CSO and Ravinia send music to you

 

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (A CSO photo)
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (A CSO photo)

 

It doesn’t matter that some of the memorable concerts conducted by Pierre Boulez or Sir Georg Solti were during the 1990s. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has pulled some of their programs from the Rosenthal Archives so that music aficionados still have great music to enjoy while Orchestra Hall is dark.

Calling the initiative “Gems From the Vault,” the online program lists historic broadcasts available with a click on a free subscribe link.

Among the offerings is Boulez conducting a 1999 concert that starts with Stravinsky’s The Song of the Nightingale followed by CSO principal harpist Sarah Bullen with Debussy’s Sacred and Profane Dances then concluding with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.

Another CSO initiative brings its musicians and guests from their homes to yours.

For more information and program listings visit CSO/gemsfromthevault and also check out CSO/fromhome.

 

Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)
Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)

Ravinia Festival has joined the growing list of arts organizations presenting special programs while their in-person venues are shuttered. Dubbed RaviniaTV, the program is a 20-minute weekly variety show that can be found on YouTube and Facebook. Fridays at 7 p.m. CDT.

The series starts with Ramsey Lewis performing from home on July 3 and with Chicago performances recorded last year.

Future episodes will include CSO concertmaster Robert Chen, pianist Kevin cole, vocalist Sylvia McNair, and other performers.

“It broke our hearts when the Covid pandemic forced Ravinia to cancel a season for the first time since the Great Depression, so the whole team got together to create ways to stay connected to the Ravinia Family, our artists, and audiences in what would otherwise be our silent summer,” said Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman.

“So many of the longtime legends, as well as nascent stars, associated with Ravinia shared the same sense of urgency to keep the music playing as we all struggle with the hardships of this strange new reality. The solution was a show that not only shares music but offers a casual, conversational feeling like you would have on the Lawn at Ravinia,” Kauffman said.

The series, the brain child of Ravinia Communications Director Nick Pullia, is a mix of new, past, home and in-house (on Ravinia’s stage) concerts.

Episodes also have interviews with such guests as Ravinia Chief Conductor and Curator Marin Alsop and such topics as how civil unrest and the pandemic and its economic fallout might affect the art produced in this era, or how to help your kids keep sane while social distancing.

For more information visit YouTube/Ravinia festival.

Jodie Jacobs

Celebrating the Fourth

 

Enjoy music and drinks at the Beer Garden on Navy Pier (Navy Pier/Miller
Enjoy music and drinks at the Beer Garden on Navy Pier (Navy Pier/Miller photo)

Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed lots of towns’ and parks’ Fourth of July celebrations in the Chicago area with most fireworks canceled including those at Navy Pier.

But many restaurants, particularly those with outdoor seating are open, cruises are going on area waterways, music is lifting spirits at some bars and eateries and you can tune into two concerts with live fireworks at  Capitol Fourth  from Washington D.C. and at CNN’s The Fourth in America streaming live from New York and Washington D.C. for subscribers on CNN.com’s homepage and via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android. It can also be viewed on CNNgo.

 

Cruises

Try something different this Fourth of July weekend. Take a lunch or dinner cruise on the Odyssey on the Chicago River or Lake Michigan.

Navy Pier Restaurants and Music

Go over to Navy Pier, open 10 a.m. to midnight to eat outdoors at Harry Caray’s Tavern, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, and other outdoor spots. Find a seat at the Miller Lite Beer Garden for its “Live on the Lake” from 2-11 July 3 and all day on July 4. Stop at the Wave, Wall, Wax platform to hear DJs from 5pm to 7pm. Face coverings required. Visit Updates Navy Pier .

 

Capitol Fourth on PBS (Shot from cameras throughout the DC area compliments of Capitol Fourth)
Capitol Fourth on PBS (Shot from cameras throughout the DC area compliments of Capitol Fourth)

A Capitol Fourth

For great celebrity performances, meaningful tributes to heroes and spectacular fireworks go to your PBS station or online for Capitol Fourth. This year, the annual program has taped performances from 7 to 8:30 p.m. CT  followed by live fireworks.

“For four decades “A Capitol Fourth” has paid tribute to our nation’s birthday and the hopes and dreams of all Americans,” said Executive Producer Michael Colbert. “This year, our broadcast will reflect what we as a country have faced and the challenges ahead, while showcasing our message of inclusion, patriotism and love.”

