28-year-old classical music staple Discover Symphony orchestra plays last live concert in Park Ridge amid COVID Illinois setbacks


PARK RIDGE, Ill. (WLS) — A staple of classical music on the North Shore, the Discover Symphony played its last concert on Sunday afternoon in Park Ridge.

“I think music is temporary by nature. You know, I mean, it’s like a flower that’s gonna last a little while and then, you know. So music’s always temporary, but beauty lasts forever,” said James Sanders, who plays the violin for the Discover Symphony.

The 28-year-old nonprofit shuttered operations after losing their main performance space and not being able to replace a primary sponsor.

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Attending Sunday were longtime members of the orchestra and students of the performers, a group whose tight connections were frayed in the end with the pandemic-related challenge of getting people to come out.

Douglas Broderick plays the clarinet and was part of the symphony for two decades.

“You feel like family when you play together with these people for so long. I sit next to a bassoon player, for example. And you remember when their kid went to college, and now she’s a grandmother, so you get to know everyone on a personal level when you’ve been in a group for that long,” he said.

The orchestra has won numerous awards through its three decades performing such standards as Mozart and Beethoven, as well as new compositions.

“I personally feel like everybody needs beautiful art. And I think that music is just an art form that that feeds the soul,” said Tamara Glassburg, who plays the violin.

Therese Parisoli, who plays the viola, also weighed in.

“I am honored to be playing with these phenomenal musicians they are outstanding players and they bring out the best in me,” Parisoli said.

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In the end, some new sponsors were found, but not enough to change Discover Symphony’s direction.

“The showing with young people and diverse age group is uplifting. It gives you a little bit more enthusiasm, a little more courage to try to go forward if it’s available. You never know. We wouldn’t. Again, we would not say, ‘never say never,'” said Discover Symphony Executive Director Pamela Benitez.

If, by some miracle, they can get enough sponsorships and new venue to call home, the board president and the executive director said they would gladly continue the work they’ve been doing for nearly three decades.

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