The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest~85 Years Great!

At our last concert of the season, Maestro Jay Friedman received the Illinois Council of Orchestras' 2017 Community Orchestra Conductor of the Year Award.

In his speech, Mr. Clemons mentioned that it was an unanimous vote to award our director with this award!


From left to right: David Leehey S/OP&RF Board President, Gregory Clemons, President of the ICO, and S/OP&RF Music Director Jay Friedman.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Music on the Patio
06:30 PM - 09:30 PM

Cheney Manson
Cheney Mansion
220 N Euclid Ave
Oak Park, IL 60302

Enjoy a summer evening sampling the music of the Symphony of Oak Park River Forest on the grounds of Cheney Mansion. Cheney Mansion will provide limited seating on our lawn or bring a blanket and spread out to soak up the sounds of one of the nation's oldest community orchestras. Your registration will include 2 glasses of wine or non-alcoholic beverage per person registered. To complete your picnic, purchase a boxed light meal for an additional charge. Entry will be through the front gate where your wristband and drink tickets will be handed out. Tickets are available at door for $45. (Boxed meals must be ordered at registration)

Individual Tickets click below
Purchase tickets online

We are counting on you to help secure the future of your Symphony!

Make your tax-deductible donation via PalPal or mail your check to:
S/OP&RF - P.O. Box 3564 - Oak Park, IL - 60303-3564

Contribution categories:
$1,000+ Sforzando
$500-999 Crescendo
$250-499 Fortissimo
$100-249 Forte
$50-99 Mezzo-forte
$25-49 Accents


We are honored to have received the following awards from the ICO:

1998 Programming of the Year Award

1999 Special Events Award, for Services to Young Musicians

2001 Conductor of the Year, Jay Friedman

2002 Outstanding Community Relations Award

2004 Community Orchestra of the Year & General Manager of the Year, Beth Hoover

2011 Conductor of the Year, Jay Friedman & Community Orchestra of the Year

2013 Board President of the Year, David Leehey


Look to the Future. Celebrate the Present. Remember the Past

The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest, founded in 1931 by Gladys Welge, is one of the oldest community orchestras in the country. Originally a "Sunday School orchestra" at a church in Oak Park, in its early years the orchestra played for church services and gave concerts. By 1933, the fledgling orchestra had grown in size and began to perform major works from the symphonic repertoire.

The orchestra gave concerts continuously, with no break, throughout the decades of the 20th century and into the early years of the 21st century, surviving economic upheavals such as the Great Depression, World War II, the rock and roll revolution, and changing tastes and mores.Some of the factors in the success of this community orchestra are:

  1. The artistic vision and musical leadership of its conductors.

  2. The dedicated and talented amateurs, semiprofessionals and professionals who play in the orchestra, attend rehearsals each week and practice at home.

  3. The support of the boards of directors and community.

  4. The geographical and collegial proximity to Chicago, which has had a positive influence in many ways, especially the connections with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, from whose ranks a number of our conductors and soloists have come.

The mission of the SYMPHONY of Oak Park & River Forest is three-fold:

  • To provide the opportunity for orchestral and vocal musicians to perform symphonic works together at the highest possible level of artistry;
  • To provide the opportunity for all of the members of our diverse local community to experience symphonic music in live performances of high quality; and
  • To foster the appreciation, understanding, and enjoyment of symphonic music by present and future generations.

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All performances are held at the Dominican University Performing Arts Center. Lund Auditorium is located at 7900 West Division Street in River Forest. Each concert begins at 4:00 pm, with pre-concert conversations with David Leehey at 3:00 pm and seating at 3:30. Tickets can be purchased from Dominican University online, by calling 708-488-5000, or at the door.