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Three members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra were honored at the 54th Annual CSO Musicians’ Luncheon, hosted by the League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and held May 25 in Symphony Center’s Grainger Ballroom.

Violist Diane Mues, violinist Susan Synnestvedt and bass trombonist Charles Vernon, each a 30-year veteran of the CSO, were saluted for their service. In addition, Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson, the CSO’s principal flute, was welcomed as a first-year member. Jeff Alexander, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, and Mimi Duginger, president of the League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, thanked the honorees, who received commemorative gifts.

“Every year the League of the CSOA looks forward with great anticipation to the Musicians’ Luncheon,” Duginger said. “It is truly one of the highlights of our season — and it’s great fun! We celebrate [the musicians] for the tremendous joy and beauty they bring into our lives. We are most grateful for their talent and dedication to what we consider the finest orchestra in the world.”

Duginger also emphasized the importance of this annual event in building relationships between the League and CSO members. “As concertgoers, we are able to admire the musicians from afar,” she said. “As League members, we have the unique and rare opportunity to have a personal relationship with the musicians. Over the years, many longtime friendships between League members and musicians have formed through past luncheons. Our luncheon also provides a wonderful opportunity for the CSOA staff to interact with members of the League and the musicians in order to complete the full circle of the CSOA family.

“The reminiscences of the 30-year musicians often bring tears to our eyes as they share their intimate memories and stories with us. The history of the CSOA is remembered through their tenures with past music directors who were tremendous influences on their personal and professional lives.”

Planning is already under way for next year’s Musicians’ Luncheon, which will mark the 55th edition of this venerable event.

TOP: A panoramic view of the annual Musicians’ Luncheon, held May 25 in Symphony Center’s Grainger Ballroom. | ©Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017