“In recent years, and without much fanfare, U.S. symphony orchestra musicians have taken steps to expand their role as agents of social and cultural service in their communities,” writes John von Rhein in Tuesday’s (6/7) Chicago Tribune. “Now, the members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are taking their music beyond Orchestra Hall [to] present a special concert to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository, June 13.… CSO music director Riccardo Muti will conduct Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony, and CSO principal clarinet Stephen Williamson will be the soloist in the Mozart Clarinet Concerto. Everyone, including Muti, the musicians and the stage technicians, will be donating his and her services…. All proceeds will go to the food depository.” CSO Assistant Principal Oboe Michael Henoch, one of the organizers of the event, said … players have discussed presenting similar events in Chicago’s underprivileged neighborhoods.… The participating CSO musicians are … doing everything themselves—from publicity and ticketing, to producing the program book and writing the program notes.” Also mentioned are benefit concerts recently given by musicians of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and Minnesota Orchestra. The League of American Orchestras’ annual Orchestras Feeding America initiative has seen over 450 orchestras donate nearly 475,000 pounds of food since its launch in 2009.

Posted June 8, 2016

Pictured: Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians (from left) Gary Stucka, cello; Michael Henoch, oboe; James Smelser, French horn; Steve Lester, bass; Susan Synnestvedt, violin; and Scott Hostetler, oboe, will be among the musicians playing a benefit for the Greater Chicago Food Depository on June 13. Photo by Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune