“So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning.” The words of American composer Aaron Copland marry well with the mission of Rush Hour to bring great music to busy lives. As we come to the close of our ‘08 season, I hope our weekly series has sustained and inspired each of your spirits.

The past thirteen weeks have once again constituted a remarkable journey of music-making on the part of the Rush Hour artists and “music-experiencing” on the part of you, our active and engaged audience. We hope you will take it with you into the winter months in memory or via our “In-A-Flash” flash drive. And we hope you will “tune in” here (rushhour.org) throughout the next nine months to hear ongoing Rush Hour Conversations and learn of off-season events.

An encore of thanks of large magnitude is in order: to our Board of Directors and our Advisory Committee for their year-round leadership and support; to all who have contributed financially at any level to help us meet our yearly operating budget and challenge grants, guaranteeing that these weekly concerts continued to remain free and open to all; to all the Rush Hour staff and volunteers who have worked devotedly and tirelessly all summer to produce the Rush Hour experience at the level of comfort, ease and stimulation you have come to expect; and finally, to my colleagues, who brought you the music of this season in all its variety and richness.

I hope you will continue to share news of Rush Hour with friends and colleagues and keep in touch with us as we prepare our 10th anniversary season in 2009. Finally, as is my custom at this time, let me recommend a few notable local series to you for the “winter season,” where you can find great chamber music and continue your own journeys into this wonderful art form.

St. James Cathedral Concerts

Don’t wait until next summer to hear more great music at St. James Cathedral! Bruce Barber, music director of St. James Cathedral, has crafted a wonderful series of concerts October – May. For more information, please pick up a flyer on your way out or visit www.saintjamescathedral.org.

The Chicago Chamber Musicians (CCM)

Many of the outstanding artists you heard this summer are members of the Grammy-nominated Chicago Chamber Musicians, now in their 22nd season. Considered “one of the indispensables of classical music in Chicago” by the Chicago Tribune, CCM offers free, noontime concerts on the first Monday of most months at the Chicago Cultural Center and the ensemble’s ticketed subscription series is held in Evanston and Chicago September – May. For more information about upcoming CCM concerts, please visit www.chicagochambermusic.org.

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts

The Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series provides free concerts 52 weeks a year, every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center. These concerts present talented young musicians early in their careers and are broadcast live on WFMT. On October 22 this year, the 31st anniversary of Hess concerts will be celebrated with the Avalon Quartet (who succeeded the Vermeer Quartet as quartet-in-residence at Northern Illinois University). For more information, visit www.imfchicago.org.

I wish you all a happy and healthy “winter season” and look forward to seeing you again next summer at Rush Hour!

– Deborah Sobol

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