Neal Ball

Who knows how music first reaches us? From where? If any words come near answering, they might be those of poet Franz von Schober who provided the text for Schubert's An die Musik.

One thinks of many early musical encounters and influences, exposure foremost and education as a partner. As for the introduction to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I confess it came from another kind of infatuation — my eighth-grade girlfriend wanted to attend an afternoon student concert at Orchestra Hall.

Now I go, answering to a constant need for music; as basic as water or food. Each concert is a celebration — even before the music begins. For here is an event requiring thousands of life-years in preparation. Yes, thousands. A hundred or so musicians each surely with 25 years or more of study and performance. One might add another 2,500 years for the collective experience of those who taught them. The training of instrument makers and the production of the assembled instruments certainly cover hundreds of years of activity. More "centuries" here and there relate to the hall itself, symphony organization, composers, people behind the scenes, etc.

Astonishing.

But not self-perpetuating in full form. The CSO annuity program invites easy and useful participation in future presentations and for conservation. Few opportunities offer such mutually beneficial aspects.

Ed and Gayla Nieminen
Theodore Thomas Society members
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Richard and Elynne Aleskow
Theodore Thomas Society members
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Martha Bell
Theodore Thomas Society member
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