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updated: 10/10/2018 7:35 AM

Elgin Symphony Orchestra brings excellence, community service to suburbs

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  • Andrew Grams has led the Elgin Symphony Orchestra since 2013.

    Andrew Grams has led the Elgin Symphony Orchestra since 2013.
    Courtesy of David Bearden

Contributed by Elgin Symphony Orchestra

How does a company choose one community over another when deciding to build, expand or relocate? There are innumerable factors that goes into these decisions.

Among these would be such disparate points as tax burden, class room sizes and school reputations, housing availability, parks and recreational facilities, intermodal access points, and cultural opportunities. If these factors are judged as equal in total impact and costs, what are tiebreakers that will change the location decision from one community to another?

For 68 years, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra has been that important differentiator for this area. To support a professional orchestra for this many years is an amazing achievement by the community. This speaks to the values and importance this area has placed on creating diverse cultural choices.

As a fully professional orchestra, the ESO brings a level of music excellence, variety and community service that can only be matched by an organization the size of the Chicago Symphony, and we are in your own backyard. Each season, from September to June, more than 20,000 visitors come to the Hemmens Cultural Center to enjoy the ESO.

Since 2013, the orchestra has been led by Andrew Grams. He also conducts orchestras throughout the U.S. and the world.

The orchestra includes 67 professional musicians with a broad range of experience and an amazingly high level of music artistry. In the last few seasons, the ESO has been named Illinois Orchestra of the Year (2016) and Maestro Grams was designated the Illinois Music Director of the Year in 2015.

The concerts at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin and the Al Larsen Prairie Arts Center in Schaumburg represent just the tip of the iceberg of the many connections the ESO has to this region. A major component of the ESO mission is to educate, entertain, heal and comfort. To that end, musicians play at the Advocate's Sherman Hospital and Good Shepherd, in Barrington, on a weekly basis. These sessions are highly valued by these facilities for the holistic benefits they provide to patients, families, and care givers. Also, every Wednesday during classic concerts week, a two-hour lecture, discussion of the upcoming repertoire is presented at the Gail Borden Public Library. An event that is free to the public, this series has seen steady attendance growth for its important educational component.

One of the highlights of each season for the ESO is the Ainsworth Concerts for Youth that occurs each spring. During a one week period, more than 9,000 students come to the Hemmens to participate in an interactive program of musical themes, ideas and connections to other subjects they are studying. One student exiting our Spring 2018 concerts was overheard saying, "If I had three hands, I'd give this concert three thumbs-up!"

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra depends on sponsorships, foundations and private donors to fund more than 60 percent of its annual costs. The ESO is an excellent vehicle to partner your strong name brand with an organization that is acclaimed for its excellence and accessibility.

Many businesses and sponsors bring employees and clients to special evenings with the ESO. There is no better way to assert the importance your company places on the cultural life of a community than to partner with the ESO. To learn more, visit