Guests at this year’s 51st Annual Ravinia Women’s Board Gala on July 29 were in for a treat and not just because it was the perfect Chicago summer weather: not too sunny or hot without a drop of rain in sight. You see, when the gala was initially planned and then announced, Maestro Christoph Eschenbach was to conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra along with celebrated pianist Lang Lang also scheduled to perform. Unfortunately, Lang Lang had to cancel several scheduled performances due to inflammation in his left arm including Ravinia, so the race was on to find a big ticket replacement. As luck would have it, or maybe it was the universe conspiring all along, multiple award winning (Grammy, Emmy, Kennedy Center Honors, Presidential medal of Freedom), highly lauded and celebrated violinist Itzhak Perlman took the call and just so happened to be available on that date. What made the night even more spectacular, Conductor James Conlon had that day free as well. Done! As Maestro Conlon took the stage, he reminisced that it was 20 years ago to the date when he made his CSO debut along with a promising rising talent by the name of Itzhak Perlman, how amazing!
If you’ve never exposed yourself to a classical music performance, you should definitely look into doing it soon. Throw that misconception you may have about it being boring to sleepy music out the door, even if you were not raised to or learned about music, there’s something to be appreciated about how each instrument and the person controlling it can make it go from soft to boom! It’s definitely found its way into pop culture with the recent #MaskOffchallenge
When Perlman took the stage, he received a rousing standing ovation from the audience. In between sets, he would introduce the piece and also inserted some light hearted humor, an unexpected touch that left a great impression. The performance portion of the evening culminated with “Tango” from Scent of a Woman
Following the performance, guests were led into the nearby tent completely decked out by the Event Creative team, for remarks, dinner and dancing.
This year’s Ravinia’s Women’s Board gala, co-chaired by Marilyn Vender and Gloria Reisner, raised over $1 million benefitting the Reach*Teach*Play program which serves over 85,000 students each year including providing music education to CPS students, Guest artists in the classroom and more. The night raged on with sumptuous three course dinner and after party.