By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

NORTHBROOK, Ill. (CBS) — The Northbrook Symphony Orchestra has been brightening up the winter during the coronavirus pandemic by offering complimentary broadcasts to Chicago area schoolchildren.

Northbrook Symphony Orchestra Music Director Mina Zikri recorded two performances – one featuring Chicago Symphony Concertmaster Robert Chen, and the other to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday, the orchestra announced in a news release.

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The symphony offered broadcast performances not only for subscribers, patrons, and ticketholders who are at home, but also to area schools and to health care workers on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.

The “virtual field trips” for schools include performances of works by Mozart or Beethoven, and a live introduction and question-and-answer session by Maestro Zikri. More than 400 students have partaken so far this year, and more broadcasts are set for this month and next, and beyond.

“This effort dovetails nicely with our mission of encouraging attendance by young audiences. We always offer complimentary admission to children ages 7 to 18 with a paying adult,” James Karagianis, President of the NSO Board said in a news release.

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The Northbrook Symphony Orchestra noted that it also partners with Bravo Waukegan to help school music programs in Waukegan – donating band and orchestral instruments and guitars to benefit students. This year, Waukegan High School graduates Brandon Carranza, Esai Torres, and Brittney Huerta received scholarships through the program as they go on to pursue fine arts degrees in college.

Meanwhile, in addition to the broadcast performances for health care workers in area hospitals, the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra will also offer complimentary season subscriptions to all health care workers when in-person concerts resume.

“Music reminds us of the depth and beauty of our human experience. It has always provided peace and hope, especially during stressful times throughout history. Music is Life after all,” Zikri said in the news release.

Schools and health care organizations interested in receiving a broadcast from the orchestra, or music instrument donors, may contact the Northbrook Symphony offices at (847) 272-0755 or info@northbrooksymphony.org.

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