THE WORD | Jennifer Hudson Headlines Gala That Raises $1.1 Million For Music Education At Ravinia

Nearly 800 guests attended the black tie gala (attire was optional ) hosted by Ravinia's Women's Board which preceeded the Ravina Festival concert. The event was held to support the festival and its Reach Teach Play education programs grossed more than $1.1 million, making it one of the most successful in the 53-year history of the event. 

Chicago's own Oscar- and Grammy- winning Jennifer Hudson made her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut, headlining the concert.

"There was a raw excitement when Ravinia first introduced Jennifer Hudson to our audiences in 2011, and for tonight's gala we welcomed back a masterful artist in full control of her adoring audience and her phenomenal talents," said Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman of Highland Park, who booked this gala and all Ravinia concerts. "As she said onstage, Jennifer often comes to Ravinia as an audience member to watch our headliners perform, and it's that love of music that makes her connect so beautifully with an audience. This was an event people will be talking about for years." Via broadwayworld.com

According to broadwayworld.com It was Ravinia's Women's Board that initiated Ravinia's education programs more than four decades ago, and the all-volunteer board remains the largest supporter of Reach Teach Play, which now serves more than 85,000 people each year.