Ravinia celebrates the holidays with Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier

With all of the holiday ornaments Ravinia's Kids Club crafted with your help, we headed down to Navy Pier to put up Ravinia's tree at Winter WonderFest.  Amongst other trees decorated by organizations around Chicago, ornate, elaborate winter scenes and, heck, even an indoor ice skating rink, stands our holiday tree adorned with your Kids Club ornaments.

Winter WonderFest is now open through January 2, so be sure to make your way downtown to enjoy the sights, sounds and variety of attractions that you helped bring to life with your very own holiday decorations from Ravinia's Kids Club.  Get a sneak peak of what is going on at Navy Pier's Winter WonderFest in our gallery.





You're Invited to Decorate Ornaments for the Ravinia Holiday Tree

Ravinia Festival will have a holiday tree on display at Navy Pier's Winter Wonderfest again this year and we're inviting parents and kids to help us put your creative stamp on it. 

Visit us at  Whole Foods Market in Deerfield from  4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 9 to help us decorate ornaments. We'll be using your hand-crafted ornaments to decorate our tree on Navy Pier.

Look for the Ravinia's Kids Club in the cafe and we'll help you get started. You are welcome to decorate an ornament for our holiday tree and make another to place on your own tree at home. Winter treats will also be available for participants.

If you can't make it on Tuesday, look for us again from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 18 at the Ravinia Holiday Fair located in Jen Jensens Park in Highland Park on Roger Williams Avenue between St. Johns and Dean Avenues. In addition to the ornament decorating, you will also be able to shop with the kids and see Santa. There will be plenty of free activities and holiday fun!

You can see our tree on display with the ornaments you create at Navy Pier's Winter WonderFest from December 3 through January 2. Come out and help us spread the holiday cheer!



Ravinia Favorite Patti LuPone Releases Memoir 

If Patti LuPone is “the first lady of Broadway,” then she must be Queen of Ravinia. The multi-talented dynamo has been a major presence at the festival, dating back to the 1980s when she performed in plays like The Robber Bridegroom and The Cradle Will Rock with John Houseman’s Acting Company, but especially over the past decade when she’s won continual raves headlining an almost-annual major music-theater production. In her just released autobiography, Patti LuPone: A Memoir, the star chronicles her entire career and gives keen focus to the Ravinia projects, even citing Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman as her theatrical muse. It was Welz who first connected Patti to Sondheim, casting her in Sweeney Todd for the New York Philharmonic’s production that was essentially reprised at Ravinia. It was the first of several Sondheim shows Patti would do at Ravinia, including Passion, A Little Night Music, Anyone Can Whistle, Sunday in the Park with George and Gypsy, which went on to a Tony-winning turn on Broadway. Patti’s also done her one-woman shows at what she’s fondly come to call “Camp Ravinia.” Read all about this extraordinary career in a breezy biography that’s big on heart (and dish!).


Nick Pullia

Director of Communications


Jennifer's Favorite Things

She’s charming, she’s sweet, and her shop is so neat!  And if you’re a regular in the park, it’s likely that Jennifer Wood, Ravinia Festival’s Retail Operations Manager, has helped you find some of your favorite things at Ravinia Gifts.  Now it’s her turn.  Here are a few of Jennifer’s favorite things:

Jennifer Wood, Retail Operations Manager of Ravinia Festival, poses with the Ravinia Excursion

For cool weather: The Ravinia full-zip appliqué navy zip-up sweatshirt

This universal and super soft collegiate-style sweatshirt is perfect for a chilly night at the park. Jennifer says, “On a night when you see people wearing it en masse, it’s almost like they’re on a team.”

For warm weather: The Ravinia white v-neck tee

“I always want there to be something new in the store when people come in every year so they can add to their collection,” Jennifer says.  This shirt is contemporary, comfortable, and looks good on everyone.  It’s definitely something to consider adding to your wardrobe while at the park. 

Picnic cooler: Excursion

Jennifer describes this tote as the “SUV of picnicking.”  Whether packing a picnic for a small or large group, this tote can handle it.  Not only is it practical, but it’s also environmentally friendly by promoting the concept of reusing.  Check it out! 

