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updated: 8/28/2012 5:29 AM

Schaumburg to pay for mayor, five others to visit Europe

Trip with Youth Symphony Orchestra could cost $27,000

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  • Al Larson

    Al Larson


After a long hiatus caused by the sluggish economy, the Schaumburg Youth Symphony Orchestra plans to resume its occasional overseas concert tours next year -- along with five Schaumburg staff members and Mayor Al Larson, who might accompany them at the village's expense.

Trustees will vote Tuesday on hiring Lukas Marketing of Wayne to coordinate the youth orchestra's tour of the United Kingdom and France from June 19 to 30, 2013.

While the approximately 60 young musicians and a few parents are expected to come up with the $200,605 to cover their own costs, the village will pay $27,366 for Larson, the village's cultural services director, orchestra director, orchestra manager, orchestra assistant and a technician to make the trip.

Village Manager Ken Fritz said the selected staff members run the youth orchestra and are expected to provide the bulk of adult supervision whenever it's away from its home base of the Prairie Center for the Arts.

"This is no different from the employees that we would have here setting up the shows," Fritz said. "And the responsibilities on the road are even greater. There are no fluff positions."

The mayor's role on tour is strictly official, Fritz said. As the orchestra travels and is greeted by local officials overseas, the mayor serves as an equivalent official to meet and accept the honors of each host.

Larson said there has been a greater respect for public officials in the countries the orchestra has visited, and his presence on prior trips to Japan, the Czech Republic, Italy and Germany has allowed the orchestra to play in some of the biggest and best venues available.

"We found being a mayor opens doors, and you get the opportunity to meet some of the political hierarchy in these countries," Larson said.

The tours themselves have been important not only in showing off the quality of the orchestra internationally but in attracting the best young musicians from the suburbs to the organization, Larson said.

The basic aim and makeup of the proposed 2013 tour is no different from any of the four previous overseas tours the orchestra made between 2000 and 2007, Fritz said.

The unusual five-year hiatus since the last tour was due to economic concerns cited by the families of orchestra members. But a recent member survey showed only five out of 67 respondents had no interest in going on an overseas tour next year.

Though Tuesday's vote is to select Lukas Marketing as the travel vendor, the village's costs are implicit as some financial commitment to the firm is required, Fritz said.

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