Mom & Daughter Bond Through Music at Ravinia

Each year Ravinia invites schools involved in the REACH*TEACH*PLAY program to perform at the festival. Thousands of students have graced our stages. This year a Ravinia's Director of Group Sales, Mindy Moore, got the thrill of watching her daughter make her Ravinia debut at the tender age of 11 year s old. Here they share their own perspectives of that concert.

Mom Said 

When I walked into the Bennett Gordon    Hall at Ravinia Festival and saw my daughte r, Montana,  sitting up there in her black pants, school u niform top, and her combed hair, my heart went array.  She  saw me and gave me the hairspray finger wave and I knew we were connected. When the music began I began to cry with pride and joy.  As a parent we work hard to do the r ight thing by our kids and this was a wonderful confirmation that all is well.  She is growing up and has the confidence to sit on a professional st age and play the violin. 

Seeing her everyday is a blessing and a gift, seeing her happy and flourishing is a selfish joy.

Daughter Said

Hi, my name is Montana Moore I am 11 y ears old and I go to Edgewood Middle School. I play violin in my school orchestra. I played Pictures and Exabitions in the Bennet Gorden Hall with Edgewood, Elm Place, and Northwood. It was amazing for me to play on the stage at Ravinia Festival. It was probably one of the best experiences of my life. Just hearing all of the clapping made me happy because the clapping was for me all for me. I loved this event.


A Wedding To Be Remembered

Ravinia Festival recently hosted the wedding of Morgan Fiedler and Nathan Delack. It was a spectacular event with perfect weather for a spring wedding.  The ceremony was hosted in one of the tents on the grounds, with the sculpture path lending itself to a dramatic isle for the bride to process along.  Cocktail hour was hosted in the stunning Park View Restaurant and terraces, overlooking the idyllically manicured grounds of the park.  Afterwards, the reception was hosted in the PNC Bank Private Dining Rooms with entertainment provided courtesy of Underwater People.  The bride and groom were surprised by a sweet treat from Executive Chef Tim Radack at the end of the evening-- delicious passed home made mini ice cream sandwiches with chocolate ganache for dipping.  Every detail of the event was carefully planned and organized through Susan Cordogan from Big City Bride. 

See more photos from the event here. Cheers to the happy couple!!

Devin Robnick
Levy Restaurants, Senior Sales Manager


Autographs, anyone?

We recently remodeled our multi-purpose room, AKA the "green room" backstage. We added color to the walls and hung an incredible array of artist performance photos at Ravinia over the years. While planning the redo, we thought to ourselves, what would be a cool way to preserve some history and show off the fact that we have so many different artists in a given season, as well as, over the years? Answer: an artist autograph wall. So that's what we did! We've created an entire wall just waiting for history to be made by artists from Sting to James Conlon.

Country superstar Vince Gill was the very first artist to sign the wall. I can't wait to see what it looks like when we wrap the summer season in September. 


Amy Schrage
Associate Director of Communications


Backstage with the T-Shirt Gun

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be loading up a gun as part of my job. Boy did that all change this summer when Ravinia got a new air gun to shoot out free t-shirts into the pavilion. Guess who gets to shoot it. Me! Me! Now when I tell people that I wear a lot of different hats at work, they will understand that I really mean it.  This hat comes with sequins, flashing lights and an awesome tank of power.

I had no idea what the heck I was doing at first. I was just concentrating on steering clear of any lights or equipment above the crowd. That sounds a lot easier than it really is. Each time it gets a little more comfortable. I'm even starting to have fun! It's easy to get into it when you have a crowd full of screaming people and this incredible energy. The music is playing, the people are waving and yelling and the shirts are flying. It's a total blast! (Pun intended.)

You can catch a t-shirt at select concerts in the pavilion. Be sure you wave your hands so I can see you and it never hurts to do a dance for a t-shirt.

Adriana McClintock
Marketing Manager


Photo Blog: Lawn Memories

Ravinia fan Jennifer Melugin sent us this photo of her father-in-law and brother-in-law flagging down other members of their group in 2008 at the Tony Bennett concert. She said, "Between the cell phones and the umbrellas, they did a great job!  I love this pic! And Tony Bennett was amazing, of course!"

If you would like to submit your Ravinia memories, stories and photos, please send them to backstage@ravinia.org.



Steans Institute Alum Yuja Wang Awarded Avery Fisher Career Grant

The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts recently announced four recipients of the 2010 Avery Fisher Career Grant including Ravinia Festival Steans Institute alum Yuja Wang. Other winners this year were David Aaron Carpenter, Kirill Gerstein and pianist Joyce Yang, who takes the Ravinia stage this summer on July 11 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. These coveted grants were first given in 1976 and only 118 artists have been awarded over the years including artists such as Carter Brey, James Ehnes, Edgar Meyer, Leila Josefowicz and Jeffrey Kahane.

Wang took part in our Steans Institute during the summer of 2004. This professional studies program  allows these young musicians to work with an internationally renowned faculty of artist/teachers as well as perform in Bennett Gordon Hall. If you haven't attended one of these free events, usually prior to Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts, you must go to at least one this summer, these musicians are incredible!

Congratulations, Yuja!


Amy Schrage
Associate Director of Communications


Photo Blog: REACH Orchestra Student Spotlight

REACH Orchestra bass student Brian Chavez rehearses during the bass sectional for an upcoming concert.  When asked about his favorite part of the program, he said “I just love to play the instrument”. 


Isaac Sinnett
Project Manager


The "Voices of Freedom" Ring Out

Click here to see a gallery of photos.

This afternoon, Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman was greeted with the powerful voices and heartfelt freedoms of Stowe Arts Academy on Wabansia in Chicago. At every turn the students had personal and creative performances to entertain and thank him in the best way they could — by singing, dancing and performing their hearts out. 

It was clear, from toddler to teens and on up to the parents involved at Stowe, that this school understands the positive energy that music can create. They have harnessed this energy and hold steadfast that the arts must hold its place in our educational system. That is why they chose Welz for their honorable "Voices of Freedom" Award.

Other notable recipients include  Mayor Richard M. Daley, Illinois Supreme Court Justices Anne Burke and Thomas Kilbride, Chicago Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey, and Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, for providing creative and educational outlets that empower students to build a better world. Welz has empowered more than 75,000 musically eager people through the Ravinia Festival REACH*TEACH*PLAY educational programs. 

If you also seek to enrich the lives of our youth by contributing to arts education programs, please don't hesitate get in touch with us. Together we can free new voices. As the Stowe Arts Academy students modo reminds us—Si, se puede! Yes, we can.


Russell Jenkins
Manager of Graphics and Photography 



It's Music To Our Ears


It's spring now in Chicago and just as the trees are budding and the tulips are popping up.  Ravinia too is slowly coming back to life.  One can hear the tuning up of lawn mowers and the workers whistling as they paint the Pavilion.  

To our well-trained and imaginative ears, it sounds like music.  It is a beautiful melody that floods our minds with thoughts of warm summer nights.  The kind of night were the music leaves the pavilion like a slow wave and doesn't stop till it engulfs and relaxes every patron on our lawn. 

Patrick Gipson



Look for Ravinia on Your Commute

Photo courtesy of Dahlstrom Display Inc. 

Here's a preview of our new CTA advertising. Russel Jenkins, Ravinia's manager of graphic arts and photography, did a great job on the artwork. Next week you'll see much more!

Don't forget that online ticket sales begin on April 22 exclusively on our website.

Adriana McClintock
Marketing Manager