Thursday
Jul032008

Ravinia Participates in Pride Parade


Ravinia Festival took part in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade last weekend. Heather Haigh and Liv Swenson (pictured above left to right) work in the communications department at Ravinia and helped with the WCPT float. They passed out beaded necklaces and light up rings from Ravinia Gifts to the eager crowds. Check out Liv's beads below!

Manager of Retail Operations Jennifer Wood said that the light up rings are a big hit in the store and she has a hard time keeping them in stock. They don't sell the necklaces but the rings are a fun favorite for kids and adults. Be sure to stop by and grab yours from the gift shop the next time you attend a concert or shop Ravinia Gifts online!

Adriana McClintock
Marketing Manager

Friday
Jun272008

Patti LuPone Wins the Tony!

We're so proud of the festival's good friend Patti LuPone who won Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical this past Sunday at the 2008 Tony awards. Her monumental role of Mama Rose in the Broadway revival of Gypsy has gotten rave reviews, but this wasn't the first time she ever played the role. As you may recall, it was at Ravinia in the summer of 2006 where LuPone first took hold of Mama Rose and made the New York Times exclaim, "Ms. LuPone sang with exciting power and warmth." We're all so proud of you Patti and thank you for mentioning Ravinia and our president Welz Kauffman in your acceptance speech. This is the character you were born to play!

Amy Schrage
Associate Director of Communications

Monday
Jun232008

Picnic Tips from Ravinia Patrons


If you are a Ravinia Festival regular (and even if you’re not), you have probably seen some fantastic picnics while taking a stroll around the grounds. However, only once in a while can you actually remember any of them after the performance. Jon and Sharon Bayer of Lake Bluff know how to put together a memorable picnic with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, flickering ice cube lights, and a premier spot on the lawn.

The Bayers have been loyal Ravinia patrons since 1993 and attend about 40 concerts every summer. Although they enjoy the variety of music offered here, Jon and Sharon are especially excited about Buddy Guy, Lang Lang, Sheryl Crow, the Mozart Operas, the Joffrey Ballet, Itzhak Perlman, and Lyle Lovett. They have been apart of the Annual Fund for four years and love being able to arrive early to claim their usual spot on the lawn. I had the opportunity to get some tips from Jon before the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss concert to find out how they put together an amazing spread with such little effort.

•Keep folding chairs and a small table in the car for easy access and store coolers by the door in the garage
•Buy a luggage cart and stack the heaviest things at the bottom to balance the weight
•Bring reusable plastic plates and glasses so nothing will break (plus they are heavy enough to prevents things from blowing away)
•Make your own Ravinia Festival tablecloths with fabric from the store and sew strips of elastic to the bottom of the four corners so it can be attached to the table in order to secure it against the wind
•Freeze margarita mix ahead of time in doubled plastic bags because it will keep your food cold and be a refreshing drink during the show
•Don’t forget an iPod for pre-show musical entertainment

Although Jon and Sharon’s flower arrangements look professionally done, they are actually from their home garden. Jon insists that an unbreakable vase is must and it has to be heavy when filled with water so it won’t spill or fall over. He typically fills a large silver vase with peonies, lilies, common foxgloves, and lovely belladonnas.

Sometimes he prints out menus for guests when they dine on the lawn. Below are some recipes of the Bayer’s favorite foods to bring to Ravinia Festival. Jon remarked that, “The best thing about coming to Ravinia is just getting outside, enjoying the weather and music, eating alfresco, and visiting with friends and family.”

Germaine Maschoff
Communications Intern

Menu & Recipes from the Bayers

Menu:
*Chips with guacamole
*Fresh veggies with roasted garlic hummus
*Salad of: fresh green spinach, sliced strawberries, blueberries, blue cheese pistachios. Dress with Ken’s Raspberry walnut Lite Vinaigrette
*Grilled Chicken Breasts basted with Bronco Bob’s Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
*Wild rice with nuts
*Grilled asparagus
*Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

9 inch ginger-graham cracker pie shell (see recipe below)
1 – 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yokes (whites not used)
½ cup Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice

Combine milk, egg yolks and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating. Before serving; top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream (or Cool Whip) and garnish with thin slice of lime.

