Monday, September 29, 2014


Jay Friedman (conductor), orchestra members and audience all agreed!  Yesterday's concert was a huge success in every way:  we had a very large and appreciative audience, Jay's conducting was spectacular and the orchestra performed at its highest level to date.


In "Pictures at an Exhibition, Stokowski's version, the orchestra pulled out all of the stops to create excitement and drama at every turn.  


John Bruce Yeh and Teresa Reilly thrilled the audience with their beautiful playing of Mendelssohn's Konzertstück for two clarinets.


Our playing of Strauss's "Death and Transfiguration" was in top shape, due to the excellent tutoring session from Maestro Muti a few days earlier and executed in final form by Jay Friedman.


Many new audience members reported that they would be back!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Maestro Muti's Visit

Maestro Riccardo Muti came to our rehearsal on Wednesday, September 24!  He helped us rehearse "Tod und Verklärung" by Richard Strauss, a piece we will perform at our concert on Sunday, September 28. 

The mood of the orchestra was "excited", "thrilled", and "happy".  We all tried to play our best!  Maestro Muti set us at our ease immediately by his little jokes and huge charm!  He was quite tough with us, though, asking us to repeat, repeat, repeat certain phrases until they were just right!  It was like watching a potter shape a lump of clay into a beautiful object.  In fact, he, himself, stated that conducting an orchestra was like sculpting a flower.  As he spoke and showed with his hands the beautiful flower, we all knew what he meant.

What a fantastic evening!  It's one we will never forget!  Many thanks to our conductor, Jay Friedman, a colleague of Muti's, for arranging this great event!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Maestro Muti Returns!

Riccardo Muti, the esteemed conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will come to our rehearsal on Wednesday, September 24.  He will take us through "Death and Transfiguration" by Richard Strauss, which is to be played at our concert on September 28.  

Last year, he worked with us at a rehearsal of "Les Préludes".  It was magical to watch his hands and face as he communicated all of the musical directions without speaking!  After the run-through, he asked us to play small sections of the music.  He made suggestions on how to play it better.  Meanwhile, he had us all smiling and laughing with his charming ways!  So, not only did the orchestra learn a lot from the maestro, we enjoyed every minute.
I'll report tomorrow on how things went!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Teacher and Student!


A teacher and his student have re-united in the orchestra! Don Schmalz, a long-time player and former concertmaster of the orchestra, was Margaret Fiorito's first teacher!  She was in elementary school at the time.  And now they both play for the Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest!  Don has a number of students who have become professional players.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

First Rehearsal on Wednesday, August 20!!

After a hiatus of over two months, orchestra members are gearing up for the first rehearsal.  The first concert (September 28) will be a thrilling group of orchestral pieces by Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss and Mussorgsky!
The players are anxious to get going on the music, just as audience members eagerly await the first concert of 2014/2015.
Orchestra members are particularly thrilled about a rehearsal on September 24 with Riccardo Muti, the world famous conductor of the CSO!
We have a few changes this year.  Some key players are moving out of state.  We say good-bye to Marybeth Harrison (assistant concertmaster), Doug Hettinger (principal cello) and Naomi Hildner (principal viola) as we look forward to meeting the new players who will replace them.

Monday, July 14, 2014



Doc Ryan's at 7432 W. Madison Street in Forest Park
for Doug Hettinger (cello) & Mary Beth Harrison (violin) before they leave for Seattle

Doug has been our prinicipal cellist for a number of years.
Mary Beth has been our assistant concertmaster for a number of years, also.
We will be saying a sad good-bye, also, to Jaren Hillard (oboe & Stage Manager)
as we wish him well with his new job in Miami
You may order off the menu
Take part in the following party packages:

All the pizza, draft beer/wine & tip for $25 a person
$20 for a pizz/pop option
$15 for kids12 and under
Under 5 free

Jaren Hillard, left - - David Barford, French horn, right

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Annual Meeting at House Red in Forest Park.
A good time was had by all!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Everyone is invited to the Annual Meeting!

At 7403 W. Madison Street
Forest Park, IL


Friday, May 23, 2014

Thursday Night Out Was a Great Success!

Thursday Night Out was a great success!  

We had an appreciative audience and gained new subscribers!!

Maurice Boyer, Assistant Conductor, with David Leehey, Board President

Yi-Chen Huang, Violin, Sandra Korelc and Naomi Hildner, Viola

Players donated their time and talent for this event.

Suzanne McBride, Eliot Abarbanel, Donna Byrne, Edward Bingham

Beth Hoover, General Manager, with Tom Steffens

Paula Johanessen, Denise Boneau and Yi-Chen Huang, warming up.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


May 22, 7. p.m.

Marion and Westgate Streets in Downtown Oak Park

Come and hear us play outside under the stars!  Get discount tickets from local restaurants.

A fun evening for all!

Click here to find out more.

YouTube Video

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rehearsing With Cynthia Yeh

Our general manager, Beth Hoover, managed to get this shot from last Wednesday's rehearsal with Cynthia Yeh.  Here she is shown rehearsing a new work that was written just for her!  It's the "Concerto for Vibraphone and Orchestra" by Richard Kvistad.  

The orchestra loved the piece!  It's unusual, yet amazingly beautiful . . . in a modern idiom!

Cynthia Yeh is the Principal Percussionist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which means she is a colleague of Jay Friedman, who is Principal Trombone of the CSO.  Also, it means she beat out many, many players for this position, which means she is a phenomenal musician!

This piece will be performed at our concert on May 18, 2014.  It's a World Premiere!

Monday, February 3, 2014

 TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11 from 6 - 9 p.m.
When you mention you are a friend of the S/OP&RF we will receive 15% of the sale at these stores:

House of Red

(10% of the sale to the orchestra, open until 10 p.m.)


All on Madison Street in Forest Park.

Start out the evening at American Artworks Gallery for refreshments at 6 PM and later join us at House Red for an after shopping party at   9 PM!