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


From the Archives: Children Concerts

After working on Ravinia's Family Fun Guide, I started wondering how long Ravinia has offered children's entertainment at the park. Low and behold I found a flyer for the First Children's Afternoon during the summer of 1922 featuring dance and music. I have a feeling that this performance was a little different from our Kraft Kids Concerts.


Germaine Maschoff

Corporate Relations and Communications Coordinator


Singers Audition for America's Most Beloved Musical

Auditions for Annie Get Your Gun brought in some great talent last week. I walked into Ravinia's Bennett • Gordon Hall lobby and it was packed with applicants and intensity. Performers were whispering their lines between deep calming breaths awaiting their name to be called out loud and clear-knowing that this could be their one big break.

Inside the hall there were three judges halfway back on center. From my vantage point, I could see them thumbing through the next persons head shots before they walked to the stage. And as each person came through the door they were evaluated on everything from the way they walked to the directions they gave the piano accompanist. I was actually feeling nervous for most of them and can only imagine the pressure of being in front of 3,200 plus people and trying to hit the big notes like Patti LuPone or Brian Stokes Mitchell.

So if your as curious as I am and what to know how they do what they do or just enjoy a good show, join us August 13-15 for an event not to be missed. Until then, keep practicing your vocals in the shower.

Russell Jenkins
Manager of Graphics and Photography 


Update on Roofing Project


They're out in full force today. Our roofing team is scrapping,  tearing, ripping, laying and busting tail to give us a new and  improved roof. I spent an hour top-side with the guys and got the low-down on the job from Jim Altman. Jim is a roofing veteran of 50 years and has redone all the Ravinia buildings that required his specialized skills. You can view updated photos here.

My first question to Jim was how often does a job like this need to be done? He responded with a chuckle, "Well, you'll be an old man like me and I'll be dead." I quickly thanked him on behalf of the entire staff that it would be awhile before we needed to wear a very distinct brand of "tarfume" again. So, what goes into this job one might ask? Well, I found out that the old roof needs to be stripped away, cleaned and then leveled out to take the new. Then, the new dry asphalt rolls are laid overlapping each other and fastened with metal jibs. These jibs are slammed into the roof with a kind of vertical magnetic hammer and placed every eight inches on seam and every 18 inches down the middle.

How many metal discs does it take to cover the pavilion roof? I have no idea, I never win the jelly bean game, but I'm guessing well north of 100,000. So, after the jibs, there are two coats of hot tar and one last white cover for sun reflection. After that, you've got a new roof. Jim suspects the job will take another three weeks if the weather permits, so I'll keep you posted on any new developments, especially if the 4 wheeler race ensues.

Russell Jenkins
Manager of Graphics and Photography 


REACH Orchestra at Hibbard Elementary

The newly created REACH Orchestra at William G. Hibbard Elementary has been practicing for weeks now. As I walked down the hallway of the school, and my own elementray school days starting to flash before my eyes, I smiled when I heard the bell ring. Almost immediately I saw kids with instrument cases run towards a group of classrooms and start to line up in anticipation of their daily after-school rehearsal. Imagine the looks on their faces when they realized that they would also be getting new REACH uniforms that day, handed out by members of the Ravinia Women's Board and friends from Fifth Third Bank. You can view photo highlights here. As the kids started their Tuesday afternoon sectionals, it was so rewarding to see them learning together and being excited about music. I have a feeling those blue and white jackets will make an appearance nearly everyday at Hibbard!

Amy Schrage
Associate Director of Communications


Photo Blog: Behind the Scenes at Ravinia

Catch a glimpse of the biggest space you've never seen at Ravinia. That's right, we are resurfacing the pavilion roof. The tar buckets are out and the flags are up. Everything is prepared and ready to roll for this week. Did you know that they are going to be using 4-wheelers up there? They also used a crane to haul the equipment up to the roof. It almost looks like the flags are set out for the rooftop 4-wheeler race. I'll be sure to keep an eye on the progress just in case that happens.
Russell Jenkins
Manager of Graphics & Photography



Love Story Contest Winner: To Many Happy Returns

In honor of Valentine's Day we held a contest on our Twitter and Facebook pages for our followers and fans to send us their most romantic memories at Ravinia. It was very touching to read all of the stories and to see what a huge impact summers at Ravinia have had on some of our guests. We will be featuring some of our favorites soon. This first story is one of the winning entries from Mark of Champaign, Illinois. 

"Emily and I met in the Spring of 2001 at a Memorial Day cookout at a friend’s house in Chicago.  Unfortunately for the both of us, I lived in Chicago and she was attending the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.   Nevertheless, our long distance relationship would grow over the next six years as we quickly learned to cherish every moment of our weekends together.  Often our dates involved exploring Chicago’s art fairs, street festivals and great restaurants all summer long. 

Still, our favorite date became packing a dinner, a bottle of wine and a blanket, and boarding the Metra right to the door of Ravinia.  We spread out under the stars as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra seemed to provide us with  our own, private serenade.  Our multiple visits to Ravinia over those summer months each year were so memorable, I knew it would provide the perfect backdrop for me to ask the love of my life to marry me.   

On July 21, 2007, Emily accepted my proposal on the lawn of Ravinia, and again I would sit…under the stars…listening to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra…but now with my fiancée.

This past August, 2009, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary with a familiar visit to Ravinia’s lawn to begin an anniversary tradition reflecting on one of the important places our love began…and will continue to grow."

(Photo of the proposal provided by Mark.)