Key Lime Pie ginger-graham cracker pie shell

1 cup flaked coconut
½ cup gingersnap crumbs
½ cup graham cracker crumbs
½ stick butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons flour.

At least 3 ½ hours before serving, make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Firmly press mixture evenly over bottom and ¾ inch up sides of eight individual tart pans or one 9-inch springform pan or pie plate. Bake 5 minutes; chill.

Wild Rice with nuts

½ cup (1/4 pound) raw wild rice
½ cup brown rice (you can use all wild rice but I like combining it with other rice’s for interest)
5 ½ cups defatted chicken stock or water or bullion
1 cup shelled pecan halves (or your favorite nuts)
1 cup yellow raisins (I always soak the raisins in warm water to plump them before using)
Grated rind of 1 large orange
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
4 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
¼ cup olive oil ( I often don’t use the oil, start with none, taste it and add 1 tablespoonful at a time)
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put rice in a strainer and run under cold water, rinse thoroughly. Place rice in medium-size heavy saucepan. Add stock or water and bring to a rapid boil. Adjust heat to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes check for doneness; rice should not be too soft. Place a thin towel inside a colander and turn rice into the colander and drain. Transfer drained rice to a bowl.

Add remaining ingredients to rice and toss gently. Adjust seasoning to taste. Let mixture stand for 2 hours to allow flavor to develop. Serve at room temperature. Six portions.

Thursday
Jun192008

James Taylor's Music "Heals" for One Fan

Fans of James Taylor say that his music warms their hearts and souls. For Paula Hootman his melodious lyrics speak directly to her. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 at age 41, Paula found the strength to survive and live to see another day while listening to Taylor’s music and singing along while undergoing radiation. As a survivor, Paula believes, “Getting a handshake from James Taylor is as good as a clean mammogram.” The words in his songs inspire and revitalize her like nothing else.

“Everyone loves JT because his music makes everyone click, everyone feels what you’re feeling at the same time,” Paula says.

The first time Paula saw James Taylor was when she was just 14 years old. She has traveled all over the U.S. and Canada to see him perform with her husband Kayne. The Ravinia concerts on June 6th and 7th marked her 48th and 49th concert to see her favorite performer. The concerts were particularly special to the high school sweethearts because he sang “Your Smiling Face,” which was their wedding march.

She recently won tickets to see Taylor in Massachusetts where she hopes to get her picture taken with him. It seems very likely since Taylor has become familiar with Paula and knows her by name. The Grammy-winning artist thanked her for bringing him flowers from the Ravinia stage and said he would see her in Massachusetts.

Germaine Maschoff
Communications Intern

Thursday
Jun192008

Ravinia Opportunities: Building A Better Future

It was a note struck more than a decade ago that is still ringing loud today. Building on the Women’s Board’s Opportunity Lawn Pass program, Artistic Director of Jazz at Ravinia, Ramsey Lewis, suggested that Ravinia could help fill the void left by the demise of music education in budget-strapped schools, and since then Education and Community Partnerships have been a primary mission of the festival.

It’s fitting that it all began with jazz, a music known for its riffing, improvising and evolving because our efforts in the schools and community have done just that. Even as we’ve grown into different grade levels, opened a free public conservatory of our own, and created learning opportunities in our park, performance of live music remains at the forefront of Ravinia’s ECP efforts.

The Jazz Scholars who work with Ravinia’s music-professional mentors, enjoy rare opportunities to perform in school and out and have even opened for Ramsey Lewis himself, and younger kids even get the chance to perform works they created in our Martin Theatre.

Of course, not everyone we reach and teach is destined to play. Enjoyment of live music is a big part of the program. Ravinia makes a variety of resources available to learners of all ages to experience musical performance at Ravinia and even in the neighborhoods, such as Lawndale, where we present free community concerts.

We give free passes to college students to hear Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts and other classical programs. We allow children 5 and under to attend CSO shows for free.

We afford special pricing to select concerts for young people who play or sing in a school ensemble. We present children’s concerts where our youngest listeners learn what concert-going is all about.

We present concerts by groups like Midwest Young Artists, the Chicago Youth Symphony and Chicago Children’s Choir, so those emerging talents not only have an outlet for their performances, but so that their contemporaries can relate to seeing people their age on stage.

In short, we do what can to develop both the artists and audiences of tomorrow.

Welz Kauffman
President/CEO