Co-hosted by actor/ producer John Stamos (Netflix’s You, Fuller House, ER) and multi-platinum recording artist and TV, film and Broadway star Vanessa Williams, the program features Patti LaBelle; John Fogerty; Renée Fleming; The Temptations Trace Adkins; Andy Grammer, Yolanda Adams; Brantley Gilbert; Lauren Alaina; Brian Stokes Mitchell; Kelli O’Hara and Mandy Gonzalez (Hamilton, In the Heights); with National Symphony Orchestra under the direction Jack Everly.

The program can be heard on NPR member stations and will be streaming on Facebook, YouTube and www.pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth. It is followed by fireworks going off to Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

 

CNN The Fourth in America

Aired from 7  to 11 p.m. CT, T the program will be hosted by CNN’s Don Lemon from New York and CNN’s Dana Bash from Washington, DC.

Performers include Jewel, Barry Manilow, Martina McBride, Kenny Loggins, Andy Grammer, Carlos Santana and Cindy Blackman Santana, CeCe Winans, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, The O’Jays, Don McLean, Jesse Colin Young and Little Kids Rock, Billy Ray Cyrus, Burt Bacharach & Musicians from the Berklee College of Music, Harlem Gospel Choir.

In addition, there will be the original Broadway cast of Girl From the North Country, inspired by the Bob Dylan’s songs and the cast of Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations.

Orchestral numbers are performed by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, the US Navy Band and the US Army Field Band, the new York Philharmonic and youth symphonies from  San Francisco, Colorado, Houston, Chicago and New York.

Fireworks highlights from New York, Washington Houston, Jacksonville and Nashville will be shown throughout the program which will be available to subscribers on CNN.colm’s homepage and CNN’s apps for iOS and Android.

 

 

A different Chicago summer finds some farmers markets opening and some programs online

 

Unfortunately, most Chicago summer events have been canceled, including the Air and Water Show .(City of Chicago photo)
Unfortunately, most Chicago summer events have been canceled, including the Air and Water Show .(City of Chicago photo)

Most of the events that bring thousands of residents and tourists downtown Chicago such as Lollapalooza and the Air and Water Show have been canceled for what will be remembered as the summer of COVID-19.

But with summer there also comes farmers markets, a different way to enjoy Taste of Chicago and where to find entertainment options.

 

Concert Week Special

The Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra is playing this week with the last concert Friday, June 12. Tune in at 6 p.m. to hear this talented group. Find them on facebook at FacebookCYSO even if you don’t have an account.  Or watch and find more information at Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra/week.

 

 

Green City Market (Chris Cassidy photo)
Green City Market (Chris Cassidy photo)

Farmers Markets

Some outdoor markets have opened in the suburbs under strict guidelines including the Evanston Farmers Market.

In Chicago, a few are expected to open in June and July. However, most have curb-side or other pickup arrangements through a What’sGood app. For farmers market news visit Chicago City Markets.

Green City Market opens its Lincoln Park location June 13 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market will only be open on Saturdays. The 7-8 a.m. time is for COVID vulnerable populations. GCM in the West Loop opens in Mary Bartelme Park on June 20 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

See Shopper guidelines because they will ensure the markets can stay open. They include how to move swiftly through the market, wearing face coverings, keeping social distances and not touching items.

For more information on the market you usually use visit and how and where to find its goods visit Chicago farmers market collective.

 

Taste of Chicago is in to-go mode July-8-12, 2020. How to support the restaurants and how to find chef demonstrations  online visit Taste of Chicago To-Go

 

Online arts programs

Under the title Do Stuff at Home, the Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events suggests watching local online programs that range from “The Quarantine Concerts that can be seen today, June 11 through June 30 and First Folio’s “Cymbeline: A Folk Musical” available through June 14 to “Keeping Pride Alive” on June 28. To see the schedule go to DO312.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Around Town revisits Millennium Park concerts and takes a field trip to MSI

 

Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park hosts summer concerts. (JJacobs photo)
Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park hosts summer concerts. (JJacobs photo)

 DCASE Millennium Park Concerts

Yes concerts across Chicago have been cancelled or postponed so the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is doing “Home,” a concert series you can catch on DCASE’s Youtube and Facebook pages..

