The CSOA offers so many different opportunities, and you can meet so many wonderful people who love music as much as you do. The League is always looking for new members— there’s a fi t for you! It’s a great place to learn and grow, share your love