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



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


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