I walk in the DuPage Human Race on behalf of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra to bring the passion and joy of music to children.
The ESO brings music to life for students throughout the Chicago area in many ways. Our ensemble visits are in-school, interactive demonstrations of all orchestral instruments and types of music.
There is nothing better than watching the faces of children as they experience "Peter and the Wolf" or hear the lowest bleating note of a tuba compared to the highest shrill pitch of the piccolo. Or when a harpist and students together create a living story using the students' words punctuated by the myriad sound effects the harpist can create.
This may be the only time these students will have the opportunity to peer under the harp at the rods and working mechanisms that change the harp's pitch, or touch a string made of steel, nylon or cat gut.
We visit schools that offer rich music education to their students, as well as schools in underserved areas that have little to no musical education curriculum.
We have even brought our ensembles to Child's Voice, a listening and spoken language program for children with hearing loss.
The ESO offers opportunities for budding musicians to sit side-by-side with accomplished musicians in concert and for dance students to perform accompanied by a symphony orchestra. Our young artist competition helps prepare high school students for future musical studies, with an opportunity to perform a solo with a high-caliber symphonic orchestra -- an experience so crucial as they consider music careers.
As I watch these young people confidently take the stage and perform advanced solo pieces, I see such hope for the future through their eyes.
Through youth programs and full orchestra symphonic performances, we touch the lives of thousands of area children every year. The ESO is committed to outreach and educational programs to help audiences of tomorrow better understand and appreciate music of all types.
I have volunteered with the Elmhurst Symphony for more than 25 years in many capacities -- musician, auxiliary member and president, board member and coordinator of youth outreach programs and Mayslake Peabody Estate chamber concerts. Participating in Elmhurst Symphony and bringing these programs to life has given me some of my greatest moments of joy and satisfaction.
The DuPage Human Race is an opportunity for small organizations that have minimal resources to host a 5K -- a popular fundraising format that we couldn't possibly host on our own. I have participated in the Human Race every year, and it has been rewarding, but mostly fun -- even on the rainy days!
I have walked and run with friends, family and strangers -- each of whom believes strongly in the organization he or she supports. The power and joy of all of these people with different missions coming together to earn money for their organizations while doing something healthy and fun is incredible to experience.
I can't wait to walk again this year and to bring music to kids for years to come.