North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central to host "Chords for Kids" concert for children with autism

North Central College will host “Chords for Kids,” the fourth annual free concert for children with autism and their families at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 13, in Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Music and motion come together as children with autism and other special needs experience performances of classical music in a world-class concert hall. The College's Concert Winds ensemble will perform works selected for an audience whose members are free to make noise and move around during the performance. The Concert Winds ensemble performs under the direction of North Central College Associate Professor of Music and Director of Bands Lawrence Van Oyen. “I know the band really enjoys performing for the kids,” Van Oyen says. “I hope the kids in the audience are having fun with their families too.” This will be the second time the concert will be held in North Central’s acoustically perfect Wentz Concert Hall, which was dedicated in October 2008. The event's organizers include Karen Anderson of Batavia, Susan Maynes of St. Charles, Diana Knight and Jamie Walden-Mather of St. Charles, a visiting lecturer at North Central College. “A child and his or her family will enjoy the concert because there is lively and beautiful music played by a talented band,” Maynes says. “The band, staff and audience all stand by the philosophy of ‘wigglers welcome,’ which means kids are not expected to sit motionless and silent in their seats. Kids sing, dance and clap to the music in a happy and supportive environment.” After the concert, light refreshments will be served, including gluten-free snacks. Attendees will be able to meet and speak with musicians. “It’s a fun learning experience on many different levels,” Maynes says. “If the children feel somewhat overwhelmed and express some discomfort, that's OK—everyone understands. They are in a safe environment where no one will judge them unfairly.” Wheelchair seating is available. Visit or for more information. Patrons are asked to RSVP by March 11 by contacting the Autism Society of Illinois at 630-691-1270 or email or Autism is a brain development disorder that impairs a child's social and intellectual development. Its causes and effects are not entirely understood, although diagnoses have dramatically increased in recent years. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 110 American children. The concert is supported by North Central College and sponsored in part by Kirkland & Ellis LLP and by attorney Robert Farley, a legal advocate for people with disabilities. This performance is one of many ongoing programs at North Central College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. North Central offers a variety of venues accommodating a rich range of local and world-class events, performances and space needs for the public. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical and dance productions, art exhibits and lectures, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).