The ESO’s field trip concerts for students have been renamed Ainsworth Concerts for Youth in honor of ESO board member and supporter Stu Ainsworth of St. Charles, IL. Mr. Ainsworth is the ESO chair of the board’s education committee and of the Education and Community Outreach Committee. His particular focus as a volunteer has been music education for school children. The 2017 Ainsworth Concerts for Youth will take place at Elgin’s Hemmens Cultural Center on April 4 for middle school students and on April 5 and April 7 for elementary students. There are (2) two 45-minute performances each day at 9:45 and 11:15 am. The program, titled Compose Yourself! by James Stephenson has the perfect blend of education and entertainment. Students learn about the instruments of the orchestra and get the chance to compose a piece using three elements of music-melody, harmony, and rhythm. The program is lighthearted and comical and musicians enjoy performing the concert, with its entertaining theatrical aspects. Tickets are $7.50 per student. Teachers and chaperones receive one (1) free ticket for every 10 seats purchased. Open to all schools and homeschool groups, reservations may be made with ESO Education Manager Wendy Evans at [email protected], or by calling 847-888-0404, ext. 238. For more information about the ESO, visit ElginSymphony.Org.
As a native of northwest Iowa, S.E. “Stu” Ainsworth graduated from Iowa State College with a degree in Agriculture. His entire professional career was devoted to commercial agriculture, with emphasis on control of insects and weeds. Prior to his retirement from Abbott Laboratories, as manager of Global Agricultural Projects, Mr. Ainsworth held positions in field sales, marketing, product management, and sales management for large chemical businesses, including Dow Chemical, CIBA-Geigy, and International Minerals & Chemicals.
Mr. Ainsworth has been involved with many community organizations. He has served as a board member, as well as board president of the Elgin Choral Union (now Elgin Master Chorale) where he was involved from 1992-2000; he is a board member and event chairman for the St. Charles Art & Music Festival and has co-chaired seven of the past eight American Grand presentations. Mr. Ainsworth has participated in performances of the Berkshire Choral Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Canterbury, England; Salzburg, Austria; and Sheffield, Massachusetts. He is also very involved with Kiwanis International as a Past-President and is a current member of the St. Charles NoonClub, and the St. Charles Golden K Club, as well as a Past-Lieutenant Governor of Division 10. Mr. Ainsworth is a founding member of the Fox Valley Rovers Travel Group (with 32 members) and enjoys traveling, gardening, and hiking. Mr. Ainsworth’s wife Tammy passed in 1993. They have four sons and four grandchildren.
Leading American orchestras, instrumentalists, and wind ensembles around the world have performed the music of Chicago-based composer James M. Stephenson, both to critical acclaim and the delight of audiences. The Boston Herald raved about “straightforward, unabashedly beautiful sounds,” suggesting “Stephenson deserves to be heard again and again!” A formal sense of melody and tonality characterize his music, each embedded in a contemporary soundscape. These qualities, coupled with the composer’s keen ability to write to each occasion, have led to a steady stream of commissions and ongoing projects.Additionally, Compose Yourself!, Stephenson’s landmark young-audience work has now been performed over 300 times since its creation in 2002, engaging children in New Zealand and Canada and across the U.S.
Thousands of area students have attended ESO youth concerts since 1951 when the orchestra was founded, with education prominent in its mission “to serve and engage a broad audience through the performance of powerful symphonic music and dynamic educational programs while developing strong community relationships.” These concerts are designed to introduce children in grades 1-8 to the fundamentals of music. Teachers are given educational materials in advance to help enhance learning. The ESO has also partnered with District U-46 school Lowrie Elementary, which has a 90% poverty rate, to provide complimentary tickets to the concerts, providing access to many who otherwise would not have a classical music concert experience. See ElginSymphony.Org for more information.