Taking Note – Issue 23

HCEs Featured in St. Charles Library Concert

EYSO HCEs and guests have partnered with the St. Charles Public Library to present a virtual holiday concert. The virtual holiday concert will also feature clips from Origins (the November 15th livestreamed concert day). The video will be available beginning this Sunday, December 13, through December 20. Register for free through the library's website to receive the viewing link.

A Brand New Store

Our new storefront offers hundreds of customizable items. Each order will be shipped directly to you; there's still time to order in time for Christmas!

For the musicians in your life, their biggest fans, and anyone who deserves a special treat this winter—who wouldn’t appreciate an EYSO baseball cap or tote? What better to wear when baking holiday cookies than an EYSO apron? And you can't go wrong with this basic t-shirt for the spirit wear traditionalist.

You can purchase EYSO spirit wear at any time—no batch ordering deadlines or group pick-up dates—but don’t wait too long! Visit the EYSO Spirit Wear Store today to make sure your holiday purchases arrive in time.

Mission Moment

An Amazing Weekend of Music Making

19 hours of rehearsal. 8 different camera angles. 400+ masks and bell covers.

On November 15th, nearly 300 musicians (and dozens of volunteers supporting them) of EYSO worked together to present three stunning concerts. These, our first-ever concerts livestreamed from Blizzard Theatre, showcased not only the incredible learning and growth that has happened so far, but also the perseverance and dedication that students have shown all year.

A Letter from Artistic Director Matthew Sheppard:

Stories, fairy tales, myths, legends: these are how we make sense of the world around us. Fact or fiction, they have a way of telling us about ourselves, both in what we consciously know, and in the murkier realm of the implicit.

Great artists know this—cultural expectations, traditions, and personal biases are inevitably woven into their art on multiple levels. How does music reveal these, and how do these fundamental facts (and fictions) influence both the music and the musicians as we study and and perform together?

At EYSO, we often use the term “expert noticer” to describe our approach both to making music together and to examining the wider world around us. As expert noticers, we use music and our season theme as lenses through which we deepen and broaden our understanding of ourselves, of our communities, and of the roles we play in them. In Origins, our first concert of the 2020-21 season, we peel back the layers of notes and rhythms and sift through the accumulated historical and performance traditions. As we study and perform together, we investigate not just the how to of music, but the why.

This season more than ever, the why matters. As communities and individuals face challenges cutting across all facets of life, making sense of the world around us is both more daunting and more critical than ever before. The stories we tell, the way we tell them, and voices sharing them: these things matter.

And with the challenges of this year, each of us has the opportunity to re-examine what matters to us in our stories, and in our lives. The feeling of community each Sunday, the critical examination of concepts and ideas, and the thrill of making music together at the highest level have been constants in a year that often leaves us feeling adrift. Through our investigation and study of great music, we better understand the stories we tell ourselves—our own myths and legends, and our own values and beliefs.

Thank you for being a part of this journey in our 45th season, Myths & Legends.

Matthew Sheppard
Artistic Director
Dive deeper into this incredible weekend by perusing a downloadable program here.


Spotlight on EYSO board members, students, and alumni. Get to know EYSO in a whole new light!


Spotlight on EYSO Alumni Megan Healy

This month’s Alumni Spotlight is violinist Megan Healy, who played in EYSO from 2002-2010. She will officially become Dr. Healy this month, graduating with her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her doctoral studies included research on teaching violin to adult beginners, as well as a recording project inspired by and dedicated to American violin superstar Maud Powell. The album, Aurora: A Tribute to Maud Powell, will be released early next year, and features five new works by female American composers for solo violin. Megan will also present a live premiere of the project in Chicago this May—visit her website to learn more and preorder the album.

Megan says her eight seasons in EYSO, including her senior year in the Maud Powell String Quartet, bolstered her confidence and laid the foundation for the skills she would need as a professional musician. The unique learning environment also inspired her to include musicology and pedagogy in her studies. “I loved the historical background that Mr. Swiggum gave us in rehearsal,” she says, recalling her freshman year in high school when Youth Symphony performed Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony. “I learned the value of inspiring teachers and developed an interest in education.”

Today, Megan maintains an active teaching presence through her Michigan-based private studio and with Kalamazoo Kids in Tune, and she also runs a wedding and event music business. Her most recent appearance with EYSO was in March 2018, when she returned to perform as a soloist on Yannick Paget’s Tears of Sakura with the Youth Symphony. Her freelance performing career has included several orchestras across Michigan, Colorado, Wyoming, and Iowa, as well as chamber music and other special collaborations. EYSO is proud to be a part of Megan’s story, and we wish her all the best in her current and future endeavors!

- Article written by Membership Coordinator and Music Librarian Emily Krasinski

 • STAFF •

Spotlight on EYSO Staff Roslyn Green

"I was fortunate to be a Civic Fellow with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. The Fellows undertake community and engagement projects on behalf of the CSO’s Negaunee Institute beyond their other responsibilities as orchestral musicians in the orchestra. Under the leadership of Yo Yo Ma, in 2017 Civic undertook a musical collaboration with Purpose Over Pain, an organization that supports families who have lost children to gun violence. We repeated the project a number of times over the course of my fellowship, wherein teams of Fellows would work with parents to craft a custom song in memory of their loved one, and orchestrate, record, and perform the song with a team of incredible singers.

These songs – all catalogued at notesforpeace.org – have been some of my proudest musical moments. Connecting with parents and getting to know them and their loved ones through their stories mean that each song came out of a place of deep investment and honesty. They’re a moment of real music as action: the songs help to heal, grieve, and celebrate.

I was invited back as an alum to work on the 2020 collaboration, which was then redesigned to omit the performance component and shift most of the work to Zoom. Interviews and writing sessions all took place remotely – until finally we were able to get into the studio at the Chicago Recording Company to meet in person and record. In a year with so few opportunities to make music, I am beyond grateful that I kept this one. We created three songs and subsequently the CSO released Christina’s song for Christopher, Forever Our Star, with a video as part of the Peace Studio’s 100 Offerings of Peace."

- Article written by EYSO Chamber Music Institute Director Roslyn Green


Notes for Peace (tribute pages including videos, lyrics, and photos):


Thank You

Two words that mean SO much! We are grateful to ALL EYSO supporters. On that note, we'd like to highlight this month's special supporters...

Giving Tuesday

THANK YOU for Another Great Giving Tuesday!

Giving Tuesday was December 1, and in just one day we raised $4,903 to support our mission of creating community through music education. THANK YOU for your donations, encouraging messages, and for sharing EYSO with your friends and family—everything you do positively impacts our nearly 300 students!

(Update--additional donations came in the next day making our grand total: $4,958!)

Simple Ways to Support EYSO

If you're an Amazon shopper, please bookmark: smile.amazon.com and select "Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra" as the nonprofit to support. This is an easy way to give to EYSO doing what you're already doing. Every amount adds up and is a great help to our fundraising efforts.

Tisbest.org is fueling the movement to replace gifts of stuff with gifts of good that meaningfully connect individuals with important causes. EYSO is one of the nonprofit organizations gift card holders can support. Here's a list of all U.S. nonprofit organizations supported via tisbest.org: All U.S. Charities (click here).

Are you an EYSO fan? Do you (or even your pet) have a birthday coming up? Consider hosting a Facebook birthday fundraiser benefitting EYSO. We will even send thank you birthday notes to your supporters. We can send electronic OR paper birthday thank yous. Simply send your list of birthday fundraiser supporters to our development director and we'll be happy to thank everyone accordingly. Reach out to Kari at KLChristensen@eyso.org. Happy Birthday!


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