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McConnaughay spotlights everyday hero, Stu Ainsworth, Elgin Symphony Orchestra

This month, Senator McConnaughay spotlights Sterling (Stu) Ainsworth, a board member and longtime supporter of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO), and the namesake for the orchestra’s 2017 Ainsworth Concerts for Youth.

Ainsworth currently serves as Chairman of the Board’s Education Committee and member of the Education and Community Outreach Committee. He uses his vast knowledge and passion for classical music to coordinate the orchestra’s youth programming and promote music education for students.

“Stu Ainsworth has been one of the ESO’s greatest champions,” says Education Manager Wendy Evans. “He supports the organization with great enthusiasm, volunteerism, friendship and generosity."

Prior to joining ESO’s team, Ainsworth had already built a strong reputation in the music community—locally and internationally. Ainsworth spent years traveling with the Berkshire Choral Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Canterbury, England; Salzburg, Austria; and Sheffield, Massachusetts. Additionally, from 1992 to 2000, Ainsworth served as a board member, as well as board president of the Elgin Master Chorale, formerly known as Elgin Choral Union.

Though active in the Elgin community, Ainsworth lives and volunteers in St. Charles as well. He was a board member and event chairman for the St. Charles Art & Music Festival and has co-chaired seven of the past eight American Grand concerts. He has been actively involved with Kiwanis International as a past president and a current member of their Programs Committee. He is also a member of the St. Charles Noon Club, the St. Charles Golden K Club and was a previous lieutenant governor for Division 10. Additionally, as a product of his love for travel, he was one of the founding members of the Fox Valley Rovers Travel Group, which he still belongs to.

Although music is abundant in his everyday life, Ainsworth pursued a career in agriculture. In college, he earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and went on to work in commercial agriculture, with a special focus in insects and weeds, and has held positions in agricultural projects, field sales, marketing, product management and sales management for large chemical businesses.

“The summer youth concert series is one of Elgin’s best programs and events, and Stu plays such an integral role in its success,” said Senator McConnaughay. “Art and music education provides so many mental and academic benefits and unique opportunities for young people. We need more role models like Stu to showcase their love of the arts and keep them thriving in our communities.”

The ESO’s Ainsworth Concerts for Youth series will be presented at Elgin's Hemmens Cultural Center on April 4 for middle school students and on April 5, April 6 and April 7 for elementary students, where they’ll learn about musical instruments, composition and the elements of music.

McConnaughay is honored to recognize Stu Ainsworth for his contributions and talents at the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, and his efforts to promote youth music education in the community. For more information about the 2017 Ainsworth Concerts for Youth program, please visit

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