 Picnic Accessory: Scroll Candelabra

This adorable piece always brings the same question from customers: “Does the wine bottle come with it?” Unfortunately, it doesn’t, but Jennifer tells people to “make friends and drink quickly” in order to set up this romantic candle set

Ravinia Souvenir: Shot glass candle

This item holds a special place in Jennifer’s heart, as it was the first item sold in the shop this season.  What makes it especially cool is that doubles as a shot glass once the wick burns out!  Not only is it a great item to use on the lawn in here the park, but also in a kitchen or on a patio at home.  Next time you are in Ravinia Gifts, ask Jennifer to hook you up with one of these.

Inspired to find your favorite things?  Be sure to check out Ravinia Gifts next time you come out to the park!  If you just can’t wait to get your hands on all of the great items the shop has to offer, visit us online to browse and buy at any time. 


I'm With the Band...

Working weekends is a term that usually inspires visions of typing away feverishly at a computer, getting through endless stacks of documents and filing for hours on end – not at Ravinia.  When sent out to Wrigley Field (for the second time this season!) to play road for Todd of Big Head Todd and the Monsters, I had no complaints about working on a Saturday.  Todd (and I!) made the trip out to Wrigley, as he would be singing the national anthem that afternoon before the game.  From then on, I can only assume even Todd, from out west in Colorado, became a Cubs fan for the day.



Upon arrival, we were whisked away to the field where we snapped pictures near the dugout.  I know this lifelong Cubs fan was trying her best to believe where she was.  You do not get much closer to the action than on the field!  After filling up our memory cards, we were led to our seats.  We looked on from behind home plate, 11 rows back as Todd sang The Star-Spangled Banner.  His amazing rendition was met with applause and cheers from Cubs and Reds fans alike.  To add to an already perfect Saturday at the baseball game, a pair of jets flew over Wrigley Field just as Todd had finished up. 


Later in the evening, Big Head Todd and the Monsters made their way to Ravinia to put on an unbelievable show with their old friends The BoDeans.  I made sure I was in attendance for that one, too.  Yep, I love my job, even on the weekends.     


Gearing Up for Lollapalooza

As one of my intern duties this summer, I was in charge of overseeing the Ravinia Kids Club, which is a free membership program for kids under 12 years old.  Our Kids Club is a great program that offers discounts in the park to members and encourages kids and their families to come out to Ravinia to learn about music of many genres.  From Ralph’s World to Synergy Brass, we’ve had some very exciting shows and events for families this season. 

Next week we’ll be doing an event that I’ve been looking forward to all summer.  Ravinia will be at Lollapalooza this year!  More specifically, we will be at the Kidzapalooza stage hosting a video karaoke station for all of the cool rocker kids who make it out to the park.  The pint-sized rockstars will be able to choose their own song, dress up in wacky rock n’ roll gear, and get a free DVD recording of their performance.  Kids 10 and under get free admission to Lollapalooza with a ticket-holding adult and there will be plenty of other kid-friendly activities. So, if you already have a ticket, consider bringing the little ones along to enjoy the artists that will be performing on the Kidzapalooza stage and also stop by our karaoke station to take home a truly unique souvenir.

I’m so glad that one of my last weekends working for Ravinia this summer will be spent at Lollapalooza.  I must admit, summer jobs don’t get much cooler than mine.  I’ve really come to value my responsibility with the Ravinia Kids Club for what it has taught me about managing a membership program and running events.  There is a lot of preparation that goes into each special program, but it’s fulfilling when it all comes together. I know the things I have learned here at Ravinia will come in handy when I return to college this fall, and even beyond then.   

Lisa Sanders

Communications Intern


Ravinia Names 2010's Ultimate Picnic

Day in and day out, picnickers on Ravinia’s lawns settle down in their own perfect little spots to look on and listen closely to the talent before them.  With all attention focused on the exciting shows taking  place on stage, we wait for that one special day when the picnics on the lawn become the sights to see.  That day came this past weekend when Ravinia teamed up with Rutherford Hill to name 2010’s ultimate picnic.  Special guest judges from around Chicago, including HGTV host and celebrity designer, Monica Pedersen, took to the lawns to scope out participants’ extravagant displays.  From piano-shaped cake to a lifesize cardboard cut-out of Pedersen herself, judges surveyed a variety of creative ways for participants to display their picnic set ups.


