Music Partnerships

Ravinia Festival Partnership

For over 10 years, Ravinia Festival ‘s Reach-Teach-Play Program and the 112 Education Foundation have partnered to bring high quality musical residencies and performances to Highland Park elementary and middle school students.  Ravinia brings top Chicago musicians to work with the students in band, orchestra and choir.  Each year all fifth graders have the opportunity to attend a musical performance at Ravinia.  The Festival hosts the annual Kids Go Classic concert at Ravinia where hundreds of District 112 students and their families are given free lawn passes to attend a summer afternoon concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

2015-2016 Ravinia Festival Music Program

2015-2016 Ravinia Festival Middle School Music Program

This year’s middle school program focused on the Highland Park middle school orchestras.  The Ravinia Festival brought in the award-winning Chicago Arts Orchestra to provide a two-fold residency experience: guest musicians to work individually with the students followed by a guest visit from CAO’s esteemed conductor, Javier Mendoza.  The residencies culminated in a middle school orchestra performance at Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall in April. Over 150 students from Edgewood, Elm Place and Northwood participated in this amazing performance.  Utilizing the theme of Stravinsky’s “Firebird”, 6th grade students performed “March Heroic” and Ukranian Folks Songs.  The 7thand 8th grade orchestras performed Mozart’s “Finale from Serenade No. 9” and Stravinksy’s “The Firebird”.

Orchestra concert 1

2015-2016 Ravinia Festival Elementary School Program

This year’s Ravinia Festival Elementary Concert took place on April 12th, when all District 112 5th grade students were treated to a performance at Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall that included renowned cellist Ian Maksin and a robust performance by the 5th  House Orchestra.  Ravinia again featured its One Score Chicago theme, which was Stravinsky’s “Firebird” this year.  Ian Maksin began the program with an introduction to traditional Russian music and lullabies and concluded by showcasing one of his own original arrangements.  His performance was followed by 5th House Orchestra’s rendition of Stravinsky’s “Firebird” which was orally narrated by one of the musicians (while also playing his bass) and was accompanied by a visual slide show of the book and two talented dancers who stole the show by depicting the story line behind the music.

Elem Partner 4

2014-2015 Ravinia Festival Music Program

Ravinia’s One Score, One Chicago initiative featuring Porgy & Bess was the theme in both the elementary and middle schools’ Ravinia/112 Foundation programs this year.  On April 16th, district fifth graders attended a concert at Ravinia featuring highlights from Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess opera.  Also in April, the middle school choirs had the unique opportunity to work with Ravinia’s guest conductor Bryan Johnson and perform at Ravinia in a concert culminating in a combined performance of “I Got Plenty O’Nuttin” from the opera Porgy & Bess.


2013-2014 Ravinia Festival Music Program

This year’s program focused on the Highland Park middle school bands.  Through Ravinia Festival, the award-winning Chicago Arts Orchestra provided a two-fold residency experience: guest musicians in each school to work individually with the students and a guest visit from CAO’s esteemed conductor Javier Mendoza.  The residencies culminated in a middle school band performance at Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall on April 29th.    Over 200 middle school students from Edgewood, Elm Place and Northwood participated under the tutelage of Javier Mendoza.  With the theme of Music & Film, students performed works from The Hobbit, Mission Impossible and The Great Oz.


2013-2014 Ravinia Festival Elementary School Program

This year, in partnership with Ravinia’s Reach*Teach*Play program, we changed the format of the elementary school program.  For the first time, all NSSD112 5th grade elementary students were able to participate.  On April 25th, 5th grade students were treated to a performance at Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall that included the Chicago Arts Orchestra under the direction of Javier Mendoza and a special guest performance by Welz Kauffman, CEO of Ravinia.  Students enjoyed the theme of “Film and Music” and were treated to various selections found in film and classics such as the William Tell Overture and a surprise opera piece from The Barber of Seville.  We are very fortunate to have Ravinia and their Reach*Teach*Play program in our own backyard. Thank you Ravinia!!


2011-2012 Ravinia Festival Music Program

This year, renowned music director Shanka Falls visited each of the middle schools to teach choral students spiritual music.  Over 200 students from 6th through 8th grade learned about the historical context of this genre of music as well as the unique style of singing.  Middle school music teachers Christine Frega, Nick Filipowski and Regina Mele all collaborated with Ms. Falls to teach the students. The hard work of students and teachers culminated in a concert at Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall on Friday, May 4th attended by parents. Each of the grades performed a song and the finale was a rousing piece entitled “Freedom Is Coming” sung by all grades of all three middle schools combined.

The Ravinia partnership also offers 2000 free lawn passes for the annual Kids Go Classic Concert. This years’ concert was held on Sunday, July 29th.



2011-2012 Ravinia Festival Elementary School Program

Ravinia Festival Jazz Quartet, led by percussionist Jeff Handley, visited  5th graders at Lincoln and Braeside three times over the spring of 2012.  The quartet performed jazz and taught students the history of great American Jazz.  They demonstrated great works from Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and Ella Fitzgerald. Combining an up close and personal performance along with group discussion and interactive activities, the ensemble provided an amazing look at American Jazz and the influence it has on music today. Teachers and children, alike, were enthralled! Thank you Ravinia Reach-Teach-Play!!