It starts this weekend, May 22-23, with a DJ House mix that would have been in the city’s 5th Annual House Music Festival.

Next up, Gospel singers will be on the series May 29-30 because of Chicago’s 35th Annual Gospel Music Festival. That will be followed by blues, June 5-7 for what would have been the 37th Annual Blues Fest. For more information on the concerts, visit  youtube/com/ChicagoDCASE.

 

Museum of Science and Industry. City of Chicago (MSI photo)
The Clarence Darrow Bridge is behind the Museum of Science and Industry. (MSI photo)

 

HitPlay Chicago Museum Series

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s field trip goes to the Museum of Science and Industry

The field trip went live at HitPlay on Wednesday, May 20 and will be on WTTW the PBS TV station today, May 22 and again midday Monday, May 25.

An impressive building dating to the 1893 Columbian Exposition, MSI is known for, among other things, its coal mine experience. However, on this visit viewers will come across science experiments they may not be familiar with,and the popular indoor tornado section they may know of in the science Storm exhibit.

One stop that viewers may find fascinating and very current, is the Wanger Family Fab (fabrication) Lab that can make face shields.

Stay with the video to the Big Train Story where model trains go from Chicago to Seattle past well-known city buildings and mountain scenery.

For past field trips scroll down on HitPlay Chicago to see the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the National Museum of Mexican Art.

 

 

Ravinia becomes the latest summer festival to cancel

 

The annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular fills the lawn at Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)
The annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular fills the lawn at Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)

If you have been to Ravinia Festival, the Highland Park summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a popular outdoor venue of pop, jazz, folk and classical music entertainers, you likely remember lawn picnics under the stars or sitting in the Pavilion to catch a favorite recording artist.

But today, May 1, 2020, Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kaufman announced that the 2020 season has been canceled to protect the health and safety of its audiences, artists, staff and neighbors.

“Out lengthy and thorough discourse on this topic has brought us to the conclusion that it is impossible to move ahead with the season, “ said Kauffman referring to discussions with the Ravinia Board of Trustees and volunteers.

He also noted that Ravinia had been working with guest artists since February on how to proceed including rebooking performers in future seasons.

On the docket for this year were more than 120 programs from June 12 through Sept. 16 plus the Steans Music Institute, which will also be closed.

Ravinia, the oldest operating festival since 1904 had only canceled seasons from 1932 to 1935 due to the Great Depression.

Ticket holder options include refunds, vouchers for future programs and changing them to what would be much appreciated tax-donations.

The concert recording of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass,” announced earlier this year, is still scheduled for its PBS broadcast May 15.  Kauffman added that Ravinia is also developing other virtual experiences, such as classes and lectures geared to students of all ages.

“The lives of these young students have been thrown in total disarray, so it is important that Ravinia helps where it can to provide the structure of these virtual classrooms. Our programs give young people a means of expression and connection with each other and their own quarantined families. We teach them that music is their superpower, and what better time than now to have a superpower?” Kauffman said.

He was joined in the announcement by Ravinia Board Chairman Don Civgin who said, “The crisis created by the Covid pandemic has impacted so much of our lives in dramatic ways. Ravinia will do its part in helping the nation recover.”

Civgin added,“We will celebrate that recovery with music under the stars next summer.”

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

 

Around town finds a couple of virtual Earth Day visits

 

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL (J Jacobs photo)
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL (J Jacobs photo)

 

Of course we try to employ good recycling practices year round but we’re also used to helping out in volunteer clean-up groups on beaches and rivers on Earth Day.

Started in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson,, WI, to encourage conservation and environmental awareness, Earth Day became an internationally observed day with a variety of related activities in 1990.

Typical Earth Day activities have generally been canceled in 2020 to avoid getting and spreading the Covid-19 virus. However Earth Day is still April 22 so think recycle but also take a couple of moments to virtually visit two of the Chicago area’s largest nature centers: The Chicago Botanic Garden in north suburban Glencoe and the Morton Arboretum west of Chicago near Lisle. They are sharing what’s blooming, garden tips, stay-at-home Earth Day activities and views of their grounds.

Visit Chicago Botanic Garden Earth Day and Smart Gardener sites for some activity ideas. Then go to ChicagoBotanic/Gardens for a live feed to see what’s in bloom.