A judge's eye view:


Take the Ultimate Picnic tour by viewing the full gallery here. 



Participants were awarded with gifts from Ravinia Gifts, Rutherford Hill and Kerrygold.  But the icing on the Ravinia cake was the grand prize – two passes to Ravinia’s 2011 season!


One Score, One Chicago: Students Discover Music and Art through Pictures at an Exhibition

Inspired by Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Ravinia Festival partnered with the Art Institute of Chicago to introduce thousands of children and the public to connections between music and art.  Students listened to, performed and created original art inspired by Pictures at an Exhibition and studied works from the Art Institutes collection that were inspired by music, such as the works below.  Click here to see examples of art inspired by music that were created by Highland Park middle school art students. 

Thousands of public school students in Chicago, Highland Park, North Chicago and Waukegan were introduced to classical music through Ravinia’s One Score, One Chicago program this year.  The students learned about Pictures at an Exhibition, the 10-part work originally written for piano by Modest Mussorgsky in 1875 and then arranged for orchestra by Maurice Ravel, in three stages. Click here to learn more.

Isaac Sinnett

Project Manager, REACH*TEACH*PLAY


Archibald John Motley, Jr.

American, 1891-1981

Nightlife, 1943

Oil on canvas

91.4 x 121.3 cm (36 x 47 3/4 in.)

Signed and dated lower right: A. J. MOTLEY / 1943

The Art Institute of Chicago

Restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Field, Jack and Sandra Guthman, Ben W. Heineman, Ruth Horwich, Lewis and Susan Manilow, Beatrice C. Mayer, Charles A. Meyer, John D. Nichols, and Mr. and Mrs. E.B. Smith, Jr.; James W. Alsdorf Memorial Fund; Goodman Endowment, 1992.89


Viktor Schreckengost

American, 1906-2008

Made for Cowan Pottery Studio (1913-1931)

Rocky River, Ohio

Jazz Bowl, c. 1931

Glazed earthenware with engobe, sgraffito

23.5 cm x 42.6 x 43.2 cm (9 1/4 in. x 16 3/4 x 17 in.)

Signed on body "VIKTOR SCHRECKEGOST", impressed on underside with "COWAN" and firm's mark

The Art Institute of Chicago

Through prior acquisition of the Antiquarian Society; Thorne Rooms exhibition Fund; Bequest of Elizabeth R. Vaughn; and the Winfield Foundation, 2004.1



Ravinia Gifts in the Spotlight

Ravinia Gifts had an exciting moment recently when two members of the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, who provided Sting’s accompaniment for his two night stay at the park, stopped by to purchase a few pairs of rock and roll guitar sunglasses.  As if having the musicians stop by wasn’t cool enough, they informed us that they would be wearing the glasses on stage during part of their performance!  Sure enough, the guys put on the groovy glasses towards the end of Sting’s set, giving the audience and their fellow performers a good laugh.   It was certainly an exciting moment for the staff of Ravinia Gifts.

Lisa Sanders

Communications Intern


Ravinia's "W" at the Cubs Game

The Chicago Cubs holding their own against the Philadelphia Phillies was not the only thing that drew crowds at Wrigley Field last week.  Ravinia took a brief break from the North Shore for a Friday afternoon in the big city – and what a break it was.  Ravinia regulars and beginners alike gave the Ravinia prize wheel a spin, and lucky winners left with goodies like free t-shirts and lawn passes.  We may not have been able to turn Phillies fans into Cubs fans but they were easily turned onto the Ravinia Festival.  With the 2010 season just past its halfway point, many anticipate great performances ahead.  See full schedule details here.



So baseball fans, if you were not able to join us last week, be sure to look for us at Wrigley again on August 7th.  Just remember, here at Ravinia, it is okay to be a fair-weather fan – and, ya know, hope for temperate climates to make the most of your lawn experience!