Carl Sandburg said, “Nothing happens unless first we dream.”

In 2000, Artistic Director and Founder Deborah Sobol imagined a series that would meet your needs and wishes as a cultural community–a place to enjoy great music that is free and welcoming to everyone. Many of you have embraced that vision, and thanks to your past gifts and support, Rush Hour has now reached this milestone season.

During the 2008 season, Rush Hour was touted to a nationwide audience of 9.2 million viewers on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams in its feature series, “What Works.” For ten years now, Rush Hour’s musical and aesthetic nourishment every Tuesday has worked beautifully for Chicago. We expect thousands of audience members to join us again this year.

Now, more than ever, our community needs the calm, inspiration and refreshment that is Rush Hour’s trademark. Our Board of Directors is ardently committed to Rush Hour’s mission of keeping the series free and accessible to all. It has issued a significant challenge grant opportunity in honor of the 10th anniversary–to raise the series’ full budget by June 30. The board has pledged to match $20,000 toward all new and increased gifts that help accomplish this goal–double its challenge match of 2008.

And, if you’re under 40 years of age, our groundbreaking donor challenge has returned again this year, with the Irving Harris Foundation matching $5,000 toward all gifts from donors under 40.

Acting now in either challenge grant opportunity will give your gift twice the impact.

I’m proud of Rush Hour’s unique place on Chicago’s cultural landscape. I hope that you, like me, will make a personal gift to help ensure that thousands of concertgoers can enjoy the Rush Hour experience this summer.

– Megan Balderston
Executive Director

To make a tax-deductible contribution to Rush Hour, please click here to visit

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