Leyden students disappointed after performance moved from Loop to Oak Park over safety concerns

Karen Jordan Image
Saturday, April 22, 2023
High school music performance moved from Loop over safety concerns
Leyden High Schools students' performance was moved from the Chicago Loop to Oak Park River Forest High School over Millennium Park safety concerns.

OAK PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Safety concerns prompted a last-minute change to a concert that was set to take place on Friday evening at the Symphony Center in downtown Chicago.

Band, orchestra and choir students from Leyden High Schools and several other west suburban schools instead found themselves at a different venue, Oak Park River Forest High School.

Efrain Corral's son plays string bass in the West Leyden Orchestra.

"He did sound disappointed. This was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. We'd never been there," Corral said.

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In an email sent Friday afternoon to parents, the school officials said the Symphony Center is too close to Millennium Park, and they are concerned that more unrest, like what happened last weekend, could be coming.

"The safety and security of our students, staff and families is our top priority. To that end, we have collectively determined that changing the venue location for this evening's event is the most proactive, appropriate action we can take to help keep our school community safe," the email said.

"I'm so glad they changed the location. We weren't gonna go. I was very disappointed as to what happened last week," said Anna Thibodeax.

While Guillermo Rios agrees it is better to safe than sorry, he said his son, Andres, had been looking forward to performing in a historic venue, spending $100 of his own money to buy tickets for his family.

"I can listen to my kid in the back yard. I don't care. But, to let them down, it's tough," Rios said.

Many parents said that despite the change, they're thankful that the show was still able to go on. They're hopeful it can be at the Symphony Center next year.