Ravinia Appoints Steve Wilson Co-Director of Jazz Program

In anticipation of the reopening of its gates for the 2021 season, the Ravinia Festival has announced the appointment of saxophonist Steve Wilson as a co-program director of the Ravinia Steans Music Institute (RSMI) Program for Jazz. Wilson joined the program for Jazz faculty in 2019, bringing his extensive performance expertise and a deep respect for jazz education to the role. A talented multi-instrumentalist specializing in alto and soprano saxophone performance, he has served as the director of Jazz Studies at City College of New York and conducts clinics and master classes around the world. Jazz Times calls him “the consummate saxophonist-composer” and “one of the finest alto and soprano saxophonists of our time.”

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Chicago Children’s Theatre Appoints Sam Mauceri Inclusive Education and Programs Manager

Chicago Children’s Theatre has announced the appointment of Sam Mauceri (they/them/theirs) to a new full-time staff position: Inclusive Education and Programs Manager. Mauceri’s responsibilities include creating and ensuring an open and inclusive environment for all education programming at Chicago Children’s Theatre, including its full, year-round roster of performing arts classes and camps for children 0 to 18.

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Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Fastrack Second Wave of Grants to Chicago and South Carolina Arts Organizations

A year after its April 2020 announcement of nearly $3 million in expedited funding, the Chicago-based Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation (the Foundation) has announced a second wave of support, expediting an additional $3 million that includes: $1.4 million in general operating funds to its current roster of 175 arts grantees in the Chicago region and 40 in the Lowcountry of South Carolina; $705,000 to grantees wishing to renew multi-year grants; and $75,000 to be provided to five regional arts service organizations including the Chicago-based institutions Arts Alliance Illinois, Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and League of Chicago Theatres.

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LUMINARY: Q&A with Singer/Songwriter Kelly Hunt

When it comes to the core artistic tenants of the Folk/Americana genre, Kansas City-based singer/songwriter Kelly Hunt is what they call the genuine article. In a musical landscape that is in any given year ripe for reflection and authenticity, Hunt is an artist’s artist who revels in the stuff. And why should that surprise? Her entire ecosystem from an early age has fed a sensitivity to diverse musical voices impacting her trajectory, from her mother who sang professional opera and saxophonist father who marinated in the hottest jazz, all amid the musical ethos of Memphis, Tennessee, no less. It’s almost as if necessity dictated she evolve into a professional musician or something 180 degrees removed from the space. When that evolution did materialize, Hunt harnessed her considerable artistic resources to produce her debut album, Even the Sparrow, a stunning, stripped down acoustic paean to modern Southern roots music and the near-raw, evocative intimacy and immediacy that makes that sound so well beloved.

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Out of the Ashes: A New Role At Joffrey Academy

Queen Elizabeth dubbed 1992 “Annus Horribilis” (horrible year) because of the various tumultuous events that had wreaked havoc within her royal family that year. Annus horribilis might also be an accurate description of the year 2020, when a once-in-a-century global pandemic wrought havoc upon our nation’s economy and social distancing mandates forced the closure of most of the nation’s arts and cultural institutions.

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LUMINARY: Q&A with Singer/Songwriter Camila Meza

Chilean jazz musician Camila Meza is well-known for her fresh improvizations and her intuitive blending of voice and instrument in a seamless outpouring of music. Ever since the musical upstart left Chile for New York in 2009 to attend the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, she has grown more and more influential as an artist of rank. Almost immediately, she became a regular at jazz clubs in the Big Apple, and as such etched out a reputation of superlative mastery of both voice and guitar, something rare in the jazz world. And as a composer and arranger, she’s developed a voice that embraces both jazz and Latin American traditions, something that is clearly expressed in her recordings for Chilean record label Vertice Records. Having performed in South American, Europe and the US, Meza is already becoming a veteran on the global circuit. She’s performed at the Blue Note of Poznan in Poland and the Swindnica Jazz Festival.

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