Frankie—to my parents’ generation, that meant “Sinatra.” To my generation, it meant “Valli & the Four Seasons.” Although as with so many other things in life, I was a bit late in coming to this party.
Blank on Blank is a fantastic online series from PBS that has been digging up old tape-recorded interviews with celebrities and bringing them to life through the magic of animation. As fortune would have it, many of the subjects of the interviews are Ravinia favorites, from 2016 season artists Garrison Keillor and Dolly Parton to such past legends as Louie Armstrong and Janis Joplin. Below are selections from this series that gives you a personal glimpse into the lives of these celebrated cultural figures.
The contradictions are stunning.
We are, as we’re constantly reminded, living our lives at supersonic speeds, racing in all directions. We express ourselves in 140-character tweets, fume when a computer file takes three seconds to download, and demand next-day delivery for our online orders (since shopping online is, of course, much faster than heading out to a brick-and-mortar retail store).
Yet we luxuriate in spending hours at a time on a single experience we deem worthwhile. Children, supposedly afflicted by skyrocketing rates of attention deficit disorder, devoured the very long Harry Potter books in marathon sittings. A weekend spent binge-watching multiple seasons of House of Cards or Downton Abbey is many people’s idea of heaven. Restaurants have long waiting lists of customers willing to sit for lengthy, multicourse, insanely expensive meals with menus (no substitutions allowed) set by a superstar chef.
We’re desperately in a hurry. Until we’re not.
Have your account ready: Ravinia puts more than 100 summer concerts on sale, beginning at 5 a.m. on April 26. Those who do not already have a myRavinia account are advised to create an account. Ravinia also advises patrons to verify their personal information, including mailing address and phone number, once they log on.
Carlos Santana once told Welz Kauffman that he’d never play Ravinia. Nothing personal, he said, just that “my audience won’t come.”
The year was 2000, and Kauffman had just taken the reins at the legendary Highland Park music festival with a vision to build on the historic venue’s proud legacy of presenting a wide variety of great concerts.
“From the beginning Ravinia presented a mix of classical concerts and the cutting-edge acts of the time, whether it was Benny Goodman introducing a mixed-race band in the 1940s to Janis Joplin and Frank Zappa in the 1970s,” Kauffman said. “But as the classical programming continued to feature the brightest talents in the world, for about 30 years, we lost our way a bit on the nonclassical side, allowing it to get pretty dusty.”
April showers bring May flowers, so Ravinia’s going to “make it rain” all month long! Share this video link on Facebook, retweet this tweet on Twitter, or like this post on Instagram between today and April 26 to be entered to win a 2016 Season Lawn Pass for two! The grand-prize winner will be announced on April 28 in the Ravinia newsletter and also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
All of us at Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute are still in shock about the sudden death of David Baker last Saturday. David had led the RSMI Program for Jazz since its inception in 2000, so naturally he had developed a certain way he expected things to be done. When I became director of RSMI in 2010, I was in a constant whirlwind with all three of the programs, grasping for any bit of knowledge I could try to retain as I learned on the fly, so of course things didn’t run exactly as David was accustomed to, of course I dropped a few balls here and there. So when he showed up in my doorway
The Ravinia Festival is the highlight of my summers, bar NONE.
The place has such atmosphere and a feeling of joyful camaraderie you just don't get anywhere else. People sometimes feel inhibited at Lyric Opera or the Chicago Symphony. But, at Ravinia, everyone's inhibitions are released and true joy seeps out of every pore of the place.
On March 2 Ravinia announced its 2016 summer season, and in order to make sure everyone heard the good news, members of the communications team and CEO Welz Kauffman made the rounds at various media outlets both on radio and TV. Below you can view some clips from our appearances.
Ravinia is gearing up to announce its 2016 lineup on Wednesday, March 2, but if you’ve been following us on social media, you may already know a few of the hot shows coming to our stages this summer. In addition to the 80th-anniversary Chicago Symphony Orchestra residency outlined last August, the following dates have been circled on the calendar.