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Musicians from third grade through college are served by the award-winning Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, whose participants are from 55 communities. (Photo provided)

A traditional English high tea inspired by the hit PBS show "Downton Abbey" will serve as a fundraiser for the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra Student Scholarship Fund. The elegant table will be set from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7. The benefit is a project of the Tea-lanthropy Women’s Giving Circle of the EYSO.

The ladies tea will be held in the historic Oscar Swan Country Inn, 1800 W. State St., Geneva. Tickets cost $45, and may be purchased by calling the EYSO office at 847-841-7700, or emailing Tea seating is limited. The tax-deductible portion of the ticket price is $20.

Honorary chairwoman of the benefit is Sandy Kaptain, wife of Elgin Mayor David Kaptain. She will be tea hostess this year. Accompanying the tea will be finger sandwiches, special desserts and scones with Devonshire cream.

The tea party will feature:

• One of the beloved Downton Abbey characters portrayed by a local Fox Valley actress

• Hat and accessories fashion show of items from The Little Traveler in Geneva

• Door prizes and surprises

Guests are welcome to dress in period fashions including favorite hat. Music will be provided by students from the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Serving youth in third grade through college, the EYSO is committed to making participation accessible to any qualified student regardless of financial need. Because the orchestra is an in-residence ensemble at the Elgin Community College Arts Center, students who are 16 years old at the beginning of a semester are eligible to earn college credit while playing in the EYSO.


The theme will be "Bardology: The Genius of Shakespeare, Musically Speaking" as the 38th season celebrates the genius and influence of William Shakespeare with some of the greatest works for orchestra ever written.

EYSO Program

• Focused comprehensive learning environment with concert programs created around a central season theme
• Performances at unique venues and locations (Ravinia, Park West, Scotland, Atlanta)
• World-class conductors/teachers committed to the entire musical and educational experience
• Alumni have studied at internationally recognized institutions and have successful music careers
• Opportunities to work and perform with renowned musicians
• Forming friendships with musicians from communities throughout the Chicago area
• EYSO Honors Chamber Ensembles: Maud Powell String Quartet, Sterling Brass Quintet, and Hanson String Quartet
• Brass Choir, a large ensemble for brass players
• Chamber Music Institute: individualized coaching and concerts
• Masterclasses with such artists as Midori and Yo-Yo Ma over the years

Since its founding in 1976, the EYSO has focused on a comprehensive learning environment, exploring the music beyond just performance skills and wonderful concerts, note the staff. This begins in the weekly rehearsal where the emphasis is on how the music is put together, and how it is a reflection of where and when it was written. Visit
The Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra is home to five orchestras and a brass choir with 350 students from 55 communities. Artistic Director Randal Swiggum recently celebrated his 15th year with the organization. The EYSO is partially supported by grants from the EFS Foundation, the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission, the Grand Victoria Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Palmer Foundation.