On the elegant, manicured lawns of Ravinia, the Women's Board presented its annual black-tie gala July 27 with more than 800 guests in attendance. The evening featured renowned classical pianist Lang Lang, whose career was launched 14 years ago on the Ravinia Festival stage and who now enjoys global appeal. He performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ravinia music director James Conlon, in a program that included works by Verdi, Beethoven, Britten, Prokofiev and Wagner.
The evening began with a reception on the north lawn, followed by the concert, which sold out all 3,400 seats of Ravinia's pavilion. Party Scapes' artist Lothar Speer was on hand, painting the event as it happened, while guests mixed and mingled around the Fernando Botero and Lynn Chadwick sculptures on this cool summer night.
During the concert, Lang enjoyed multiple standing ovations.
"I work with the World Wildlife Fund, whose purpose is to save more tigers, so tonight we have a special version of 'Fanfare for Tigers,'" Lang said before his surprise premiere performance.
Conlon concluded the concert with Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries."
An Asian-themed dinner catered by Jewell Events Catering followed, with decor by Event Creative, in a special marquee tent.
Co-chaired by Caroline Huebner and Lisa Brown Tribbett, the event raised $1.2 million to support America's oldest not-for-profit music festival and its Reach*Teach*Play educational programs. More than 75,000 people are served through these programs each year. "The funds we raised help us put instruments in the hands of students in public schools without music programs of their own, just as it helps us to bring new listeners to classical concerts at the festival," said Ravinia Women's Board Chair Jeanne Denison.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers .
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