CYSO Hosts "Listen to the Future" Gala March 12

  • Maestro Allen Tinkham conducts CYSO Symphony Orchestra musicians at a prior gala. Photo by Kyle Flubacker

    Maestro Allen Tinkham conducts CYSO Symphony Orchestra musicians at a prior gala. Photo by Kyle Flubacker

Updated 3/2/2022 9:03 AM

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) hosts its 2022 Gala "Listen to the Future," celebrating CYSO's 75th Anniversary season 6-11 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis Chicago, 2121 S. Prairie Ave., Saturday, March 12. This evening of glamour and music, honoring CYSO's past, present and future, is the organization's largest fundraising event of the year. Emcees for the evening are WBEZ "Morning Editon" editor Mary Dixon and Mark Caro, creator and host of the "Caropop" podcast. Event chairs are Dr. Louanne Carabini and Shawn O'Leary, and Angela and Dana O'Banion. Proceeds from the evening directly support CYSO's music education programs for dedicated young musicians from across the Chicago region.

The evening will begin with cocktails and the opportunity to mingle while enjoying music from CYSO's young Preparatory Strings students. A seated dinner, music performances, and live auction follow.


The evening's program will include performances by the CYSO's award-winning ensembles, including the CYSO's Steelpan, Jazz, and Symphony Orchestras. The centerpiece of the night will be excerpts from Wynton Marsalis's "Swing Symphony" performed by a combined group of Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director Allen Tinkham, and Jazz Orchestra, led by Jazz Director Pharez Whitted. This piece was written for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and is rarely performed by youth ensembles because of its difficulty, however CYSO's young musicians eagerly anticipate the opportunity to perform this for Gala guests.

Also on the program: Kaiso Steel Orchestra performing works from Black popular composers - "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire and "Masterblaster (Jammin)" by Stevie Wonder, led by Director of Steelpan Scott McConnell. Jazz Orchestra will perform a new work from Chicago jazz musician, bandleader, and composer Derrick Gardner entitled "Chi Town Suite."

"CYSO has redoubled our commitment to performing works from underrepresented and living composers at all levels," says CYSO Music Director Allen Tinkham. "As we celebrate the past and look to the future with this year's Gala, we wanted to highlight the importance of diversity in the works we perform and celebrate trailblazing composers who are changed the landscape of music, including Marsalis, Wonder, Gardner as well as Anna Clyne and Arturo Márquez."

CYSO will also honor Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center with the 2022 Note of Excellence Award. Accepting will be Todd Stoll, Vice President of Education for Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Individual tickets to the Gala are $450 per person. Standard and VIP tables are available. Fashion forward attire is encouraged; black tie is optional. Valet and self-parking options are available. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to attend. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras' mission is to inspire and cultivate personal excellence through music. After 75 years of music-making, CYSO continues to shape generations of young leaders and musicians. Students collaborate and create in a learning environment like no other, developing fundamental skills including leadership, self-confidence, teamwork, and resilience. CYSO is committed to educating, encouraging, and empowering each young musician so that they may pursue personal excellence both on and off the stage.

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