Austin Dream Event

On June 4th the Austin Dream Event was held in the unfinished New Rock Auditorium. The purpose of the event was to start building connections to raise the $3 million dollars needed to pay the bank and finish the New Rock Auditorium.

Please get involved in our
Capital Campaign!!

Austin Dream Concert

To find out how you can support this effort, contact the church office or write to Michael Kasang at or call him at (773) 993-1770.

Opening Remarks
Orchestra Performance and Comments by Architect Stephen Saunders
Remarks by Michael Kasang of Catalyst Schools
Architect’s Renderings – Auditorium and Lobby, Now and Future
Renovation Details
Posters on Display (Including Rock’s)
Rock Attendees
Dan Haley Column in Oak Park Paper

Opening Remarks:

Pastor Rob opened with prayer, followed by Dr. George Wilson, Executive Director of Circle Urban Ministries. Christine Taylor, Educational Director of Reach-Teach-Play Programming at Ravinia, shared her belief that God was instrumental in making the connection between Ravinia and Catalyst Circle Rock. She mentioned to someone at an event downtown that they were thinking of trying to connect with some schools to train orchestras and that person was Michael Kasang of Catalyst Schools. As a result, three years ago Catalyst Circle Rock became the pilot program. Ms. Angelina Carodine, a Catalyst Circle Rock parent, spoke about how much the orchestra has meant to her daughter and how wonderful it would be for the orchestra to play in a real auditorium.

Christine Taylor crop 3 Christine Taylor, Educational Director of Reach-Teach-Play Programming at Ravinia
Angelina Carodine crop 4 Ms. Angelina Carodine, Catalyst Circle Rock Parent

Orchestra Performance and Architect Comments:

The orchestra played two numbers: part of the 9th Symphony by Beethoven and an arrangement of music from Porgy and Bess by Gershwin. Architect Stephen Saunders, Founding Principal of Eckenhoff Saunders Architects, the one who designed the plans for the New Rock church auditorium, spoke, expressing his pleasant surprise in the performance of the orchestra–he was expecting “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, not Beethoven and Gershwin. He made the point that the Auditorium is very solidly built–no one would build that way today because it would be so expensive–and that they have the permits for the construction from the City of Chicago (normally obtained only after jumping through many, many hoops).

Austin Dream orchestra green 2 Circle Rockets
Architect Saunders match Architect Stephen Saunders


Then the orchestra played their last number and were given a standing ovation. Although they are a K-8 grade school, the orchestra sounded as good as a first-year-high-school orchestra, and they only started three years ago, while most freshman high school musicians have had at least five years of training.

Remarks by Michael Kasang:

At that point, Michael Kasang took the microphone and invited Pastor Rob and Dr. Wilson up on stage. He said they have a donor who will give a 7 figure donation if he is shown that the community and the organizations are really committed and will do their part. He also said that the Chicago Board of Education awarded Catalyst Circle Rock a full five-year renewal of its charter last week!

He said, “There are numerous areas to support the Austin Dream Project, from connecting additional professional/personal stakeholders to the project to making a financial pledge. He can make any arrangements for support at or (773) 993-1770”. They welcome small financial gifts (although they like big ones too) because they will demonstrate to the 7-figure-donor that this project is being supported by the organizations and the community.

The auditorium, when finished, will enable Catalyst Circle Rock to open up their orchestra concerts and plays to the community. Circle Urban will be able to hold educational seminars for the community in the auditorium. And, of course, Rock Church will no longer have to worship in the gym! The auditorium would also be available for rental by groups in the community. There is no facility like the planned auditorium anywhere on the west side.

Architect’s Renderings Now and Then

lobby now Architect’s Rendering of Lobby Now

daytime lobbyArchitect’s Rendering of Lobby in the Future

auditorium now 3Architect’s Rendering of Auditorium Now

daytime auditorium Architect’s Rendering of Auditorium in Daylight
church auditorium Auditorium Used As Church

Some Specifics:

Renovation Details

Posters on Display:

The concert was followed by conversation, light refreshments, and a chance to look at the posters.

Orchestra Poster Orchestra Poster

Catalyst Catalyst School Poster

Rock Church Poster Rock Church Poster

Rock Attendees

Rock Church was well represented–six of our elders were there as well as some of our ushers and staff.

A couple of elders A couple of elders and Nita Beran

A couple of elders A couple of elders

Pastor Rob and friends Pastor Rob and friends

Please pray for the success of this fund-raising endeavor. Contact Michael Kasang or the church office for information on how to get your name on their mailing list and/or give a donation.