Double the diva at Ravinia Women’s Board gala
Chairman of the Women’s Board Jeanne Denison of Northbrook, gala co-chairman Elizabeth Bergmann of Evanston, gala co-chairman Judy Castellini of Winnetka and Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman of Highland Park. | Lee Litas~For Sun-Times Media
418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park; (847) 266-5000 or ravinia.org.
Updated: July 25, 2012 8:12PM
The Event: It was fitting that Ravinia recruited Broadway and opera divas Patti LuPone and Patricia Racette to grace its annual gala on July 21, for only such supernovas of entertainment could mirror the zenith of dedication provided for the past half century by the leading ladies of the Ravinia Women’s Board.
Attended by nearly 800 guests, this performance-only fundraiser featured the Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Ravinia’s 35-year music director James Conlon, guest conductor Rob Fisher and pianist Joseph Thalken in his Ravinia debut.
Ravinia Women’s Board is a volunteer leadership group that has become the single largest contributor to the not-for-profit festival.
Cause Célèbre: “For 50 years the women’s board has created and supported our education programs for underserved school kids throughout the Chicagoland area; that’s what this is all about,” said Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman.
Ravinia’s Reach*Teach*Play programs include summer day camp programs, educational foundation partnerships and classical invitations that enable community music school students throughout Chicago to enjoy concerts and master classes at Ravinia.
“It is a fantastic commitment to bringing music to our entire community,” said gala sponsor Daniela O’Leary-Gill, senior vice president, BMO Harris Bank. “Communities are there for us to serve and partnering with Ravinia has given us a chance to help the women’s board keep music in the Chicago public schools.”
For most members and guests, like lifetime trustee Lois Steans who has been coming to enjoy the music since 1938, Ravinia is their adoptive home, their family.
“It’s a great institution; it’s a family. We do a lot of good work in education, put on wonderful concerts [and] we are very privileged to have 600,000 people come here every year,” said Robert Krebs, chairman of the board.
Bottom Line: The event raised more than $900,000 for Ravinia’s Reach*Teach*Play programs.