Homewood-Flossmoor area residents were treated to an evening of outdoor music in what local officials hope was the start of an annual tradition.
The inaugural Chamber Night, headlined by a performance of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra String Quartet, was held the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 18, in front of the Flossmoor Public Library.
The event, also featuring the Homewood Flossmoor Suzuki Summer Strings Orchestra, was a joint effort of the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce, Homewood Area Chamber of Commerce, village of Flossmoor and the Flossmoor Business Association, in addition to several sponsors.
“I have a passion for the arts and music,” Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson said. “I also have a passion for small businesses. I had this idea to bring the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra to the community, and I wanted to partner with an organization that also supports small businesses, and that’s Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce.”
Nelson said the chamber’s executive director, Terri Winfree, is an “an amazing supporter of the South Suburbs” and it was great working with the organization and their other partners to bring this event together. It drew approximately 200 to downtown Flossmoor for shopping, dining and entertainment by the time the opening act started.
Winfree called the event coming together the way it did “a dream,” as the goal for the chamber was to draw attention to small businesses in the area.
“It’s just helping the community,” Winfree said. “That’s what we do. We’re all one community, the Chicago Southland.”
Winfree said she was particularly excited about the youths opening the show and hopefully finding some inspiration in the Illinois Philharmonic. But she also simply enjoyed seeing the community enjoying an evening together.
“I love it,” she said. “We still have to be careful, but this is good.”
Alice Lanman, of Dunning’s Market, was selling beer and wine from a cart alongside the festivities. And people could get food from downtown businesses to eat at the event, for which blankets and folding chairs were encouraged. Lauri Marsh, of Flossmoor, opted for a sandwich from Dunning’s, which she called “fantastic.”
“Dunning’s is the bomb,” she said, adding that she was having a great time. “The ambiance of this evening is what is bringing our family and friends out together, and it’s just a joyful event — one amongst many more to come.”
She was joined for the evening by Ruby Marsh and Deborah Okleshen, who said they were all about supporting anything Flossmoor does.
“I love my community,” Okleshen said. “I support my community, and we’re excited to have this.”
For Marcellus Marsh, seeing people together and having a great time was a nice reward for the work he put into doing marketing, media, print materials and social media through his company, Bionic Content. His team shot photos and video at the event, as well.
“It’s amazing to get the event up and running,” Marsh said. “I actually grew up here. This is an amazing time just to see the event come to fruition and experience it in my hometown.”
Photos by Bill Jones (BJ)/H-F Chronicle and Bionic Content (BC).