HIGHLAND PARK, IL—On Saturday, September 18, Ravinia Festival and the Ravinia Associates Board held its annual Music Matters fundraising dinner, auction, and concert, raising more than $600,000 for the festival’s Reach Teach Play education programs. Each year, the event celebrates a person or institution that has made a tremendous impact on music education; this year the honor went to Reach Teach Play’s classroom teachers—with whom the festival partners to bring music into children’s lives—who were able to keep their programs going last year despite the challenges of teaching during a global pandemic.
Under the umbrella Reach Teach Play, Ravinia’s education programs annually reach over 75,000 students, families, and community members in Lake and Cook Counties. The programs include a free family music school in Lawndale; the celebrated Jazz Mentor Program, which brings together top Chicago high-school jazz players to work with the best in the business as an active ensemble; and Sistema Ravinia, which implements El Sistema-based student orchestras in Chicago Public Schools and Lake County schools, with Ravinia supplying teachers, instruments, and other needs.
The evening began with a cocktail reception on the festival’s South Lawn sponsored by US Bank, followed by a live auction, which raised more than half of the event’s funds that evening. A garden–themed dinner was served before the concert sponsored by Evergreen Real Estate Group, which featured genre-bending artist Ben Folds with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra.
More than 450 guests attended the fundraising event, including Ravinia President and CEO Jeffrey P. Haydon, Associates Board President Jonathan Marks and Vice-President Heidi Bellinger, Music Matters Co-chairs Roxana Underwood and Kristin Heger, as well as the board’s active and sustaining members.
The Music Matters event has been hailed as one of the most fun fundraisers on the social calendar, offering cocktails, dinner, raffle, live music, and live and silent auction.
For more information on the Associates Board, visit the Associates Membership Guide here. Ravinia is a not-for-profit organization.
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