SYCAMORE – Eight-year-old Julia Glover of DeKalb attempted to scale the climbing wall at the first Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra Family Fun Day.
The wall scared her a bit, but she also got a balloon and had her face painted – and talked about becoming a professional pianist and singer when she grows up.
That would surely be music to the ears of Ann Tucker, president of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The Family Fun Day, held Saturday at Sycamore Community Park, replaced the orchestra's traditional golf outing fundraiser this year.
“There are a lot of golf outings in this community. Our attendance for the event started dwindling and the competition got to be tough,” said Tucker. “We thought we’d use the same venue, but change up the activities and also get the symphony introduced to a younger audience.”
Tucker acknowledged the strong orchestra programs throughout the local schools and area, but said the KSO wants young people to know that there’s a community orchestra available for them, too – as audience members, and as they grow older, as participants.
Later on at the fundraising event, there was live music, a sold-out gourmet picnic dinner at the park clubhouse, and a raffle and silent auction with items provided by sponsors.
Many of the raffle and auction items were music-themed, such as KSO season tickets, a music stand, violin and cello lessons, and even a cello and violin serenade. Other items included Cubs tickets, art supplies from Walmart, a Studio One facial, and homemade pie.
The largest item up for auction was a Beatles 50th Anniversary Cello, painted by local artist McKenzie Palm of Sycamore. Palm also painted a Jurassic Park violin for last-year’s movie-themed KSO auction.
“[The Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra] gets so many people from the community to help them out because of how much effort they put into everything,” said Palm. “They are all incredible musicians, so everyone is so happy to help them.”
The Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra comprises 50 to 60 professional, amateur and student musicians. They will begin their 38th season this fall.
In light of the major financial struggles of many prominent orchestras recently, Tucker expressed her gratitude for the strong support the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra receives.
“We are fortunate. A lot of it has to do with our area,” said Tucker. “I think this community knows it’s important to have music. You have to have fine arts. … It’s an important part of people’s lives.”
More information about the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, including a calendar of performances, is available at kishorchestra.org.