Today’s post comes from Rosie Drumgoole, Program Coordinator, Senior Services, for Chicago Cares.

Imagine coming down to breakfast one morning and having a group of Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians serenading you while you eat. That’s exactly what happened for a lucky group of residents a couple of Saturdays ago at a Chicago Housing Authority building in the Lincoln Park area.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has made it a goal this year to get more connected to their community, but their recent visit to the Chicago Cares Senior Breakfast Club program was not a fly-by-night publicity stunt. The CSO is trying to start a revolution with by turning its musicians into model citizens – “citizen musicians.”

The citizen musicians aim to use their talent and passion for music to enhance the quality of life in their community and beyond. With that spirit in mind the CSO looked to Chicago Cares to jumpstart this movement.

“We at the CSO are lucky to have the leadership at the very top of the organization advocating for our musicians and our institution to have more of a presence across the city as part of our new Citizen Musician initiative,” said Madeleine Walsh, the CSO’s learning and access department coordinator.

Four CSO musicians joined seniors and volunteers that Saturday morning – two on violin, one on bass and another playing the horn. The artists played a few selections for the residents and also took time to answer questions and talk about the history of their instruments.

Senior Breakfast Club brings socialization and a sense of community to variety of Chicago Housing Authority Senior building throughout the city of Chicago while taking care of the immediate hunger concerns that many of these low income residents face on a regular basis. Volunteers cook a healthy, hot breakfast for the seniors before playing a fun game of bingo to get the weekend started right. Senior Breakfast Club happens every Saturday morning at eight different sites throughout the city of Chicago.

Music talent or not, how will YOU be a “citizen” to enhance the quality of life for Chicagoans in need?

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