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Youth orchestra offers Incredible Opportunity Program

Members Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestrinclude Sarah Dababneh Tinley Park; SYSO co-music director Katie Bern; Chloe Stroz OrlHills; Patrick Flatley Frankfort;

Members of the Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra include Sarah Dababneh, of Tinley Park; SYSO co-music director Katie Bern; and Chloe Stroz, of Orland Hills; and Patrick Flatley, of Frankfort; and Logan Williams, of Oak Forest. | Supplied photo

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Updated: March 13, 2014 3:16AM



A nonprofit that offers kids opportunities to learn to play string instruments hopes to continue its recent growth, according to a press release from the organization.

The Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2009 came close to dissolving, the release said. String programs in schools in towns such as Chicago Heights, Park Forest and Crete had been lost over a period to budget cuts, leaving few area students to take part in the extracurricular orchestra.

But since 2010, the Suburban Youth Symphony has offered an Incredible Opportunity Program. Students write an essay on “Why I Want to Play the Violin, Viola, Cello or Bass,” and a maximum of 20 students are picked to receive the same deal as if music still were part of a public school education: group lessons/orchestra and instrument rental for $25 per month.

“String education is also an investment in a child’s future,” Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra executive director Janet Kuester said in the press release. “Anyone who has looked at a symphony orchestra cannot help but see that the section of the orchestra that has the most players is the string section. So to play orchestral literature, amateur or professional, there has to be a large amount of players that can play string parts at a high level.

“With a limited budget for marketing, it is difficult to get the word out, but as more and more students find out about this Incredible Opportunity, the program should expand.”

Recent students who seized the opportunity, according to the release, were Kaylin Engler, 9, of Lansing; Shawna Gordon, 10, of Manhattan; Karrie Chidester, 9, of Beecher; and Harmony Corbin, 9, of New Lenox.

After only five months of playing, the children already have performed in the SYSO holiday concert and at a master class at Trinity Christian College on Feb. 2, the release said.

A second group of Incredible Opportunity students began their studies in January or February, the release said. The group includes Sarah Dababneh, 13, of Tinley Park; Patrick Flatly, 13, of Frankfort; Chloe Stroz, 12, of Orland Hills; and Logan Williams, 12, of Oak Forest, the release said.

Incredible Opportunity meets weekly from 3 to 4 p.m. Sundays from September through April, and SYSO meets from 4 to 5:30 p.m., both at The Music Connection, 9370 W. Laraway Road, Frankfort.

The cost of Incredible Opportunity is $25 per month. SYSO tuition is $45 per month.

For more information, visit www.suburbanyouthsymphony.org or email theSYSO@gmail.com.

Staff report



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