Illinois Symphony Orchestra Hits a Home Run with their Concerts for Kids!

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Beth Wakefield
217-522-2838 x4

Take Me Out to the Symphony! Next week, over 5,000 students and teachers from central Illinois will experience your Illinois Symphony Orchestra led by Associate Conductor Jacobsen Woollen, performing LIVE music over two days and four performances of our FREE Concerts for Kids. Students will race around the track with the William Tell Overture, stretch it out in the 7th inning with Take Me Out to the Ballgame and learn the true meaning of sportsmanship with an athletic version of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.

We invite the media to come root for their HOME Orchestra and capture the excitement LIVE music provides!

Take Me Out to the symphony, Concerts for Kids
Tuesday, February 13, 2024 @ 9:45 AM & 12:15 PM
UIS Performing Arts Center, Springfield, IL

Wednesday, February 14, 2024 @ 9:30 AM & 11:45 AM
Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, Bloomington, IL

MEDIA Instructions
Please go to the main lobby at the UIS Performing Arts Center in Springfield on Tuesday, February 13th or to the main lobby at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts in Bloomington on Wednesday, February 14th to meet Beth Wakefield, Director of Marketing & Communications, for instructions as to where you may take video or pictures in the auditorium during the performances. Media may take up to 15 minutes of video footage but can only use up to 3 minutes during any broadcast or publication.

Concerts for Kids 2024 is supported by: Illinois Arts Council, An Agency of the State of Illinois, McLean County Arts Center *, Illinois Prairie Community Foundation - Mirza Arts & Cultural Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, Caitlin Beth Dungan Fund+, Ron & Josephine Gibbs Fund+, The Lilac Fund+, Charles R. Walbaum Memorial Fund+, Illinois Symphony Guild of Bloomington-Normal, Al Azinger, Elaine Buxbaum Cousins, Pete & Melinda LaBarre, Natalie & Bob Silverman, Dr. Stephen & Lisa Stone, Sarah H. Thomas, Sandra & Kenneth Jesse Endowment Fund for Schoolchildren, Susan Cook House Educational Trust

* This program was supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, an agency of the State of Illinois, the McLean County Arts Center, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
+ Funds of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln

Jacobsen Woollen is a conductor, cellist, and tenor residing in Springfield, Illinois, where he serves as Associate Conductor of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Conductor of the Illinois Symphony Youth Orchestra, Director of the Springfield Choral Society, and Director of the UIS Orchestra.

An Indiana native, Jacobsen returns to the Midwest after spending six years in Vienna, Austria, where he completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in orchestral conducting under the tutelage of Prof. Mark Stringer at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, conducted professional ensembles including the Polska Filharmonia Baltycka and Ensemble Ultreia, served as assistant conductor of the Vienna Opera Festival, and led the Schlosschor Hadersfeld. During his Vienna years, Jacobsen was frequently called back to the Midwest to work at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, where he served as assistant conductor and led several workshops for new works, including Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones. 

The Illinois Symphony Orchestra is central Illinois’ largest professional orchestra serving over 35,000 patrons in the communities of Bloomington-Normal, Springfield and the surrounding region with symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, and Concerts for Kids series in each community. In addition to concert performances, the Orchestra's music education and outreach programs serve pre-K and elementary schools through the Itsy Arts and Music Matters education programs and reach middle schools, high schools, universities, community organizations and senior centers through guest artist residencies and musician and ensemble performances. The ISO also has an active Around the Town Chamber Music Series and virtual Sunday at Six Recital Series. The Illinois Symphony Orchestra has a budget of approximately $1.4 million.

In July 2020, the ISO acquired the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony (SVYS) organization that was started in the early 1970s by parents, music teachers and musicians to keep string programs and youth orchestra in Springfield and surrounding communities following the elimination of all school orchestra programs. Now, the Illinois Symphony Youth Orchestras (ISYO) programs consist of Starter and Junior Strings, Preparatory Orchestra, Concert Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra serving over 300 students. The ISO also has a partnership in education and community engagement (PEACE) with the UIS-School of Music and Illinois State University’s Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts and School of Music.

Additional information about the Illinois Symphony Orchestra is available at

The ISO is partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


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