ST. CHARLES – The legacy of Tyler Caruso, a St. Charles East student who died in 2002, lives on through the 12th memorial concert held recently in Lincoln Park in St. Charles, his mother, Marilyn Caruso, said.
"We had a record crowd this year, probably 200 to 150 people," said Marilyn Caruso, who lives in St. Charles. "The concert is free, but we received in excess of $2,500 in contributions for scholarships. We sold concert T-shirts, bottled water and soft drinks. ... All proceeds went to benefit the memorial fund."
Tyler Caruso died suddently of cardiac arrest at age 17. It was caused by a virus that attacked the lining of his heart, she said.
The Tyler Brett Caruso Memorial Concert fulfills a dream the student had to unite St. Charles East and North through his passion, which was music, she said.
He played football and was an accomplished musician on alto saxophone, she said.
"This was Tyler’s dream," she said of the concerts held each year. "He wanted to bring a free concert to the community and celebrate the friendship between students at St. Charles East and St. Charles North after the school was split.
"He wanted to keep something, so friendships could continue when they went to different schools," she said. "Instead of competition and rivalry over sports, a concert in the park that would bring then all together every year."
The schools' musicians share the performance time and representatives from each school help with planning, she said.
"We are very excited that it continues to go on year after year," Marilyn Caruso said. "It is always held the last weekend in May and kicks off the summer concert series in the park."
The scholarships go to music students from each school, she said.
A website, www.tylerbrettcaruso.com, details his life and legacy.