A richly rewarding collaboration, which sprang from a breakfast meeting held earlier this year in West Chicago between Mayor Ruben Pineda, other City leaders, and DuPage Symphony Orchestra Board members Shelley Campbell and Kristin Chmiel, resulted in a showcase for the artwork of West Chicago High School District 94 Photography, Drawing and ESL students.
As plans for the DSO’s return to the stage at Wentz Hall in Naperville on October 16 took shape, Campbell extended an invitation to West Chicago schools to collaborate. Her intention was to enhance the experience for Symphony patrons through a complementary exhibit of student artwork, while providing a meaningful outlet for student expression and celebration of the newly forming community partnership.
The concert’s program Darkness & Light, under the direction of Maestra Barbara Schubert, is part of the DSO’s season of reflection and celebration and included works from Leonard Bernstein, Frank Ticheli, William Grant Still, and Antonin Dvořák’. Selections were significant in conveying the recent dark days of a pandemic that took the lives of millions of people worldwide, as well as the light that comes from hope and renewal.
Likewise The Art of Darkness & Light Exhibit, coordinated through Lisa Willuweit, Arts and Humanities Division Head at D94 and classroom teachers Megan Dulkinys, David Exner, and Mark Poulterer was equally compelling, and well received. Stunning images in contrast lined the long exhibit tables in the lobby outside the concert hall against the backdrop of expansive windows overlooking the urban night streetscape of Naperville. The overall effect was nothing short of sublime.
Mayor Ruben Pineda, who attended the event and was recognized from the stage by DSO Executive Vice President Cherilyn G. Murer as a Distinguished Ambassador for promoting the DSO’s mission, spent time admiring the artwork and sharing his pride for the talent and enthusiasm of the represented students, and his appreciation for the powerful musical selections of the evenings performance.
“I’m blown away by seeing our community showcased at such a prestigious event. These students have made our City proud tonight. It’s a credit to our schools to have teachers, administrators, and Board members who encourage our youth to challenge themselves and to reach for the stars,” he said. “And I’m so grateful for the partnership forged between the City of West Chicago and the DuPage Symphony Orchestra. What a tremendous opportunity for our community to connect with a cultural powerhouse and to collaborate on this level,” said Mayor Pineda.