At the Morton Arboretum look for Virtual Bloom Report and then go to Virtual Tours via Google Arts and Culture.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Enjoy performances online

 

Savanah Music Festival canceled but has an online Noon30 program for performers. (Photo courtesy of Savannah Music Festival)
Savanah Music Festival canceled but has an online Noon30 program for performers. (Photo courtesy of Savannah Music Festival)

 

Stage venues have gone to YouTube, Facebook and various web sites to keep their performers and to give something to the vast majority of stay-at-home audience members. Here is one that goes live today and can become a noon plus 30 tune-in habit.

Savanah Music Festival

The popular music festival has canceled this spring’s concerts and has moved some artists to September. However it has started a new, online concert series called Noon30 that starts today at March 26 12:30 p.,. EST and will continue through April 11, 2020.

Find Germain Lopez premiering the series from his home in Spain where he will be performing an acoustic version of “A Punto de Nieve” at You Look for tube/SMForg.

Look for Vasen, also performing today from Uppsala, Sweden. You can find his performance of “IPA Gubben at You Tu Be.

Jodie Jacobs

Related: Grand entertainment online

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RWJLcchTVk&feature=youtu.be

Vasen will be on Noon 30 with “IPA Gubben” from Uppsala, Sweden.

Celebrating Saint Paddy

Chicago turns its river green in honor of St. Patrick's Day and the Irish. (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)
Chicago turns its river green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and the Irish. (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, claim a little Irish blood. Wear something green. Say Sláinte for cheers and toast Éire go Brách! (Ireland forever). But you don’t have to wait until March 17, the commemorative date of St. Patrick’s death to celebrate his feast day.

Chicago celebrates this patron saint of Ireland with parades, multiple pub toasts, Irish dancing, music, special boat cruises and of course, the famed turning of the Chicago River green several days before the official date.

The festival, concert and river scene

Siamsa Na Ngael celebration at Symphony Center, 220 S.. Michigan Ave. brings Celtic music, dance and stories to the Chicago symphony’s home, March 11.

House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, features the famed Gaelic Storm on March 13-14.

March 13-15 Cruises take off from Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue docks to the sounds of Irish music and tour the Chicago River or watch it turn green. For March 14’s river dyeing event check with Wendella for a 21 and older cruise and a kids cruise.  Or visit Shoreline Sightseeing’s Architecture River Cruises that celebrate Saint Paddy’s weekend by also learning about Chicago’s buildings. Other cruise choices are to see what the Spirit of Chicago Lunch Cruise has on the menu for March 14 or consider the inaugural St. Patrick’s Day Clover Cruise to watch the river change color, March 14.

Irish American Heritage Festival  is the annual popular place to head for food, drinks, good Irish dancers and good bands when the City of Chicago parade is over on Saturday. The Heritage Center is at 4626 N Knox Ave. Tickets are needed for the festival which goes from 1 to 11:59 p.m.

Shamrock on the Block is another popular post Saturday parade spot for food, drinks and entertainment. It’s like a large block party outside Old St. Pats Church at 700 W. Adams St.

River Dyeing happens at 9 a.m. March 14 along Wacker Drive between Columbus Drive and State Street. To watch from the Michigan Avenue Bridge or the walkways, get there early because the event normally attracts crowds.

The parades

City of Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade is considered the largest of its kind in the U.S. Beginning at noon, politicians, floats, bagpipers, dancers and bands take three hours to go north on Columbus Drive from Balbo to Monroe Drives.

Southside Irish Parade on March 15 is a neighborhood, family-friendly parade that draws from other areas. Once canceled because of drinking there is a strictly enforced no drinking policy in the neighborhood and along the parade route which  goes along Western Avenue from 103 rd  St. to 115th.St. The parade steps off at noon.

Northwest Side Irish Parade starts at noon at the William J. Onahan School then goes south on Neola Avenue to Northwest Highway then north to Harlem Avenue. Parade watchers often go to a post parade party at St. Thecla Falcon Hall, 6725 W. Devon Ave,. for food, drinks and entertainment from 1 to 5 p.m.

