top of page
Close up of couple clapping in theater




At Applause, we are passionate advocates for the performing arts and their profound impact on the lives of students. We believe that through the arts, young individuals discover their voices, embrace their creativity, and unlock their full potential.

Applause is a dedicated and dynamic organization that supports the performing arts programs at Oak Park River Forest High School. We bring together parents, educators, alumni, and community members who share a common love for the arts and a commitment to nurturing the artistic development of our students.

Our mission is to empower students to shine, providing them with the resources, opportunities, and support they need to pursue their artistic dreams. We celebrate the diverse range of artistic disciplines at Oak Park River Forest High School, including band, choir, orchestra, theater, and dance. By embracing this rich tapestry of talent, we create an inclusive community where every artistic voice is valued and celebrated.

Through our collaborative efforts, Applause organizes a variety of engaging events, workshops, performances, and educational programs. These offerings allow students to showcase their skills, expand their horizons, and refine their craft. We are committed to fostering artistic excellence, inspiring creativity, and fostering a lifelong appreciation for the arts.

As advocates for the arts, we understand the importance of arts education in nurturing well-rounded individuals. We actively support the integration of the arts into the curriculum and work to ensure that our students have access to quality arts education that enhances their overall educational experience.

Applause is fueled by the unwavering dedication and support of our volunteers, who generously contribute their time, expertise, and resources to make a difference in the lives of our students. Together, we create an environment where artistic expression thrives, talent flourishes, and dreams are realized.

Join the Applause community and be a part of something extraordinary. Together, let us empower the arts, inspire the stars, and create a legacy of artistic excellence at Oak Park River Forest High School.

Empower. Inspire. Applaud.


1969: Laying the Foundation

In the year 1969, a visionary named John D’Asaro, an OPRFHS parent, embarked on a mission to make a difference. Alongside John Briggs, the Music Department Chair at OPRFHS, and Jerry Dambriska, a fellow parent and attorney, the Concert Tour Association (CTA) was born. The initial inspiration was to alleviate the costs of a monumental orchestra trip involving 60 students during the summer. Established as a 501(c)(3) organization, CTA introduced a pioneering concept to empower students to raise funds for their trips creatively. Through initiatives such as apple and orange sales, pancake breakfasts, and captivating "Treasures and Trifles" events, CTA set the stage for a new era of student fundraising. Additionally, contributions flowed from Oak Park Musical Theater, a group generously designating a portion of its profits to support CTA’s endeavors.

1980s: A New Crescendo

The mid-1980s marked a significant turning point for CTA with the arrival of Scottie Jones, a dynamic addition to OPRFHS as the band leader. CTA's advocacy and involvement surged as it fervently championed improvements for all music programs, spanning band, orchestra, and choir, as well as co-curricular activities. CTA’s goals came into sharper focus:

  • Creating avenues for student-driven fundraising.

  • Providing grants to music teachers to enrich programs through clinicians and enhance equipment.

2010: Expanding Horizons

The dawn of the 2010s brought a transformative phase for CTA. A pivotal strategic planning process revealed the potential to extend support beyond music, encompassing all performing arts within the school. In recognition of this evolution, CTA embraced a new identity and, in 2012, emerged as Applause! This shift marked a milestone in Applause!'s journey towards fostering a broader appreciation for the performing arts.

Advocacy and Impact Applause! remained steadfast in its mission, advocating for performing arts students by incorporating performing arts grades into the calculation of grade point averages for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. This progressive move aimed to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of these students in alignment with their academic achievements. The transformation took root, culminating in the class of 2015 being the first to reap the benefits of this inclusive approach.

As we celebrate our history, we invite you to join us in creating an enduring legacy of support for the performing arts. Our journey continues to inspire, empower, and uplift the artistic aspirations of OPRFHS students. Together, let's raise our applause for the arts!

Empower. Inspire. Applaud.


At Applause, we believe in the power of collaboration and partnership to create a vibrant arts community. Our partnerships with local businesses, educational institutions, and cultural organizations enable us to amplify the impact of the performing arts at Oak Park River Forest High School. Together, we nurture young talent, provide enriching experiences, and make the arts accessible to all. Join us in building a brighter future through the arts by exploring partnership opportunities with Applause.

bottom of page