The annual Gala Benefit Evening hosted by Ravinia’s Women’s Board to support the festival and its Reach Teach Play education programs grossed more than $1.1 million, making it one of the most successful in the 53-year history of the event. Chicago’s own Oscar- and Grammy-winning Jennifer Hudson made her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut, headlining the only concert fundraiser Ravinia puts on for itself. George Hanson, who had served as an assistant to Leonard Bernstein, conducted the CSO for the July 14 concert. Nearly 800 guests attended the black-tie-optional gala, which proceeded with cocktails on Ravinia’s famous Lawn after the concert.Read More
By John Schauer
A long time ago, when I was working as a journalist in California, I came to Ravinia to do a feature interview with James Levine, who was Ravinia’s music director at that time, and in the course of the interview he said something that still haunts me today, as if somehow he sensed what would happen as a result of “social media”—which of course did not yet exist at that time.