Ten years old is one of life’s important milestones. For a child, it means “double digits” finally, and being taken more seriously – perhaps. For an arts organization, it means “double digits,” and definitely being taken more seriously.

Even with all the good intentions in the world, a young arts organization is very fragile and can cease to exist after only a few years. So, as we celebrate Rush Hour Concerts being ten years old, we can be proud that we survived those first unsure steps.

Eleven years ago, my friend Deborah Sobol told me what she was going to organize: a summer series of short weekly chamber concerts, opening always with light refreshments. She simply asked if I would be a sort of advisor, and of course I said, “Yes.” (It is very hard to say “no” to Deborah.) Also, I am the ideal appreciator of music as I play no instrument, and am in total awe that anyone can read those little black bird tracks and make sense of them, much less make gorgeous sounds from them. I love to listen to music, and I figured that there were many of us out there. I was right.

Within three years, our audience began to grow: from 40 – 50 per week in the first summers, to over 400 per week in recent summers. One of the elements of which I am so proud is that this child grew with many helping hands – many individuals who both volunteered their time and gave their money, as well as the wonderful foundations and organizations who have believed in us.

We never relied on one single individual as a sponsor, as so many fledgling groups do. They have an angel, but that angel is in reality a devilish handicap, because the strong support of one sometimes precludes the need for community ownership and support, thus preventing those baby steps from becoming strong strides.

Rush Hour has thrived, not due to an angel, but due to its own strength: the quality of the music heard – which means that, above and beyond all the hard work of the staff and supporters, it is simply that Chicagoans can hear sublime music every summer Tuesday in the afternoon.

The infant Rush Hour has grown up and is a part of the community, its arrival each summer is eagerly anticipated, and we are moving boldly forward towards our 20 year birthday!

– Anstiss Krueck,
Founding Member and Secretary,
Rush Hour Board of Directors

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