A typical Chicago gala’s recipe goes something like this: cocktail reception✔, dinner✔, speech from the organization representatives✔, maybe after dinner dancing and you all go home, goodnight. The Museum of Science and Industry decided to do something a little, remixed at this year’s 35th Annual Columbian Ball.
As guests arrived at MSI inside the big tent out front for the cocktail reception, they were greeted with not only staff members but drones equipped with video camera that flipped while some delivered appetizers under the shimmering tent lights with music by DJ Matt Roan.
This year’s Columbian Ball co-chairs Brooke and Duncan MacLean(MacLean-Fogg) and Sedra and Byron Spruell (Deloitte), were spotted chatting with guests and friends before all were ushered into the Rotunda, Farrell Family Court and Rosenwald Court for dinner.
As the first course got underway, the night’s emcee Bill Kurtis welcomed guests while President/CEO David Mosena made mention of Columbian Ball not being your typical Chicago gala. Cue to a video montage shot by a drone which recorded guests during the reception, caught Bill Kurtis and Donna La Pietra in a shall we say compromising canoodling position and David Mosena poking fun at the other major civic institutions(fish, art) before realizing he was being watched, swatting the drone down eliciting laughter and applause from guests. See science people do have a sense of humor.
Columbian Ball, which celebrated the Museum’s past including past ball co-chairs, acknowledging the impact MSI is making on science education presently and its bold plans for the future and the next generation, raised more than $2 million that will help fund the Museum’s exciting and inspirational educational programs, exhibits and experience. One of MSI’s Science Achiever program participant shared with guest what impact being a part of the museum’s Center for the Advancement of Science Education has had on her and though unsure of what specific science career she will embark on, whatever it is, “she wants to make a difference and make the world a better place”👏.
After dinner, auctioneer Jason Lamoureax led the live auction which included a 2016 Olympic experience in Rio, Deep dive private dinner in the U-505 at MSI, Box seats at a Blackhawks game for 12 and VIP with the Chicago Bulls to name a few of the fabulous packages.
As the saying goes, after the show it’s the afterparty, what with Matt Roan already warming things up, it was time to hit the dancefloor where Questlove and Maggie Speaks had guests young and old packing the dance floor and getting down, best scene of the night.
Those that weren’t in the mood to dance chilled at the Late Night Lounge sponsored by The David Bohnett Foundation. Asked how the MSI team came upon booking the in demand legendary Roots crew drummer & DJ? The team worked with RJ Melman co-owner of Studio Paris which also served as the official MSI Columbian Ball after-party and we hear Empire’s Taraji P Henson and crew were spotted at Paris that night too.
The evening in summation was pretty amazing and so glad to see MSI switching things up and putting the FUN in fundraising.
photo credits: Tai Duncan;Jeff Schear; Alison Neidt Toonen; Jillian-Marsala