2010-2011 Ravinia Festival Middle School Program

On April 19, over 100 Highland Park middle school students made their “professional” debut at Ravinia Festival’s Bennett Gordon Hall. “A Morning of Jazz” featured performances by band students from Northwood, Elm Place and Edgewood Middle Schools alongside several Ravinia Festival Jazz Mentors, nine of Chicago’s best jazz musicians that give master classes to Chicago Public High School students and intensive year-round training to twenty-five CPS students (Jazz Scholars) selected through audition. Led by their respective band directors Margaret Delligatti, Matt Taylor and Mollie McDougall, Northwood performed Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll,” Elm Place played “Round Midnight” by Thelonius Monk, and Edgewood rendered “Caravan” by Duke Ellington.

For the past several months, Ravinia Festival Jazz Mentors Ernie Adams (drums), Pat Mallinger (saxophone), Audrey Morrison (trombone) and Pharez Whitted (trumpet) worked closely with District 112 band students at all three Highland Park middle schools to expand their repertoire into jazz with an in-depth exposure and study of jazz music, techniques and performance. These top Chicago Jazz musicians taught six workshops at each school in which Highland Park’s aspiring middle school musicians were able to study and learn in small groups. After the students’ concert, to the delight of the crowd, the four Jazz Mentors treated the young musicians and audience to an impromptu jam session.

To learn more about Ravinia’s REACH*TEACH*PLAY Education Programs, visit

2009-2010 Ravinia Festival Artist-In-Residence Program

The fourth grade at Sherwood School took part in a 10-week residency with internationally acclaimed world percussionist Doug Brush. Every child had the opportunity to learn and play world rhythms on percussion instruments. This learning experience culminated in a student performance with Doug.

Red Oak held their jazz program in the spring.

The orchestras at Elm Place, Edgewood and Northwood learned parts of Ravinia’s One Score One Chicago choice – Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Musicians from the Chicago Sinfonietta worked one on one with our student musicians providing them with an unforgettable learning experience. Our music and art teachers were invited to a professional development day hosted by Ravinia at the Art Institute where they delved into the relationship between art and music. Middle school art students also participated in this creative project.


Click here to see pictures of the art created by our middle schools students for this exciting project.


2009-2010 Music Institute of Chicago Artist-in-Residence Program

The Music Institute of Chicago provided the 5th Grade at Ravinia School with a 6-week musical theater program. Students conjured characters, settings, and songs from their classroom curriculum and turned them into musical comedy world premieres. This workshop not only brought writing and theater arts to the classroom, but used the arts to give students further insight and interest in their schoolwork. This exciting program culminated in a performance at Ravinia School on February 25th.


2008-2009 Program

For the 2008-2009 school year, Lincoln School and Wayne Thomas enjoyed the Ravinia Festival residency experience. In honor of Lincoln School’s 100th birthday and the 200th birthday of Abe Lincoln, Ravinia presented a unique program revolving around President Lincoln and various American standards. Students at Lincoln school learned about these American standards and the famous composers and performers that have created this timeless music. In addition, the students had the unique experience of hearing the music performed live over 5 weeks by a fabulous quartet of professional jazz musicians led by Jeff Handley.

The fifth graders at Wayne Thomas benefited from an entirely different, but equally dramatic musical experience. In a series of meetings, the students learned drumming rhythms from around the world taught by internationally acclaimed percussionist, Doug Brush. This exciting program culminated in a performance by Doug and the children for the entire school and their parents. This is the same program that created amazing experiences at both Indian Trail and Braeside the previous year.

2007-2008 Program

For the 2007-08 school year, Indian Trail and Braeside students enjoed the residency experience. Last year, Janet Lubetkin’s fifth graders at Lincoln and Susan Sicilano’s fifth graders at Oak Terrace learned and performed African and Latin American rhythms. Both groups performed several selections for their schools and parents. This year’s Ravinia Festival Partnership with the middle schools focused on live composers and their works. Each middle school band director selected a piece for their band from a living composer: Edgewood performed,Alligator Alley by Michael Doughtery, Elm Place performed Ham Bone by Libby Larson and Northwood performed Gotta Make Noise by Michael Colgrass. In addition to each composer visiting the school and working with the students the Chicago Sinfonietta worked with all the performers in ensemble groups over the course of the spring. The Joffrey Ballet also visited the middle schools and worked with the students on incorporating their musical parts into movement and motion! This all came together in a tremendous performance May 28th at Ravinia’s historic Martin Theater.

2006-2007 Program

For the 2006/2007 school year, sixth and seventh grade band and choral students in District 112 went avant garde studying under the direction of Northwestern professor emeritus Don Owens, who composed three pieces designed especially for each middle school’s students. According to Robert Goldberg, Community Partnership Associate at Ravinia Festival, very few middle school programs in the country could successfully perform this challenging, non-traditional music, but Northwood choral and Edgewood and Elm Place band students were up to the task. Teachers Amy Stein, Daniela Valdez, Matt Taylor, and Molly McDougall worked to prepare their students for the performance at Ravinia’s Martin Theater.