Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra celebrates 65 years

April 10, 2012 11:43:57 AM PDT
Sixty five years ago, some talented young classical musicians and their parents formed what is now known as the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the group is still going strong.

CYSO musicians from seven different decades will be reunited to perform a special concert at Orchestra Hall Monday night to mark the anniversary.

ABC7 received a musical appetizer Monday morning at the Fine Arts building on South Michigan as CYSO alums warmed up.

"When we had a rehearsal last night, I had some of those same sensations I had 51, two, three years ago," Jim Franklin, a CYSO member in 1961, told ABC7.

The Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra is made up of the best high school classical musicians in the area. The young talents will join alums from across the country in reliving 65 years of success Monday night.

"We started rehearsing in the spring of '47 and our first concert was in a cow pasture," said Richard O'Neil, original Member of CYSO. "We played Brahm's Second Symphony."

But after the cow pasture the CYSO has been at Orchestra Hall for big concerts.

On Monday night, Conductor Allen Tinkham will lead a 140-piece orchestra made up of 100 alums and 40 youths.

"The youngest person we have playing is 14," Tinkham. "And the oldest would have to probably be 82, 83."

The Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra performed at Orchestra Hall for the first time in 1947. Richard O'Neil was there then and he'll be there Monday night.

"It was just a tremendous thrill to be in on that," he told ABC7.

As of Monday afternoon, there were still some tickets left for Monday night's concert.