Ravinia Festival’s Music Matters Benefit raises a record $378,000
Susan and Steve Rappin of Lake Bluff | Contributed photo by Patrick Gipson/Ravinia Festival
EVENT: “Music Matters”
BENEFITING: Ravinia’s REACH*TEACH*PLAY programs
DATE: May 12, 2012
LOCATION: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago
Updated: June 18, 2012 8:45AM
The Ravinia Associates raised nearly $378,000 at its annual fundraiser “Music Matters” on Saturday, May 12, at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, 221 North Columbus Drive in Chicago.
This year the black-tie event also honored the 50th anniversary of the Ravinia Women’s Board. The Ravinia Associates president is Kara Longo Korte. The benefit was co-chaired by Dave Gaspar and Michael Brooks.Tickets were $225 per person, and the event attracted a record 500 guests.
As guests arrived at 6:30 p.m., they were greeted with signature cocktails including the “cucumber blessing,” and the “blue lagoon.” Guests also enjoyed elegant hors d’oeuvres such as bruschetta with plum tomatoes, yellow peppers, garlic & oregano, prosciutto rolls with sweet figs, goat cheese and toasted pine nuts, fried goat cheese with spicy orange glaze, and shrimp tempura with chili sauce. Silent auction packages featured a variety of treasures including family packages, luxury items, gift certificates, out-on-the-town packages, trips, Ravinia ticket packages to some of the season’s hottest-selling shows, tours, sports tickets and memorabilia, and celebrity-signed items. Guests were able to bid on these items through BidPal hand-held iPod touch devices.
During the cocktail hour jazz legend Willie Pickens led the Ravinia Jazz Scholars, students who study with some of Chicago’s great jazz artists through the festival’s education programs, in performance for the attendees. Members of Ravinia’s Lawndale Choir, an all-ages group that studies at the Ravinia Lawndale Family Music School, also performed for the guests.
The evening featured décor designed by Event Creative. The dining tables included alternating centerpieces provided by A Stem Above, including glass vases wrapped in ti leaves and adorned with vibrant cobalt blue hydreangeas.
The elegant gourmet dinner began with lola roasa salad with roasted pear, candied pecans and honey vinaigrette. The entree consisted of short ribs of wagyu beef accompanied by polenta, mushrooms, broccolini and Barolo wine sauce. Dessert included a raspberry bavarian with chocolate sauce with freshly brewed lavazza coffee and assorted rishi herbal teas. Wine for the evening was provided by Terlaro Wines International.
Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman along with Gaspar and Brooks welcomed guests and thanked the evening’s committee chairmen and sponsors. Longo Korte then introduced a special surprise video for the honorees of the evening, the Ravinia Women’s Board. Produced by Bitter Jester, the video included tributes to the members from students who participate in the festival’s REACH*TEACH*PLAY education programs. Women’s Board Chairman Jeanne Denison accepted a Tiffany crystal platter on behalf of the entire Women’s Board and made some remarks. Members of the Women’s Board were then asked to step forward together as the room filled with applause.
After the presentation, a live auction led by Ravinia Associate Alyssa Quinlan along with Ravinia Life Trustee and honorary Women’s Board member Harrison Steans offered exciting packages including seven-night accommodations at a four-bedroom beach house in La Paz, Mexico, two tickets to the 55th Grammy Awards, invitation to a post-Grammy Awards party, two-night stay at the W Hollywood Hotel and round-trip tickets for two on United Airlines, a five-night stay in a five-bedroom home in Aspen, Colorado, a Northern California wine country vacation including a two-night stay at the Bliss House on the Lynmar Estate, two-night accommodations at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, two nights at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco and two round-trip tickets on United Airlines, a 16-stone 18k gold and platinum Tiffany ring designed by Jean Schlumberger that includes round diamonds with a total carat weight of 1.18, eight box seats to the sold-out Steve Martin concert at Ravinia Festival, two priority parking passes and a meet-n-greet for two and two first-class international United Airlines tickets to anywhere in the world.
A limited number of “Best of Live” raffle tickets were sold for $100, and the winner was able to choose one of the live auction packages as the prize. The evening ended with dancing to the sounds of Gold Coast All Stars.
The Ravinia Associates is a group of young professionals in the Chicago area who volunteer to support the festival by raising funds, increasing awareness of the festival’s programs and developing a younger audience for classical music. For more information, please visit Ravinia.org/Associates.aspx.
Music Matters 2012 benefits the festival’s education efforts, which connect music to thousands of families around Chicago through multitiered education programs comprising in-school training of teachers and students, including the RISE Orchestra, an after-school student orchestra at William G. Hibbard Elementary School; a community conservatory in Lawndale; and the Chicago-wide music appreciation program One Score, One Chicago, which this year focuses on Holst’s The Planets. These programs, under the umbrella REACH*TEACH*PLAY, serve more than 75,000 people throughout the region.