This summer, Rush Hour and I will celebrate an anniversary, too; one that is a year or two shy of the series’ 10 year existence. Given the sometimes impatient nature of modern times, I’m often asked why I’ve stayed connected to an organization for so long. For anyone who’s heard or lived that Robert Browning quote (“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be…”), you know that part of the fun is seeing something evolve and anticipating what’s coming next. And, with RH, seeing how things haven’t changed–in the best way.

For me, RH is and has been about breaking down any pre-conceived notions about classical music, putting it all out there on the table and welcoming everyone to come over and enjoy, family-style. Like some, I thought classical music was esoteric and complicated–an ephemeral affair with the cornet in 5th grade and hearing “Rhapsody in Blue” at United’s O’Hare terminal were the extent of my exposure with classical music… until I got out of the way of myself and just enjoyed it for the experience it is. Some days, I’m intently following each piece; other days, I’m just happy to have a moment’s rest!

As a member of RH’s Fanfare Board, whose goal is to reach out to new audiences, I’m always telling people to try it, they might like it (to paraphrase that old cereal ad). No tux n’ tails or Ph.D in music theory are required–just an open and curious mind. The series truly offers something for everyone and appeases the senses, whether you’re chatting with friends and musicians, noshing on cheese and wine or letting the music wash over you in a 30-minute respite. Chicago’s notoriously short summers are jam-packed with activities and events, but RH is a great complement to and microcosm of the things that are happening and offered here.

But enough about why I think RH is so great–I encourage you to tell us why the free summer concert series rocks your summer, whether you’re a long-time supporter like me or are planning your first trip in ’09. Email the Fanfare Board at and let us know. We’ll be posting and responding to comments here on our website throughout the year.

– Kristin Lunardini
Secretary, Fanfare Board

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