Welcome to the...
Chicago City Wide Symphony Orchestra
Players Jefferson Park Field House
Second Floor Auditorium
4822 North Long Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60630

Chung Yoon Park
Jefferson Park Field House


"Sometimes the present creates the future by breaking the shackles of the past; but sometimes the past creates the future by breaking the shackles of the present. The Enlightenment and modernism are examples of the former, the Renaissance, and perhaps our time, are examples of the latter."

- Frederick Turner

The City Wide Symphony Orchestra is dedicated to nurturing, facilitating, and promoting a community appreciation for symphonic music and the support of music as a lifelong avocation.

The orchestra provides an opportunity for talented Chicago area musicians of all ages to perform in a semi-professional orchestra through a variety of free concerts and programs that contribute to the cultural life of the community.

The orchestra promotes individual growth in musicianship and accomplishment of its members through mutual support.


The Chicago City Wide Symphony Orchestra had its beginning in 1947 when teacher Fanny A. Hassler agreed to conduct the first rehearsal of the future Northside Children's Orchestra at Eugene Field Park in Chicago. In 1953 the orchestra moved to the Jefferson Park Field House and continued under the direction of Fanny Hassler. The following year the orchestra was renamed "Students' Orchestra". During the years that followed the members were provided with scholarships to the Summer Music Camp at the University of Illinois. Most important to these young musicians were several summer trips to the Interlochen Music Camp in northern Michigan, as well as Carnegie Hall in New York, when the Chicago Park District provided the bus for the trip.

As the orchestra increased in size, and its members increased in age, Fanny divided the members into "Preparatory Orchestra", "Advanced Orchestra", and "Concert Orchestra". This made it possible to have individual orchestras tailored for those of all ages and advancement.

In 1955-1956 the orchestra performed in Orchestra Hall as guest performers and accompanists for the Young People's Song Festival of the Civic Music Association. The orchestra first appeared on television in 1955 on WGN-TV; and, in 1961, played a complete program on WTTW. The orchestra continued to prosper and perform regularly at Jefferson Park and at many events, including Humbolt Park Summer Concerts, Mooseheart Children's Home, the Parental School, and Grant Park Music Festivals.

In 1983 the organization became known as the "City Wide Orchestral Association" until 1996, when the Student Orchestra was discontinued because of lack of interest. The name "City Wide Symphony Orchestra" was formally adopted in 1996 to reflect its present day mission and future.

Fanny Hassler was the driving force that created and maintained a musical and orchestral experience for young and old alike. It was because of her vision, dedication and efforts that the City Wide Symphony Orchestra is here today. She retired from conducting in 1983 and donated her music library to the orchestra. Fanny passed away in March of 1996. Her name and memory is honored as the orchestra continues to play music from the "Fanny Hassler Music Library". On October 20, 1996 orchestra president Robert Beck presented, on behalf of the orchestra members, a plaque for display in the Jefferson Park Field House in remembrance of Fanny Hassler's contribution to the community and to the advancement of music appreciation.

Since its inception, the orchestra has relied on the continuous support and resources of the Chicago Park District.

Our history was provided by long time member, violinist and past president of the orchestra, Robert Beck.

Copyright © 2005-2017 Chicago City Wide Symphony Orchestra. All Rights Reserved.