Sláinte

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Around Town revisits orchid show

 

Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show (J Jacobs photo)
Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show (J Jacobs photo)

A one-time walk-through at “Brilliance,” the Chicago Botanic Garden’s orchid show, had lifted the mood when the show opened on a cold, winter day. But going back for a second, more leisurely stroll meant finding delightful orchids clustered low under and along the garden’s regular greenhouse inhabitants and orchids seeminly glowing in the March sunlight.

How the orchids look in varying sunlight, but also the artificial light turned on during Orchids After Hours, (Thursdays March 5-19) is no accident. Called “Brilliance’ this year, the show is about color.

Bright bromeliad complements delicate orchids in entrance to the Chicago botanic garden show. (J Jacobs photo)
Bright bromeliad complements delicate orchids in entrance to the Chicago botanic garden show. (J Jacobs photo)

To complement the orchids’ hues, the garden has added bromelads in the entrance walkway, blue pipe-like glass forms in the center greenhouse’s shady walk, a bright magenta chandelier-like glass over that greenhouse’s water feature, hanging metal circular planters outside the greenhouses’ walkways and chrome-style reflecting ball-halves along a walkway.

The effect is stunning day or night. But a good way to see the show is to return at night when river-like blue stone is lit from below and the greenhouses’ lights pick up other colors and reflections.

Blue glass paths hardly noticed during the day light up at night as blue pipe like glass seems to drip down from above. ( J Jacobs photo)
Blue glass paths hardly noticed during the day light up at night as blue pipe like glass seems to drip down from above. ( J Jacobs photo)

To enjoy the orchid nightscape with special beverages, consider coming for Evening With Orchids March 11 that features beer and spirits tastings.

If you are a morning person, Tuesdays and Thursdays feature Morning Music in the Nichols Hall that range from guitar to jazz to classical.

For orchid advice and orchid displays visit on March 14-5 when the Illinois Orchid Society Show is at the garden.

The Chicago Botanic Garden features color and form in its 2020
The Chicago Botanic Garden features color and form in its 2020 orchid show. (J Jacobs photo)

However, if after seeing the gorgeous array of color inspires some home plant décor,  know that many of the orchids in the show are available to members and the public at reduced prices during the afternoon of the Post Show Sale March 26, four days after the show closes on March 22.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, just east of Edens Expressway. For Garden ticket and other information call (847) 835-6801 or 835-5440 or visit Chicago Botanic.

Jodie Jacobs

Annual Orchid Show goes modern and brilliant

Chicago botanic Garden Orchid show focuses on color. (J Jacobs photo)
Chicago botanic Garden Orchid show focuses on color. (J Jacobs photo)

 

The Chicago Botanic Garden’s annual Orchid Show takes on another dimension in 2020.

“We’ve done destinations. This time it’s more modern,” said Visitor Events and Programs Coordinator Sara.Harlow.

Titled “Brilliance,” the show also calls attention to orchids’ colors. “Color is important because it is part of the survival strategies of wild orchids so they can reproduce,” Harlow said, referring to how color attracts pollinators.

When visitors walk in to the exhibit in the Garden’s Regenstein Center, they will see towers of colorful orchids in the Nichols Hall, gorgeous groupings with bromeliads at their base and interesting pipe ensembles above and around them in the area leading to the greenhouses. The bromeliads add even more color.

The exhibit continues around to the left in a semi-circle of greenhouses. On the way to each greenhouse, the corridor’s walls tell stories about the importance of color and offer more orchid information. The greenhouse walls along the corridor display charming metallic circle planters filled with artistically arranged orchids.

Orchid Show at Chicago botanic Garden goes modern with lights. (J Jacobs photo)
Orchid Show at Chicago botanic Garden goes modern with lights. (J Jacobs photo)

What visitors will see during the day are sun-lit orchids seemingly planted along colored stones, orchids filling towering frames and orchids hanging from the ceiling between colorful tubes of light.

However, those rivulets of stones really cover lighting circuitry that will create a different dimension during special evening hours, according to Harlow.

“Visitors should also try to come at night We are doing After Hours Thursdays. It will look different,” she said.

To learn more about the orchids in the show from Cattleya to Cypripedium visit Chicago Botanic/Orchid Species.

The Orchid Show is at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe (just east of Edens Expressway) through March 24. General hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. After Hours goes until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Feb. 14. For tickets, parking and more information visit Chicago Botanic/Orchid.

Jodie Jacobs