Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) Board President Karen Schock is the winner of the 2017 YWCA Elgin Volunteer & Community Service Award. She and other winners were honored at the 34th Annual Leader Luncheon on Thursday, May 11. Guest speaker was State Senator Cristina Castro. For more information, see ywcaelgin.org. In addition to being a 30-year subscriber to the ESO with her husband Ed, Karen Schock has been an ESO Trustee since 2007, a member of the board since 2009 and was elected Board President 2013, a position she will hold until June 2017. Ms. Schock has worked tirelessly through the decades to make the Elgin community a better place to live and work. Through the years, she has been involved with the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin, Gail Borden Library Foundation, Food for Greater Elgin, Elgin Heritage Foundation, and Gifford Park & East Side Neighborhood Associations.
Karen Schock was the founding co-chair of the Gail Borden Library Foundation Annual Book Sale which offers books for sale through six different venues, raising funds which support special projects and exhibits at the library including the summer reading program, the Robot Zoo, Discover Space, and the upcoming Dinosaur exhibit. To date they have raised over $250,000 for library activities and projects with a product price-point of only $1 and $2. A longtime member of the Elgin Heritage Commission, Ms. Schock served as both the Chair and Vice Chair. During her Vice Chair term, the commission passed the Historic Preservation Ordinance. She also co-authored the book “Elgin’s Heritage: Architecture” which explores the historical and economic circumstances which gave rise to different architectural housing styles in Elgin since 1845. Ms. Schock also served as a docent for the Gifford Park House Walk and co-authored the Gifford Park Association House Walk Booklet in 1989.
Ms. Schock was honored by the Boys & Girls Club as their Volunteer of the Year for her work with at-risk youth. As the Chair and Founder of the Keeping the Promise Foundation, she helps students fulfill their dream of going to college. Ms. Schock was a founding member and the chair of the Elgin Charter School Initiative, where she recruited members to the Design Committee and oversaw the application process. She coordinated the work of different sub-committees, presented the proposed program to the community at large, as well as various groups (Rotary, Kiwanis, neighborhood groups, etc.), and coordinated the work between the Elgin volunteers and their partners in the process. She was the primary spokesperson to the community and to the newspapers.
Ms. Schock is currently volunteering at Food for Greater Elgin as a facilitator as they go through their strategic planning process. She has even found ways to support the community through acting, in both the Elgin Cemetery Walk and in the play Love, Loss and What I Wore, which raised over $5000 for the Community Crisis Center.
Ms. Schock is a board member of East Side Neighbors, board member and president of the North East Neighborhood Association, board member and chair of the Elgin Heritage Commission and member of the Neighborhood Housing Authority Board of Directors.
The YWCA Leader Luncheon is attended by hundreds of community leaders, business and community representatives and volunteers to acknowledge and honor women in Elgin and the surrounding communities who have made significant contributions to the Arts, Business & Professions, Communications/Technology, Education, Public Service, Social Service, Volunteer/Community Service and Racial Justice. YWCA Elgin is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities.
Now at the end of its 66th season, the ESO offers programming unmatched for an entertaining, informative and relaxing cultural experience. The ESO has won Illinois Professional Orchestra of the Year an unprecedented four times – in 1988, 1999, 2005 and 2016. The ESO works to create an enjoyable entertainment experience that goes beyond the magnificent music performed by some of the best musicians in the region. There is accessible, free parking around the Hemmens Cultural Center and valet service available. Area student musicians often perform in the lobby before concerts and patrons can purchase gifts at the Elgin Symphony League Boutique. Pre-concert chats are given by Andrew Grams, guest artists and others one hour before most performances and Saturday night patrons are invited after concerts to Mingle with the Musicians at the Elgin Public House. In addition, free Listeners Club lecture/discussions presented by music historian Jim Kendros are offered before ESO Classics Series concert weekends on Wednesdays at Greenfields of Geneva and the Gail Borden Public Library. Flex passes are available for purchase so that you can choose your concerts at a later date based on your own schedule. And if a patron can’t make a concert, the ESO offers free exchanges to subscribers and to single ticket buyers for a $5 fee. The ESO is a world-class orchestra providing quality musical explorations that are entertaining, hassle-free and conveniently located close to home in the western suburbs. For more information, see ElginSymphony.Org.