There were no opening night jitters for the Joffrey Ballet’s annual
Spring Gala held April 29 at the Palmer House Hilton. Organized by
co-chairs Courtney Thompson of Hinsdale and Wendy Chronister, the event
ushered nearly 1,000 black-tied and evening-gowned patrons through a
multipart evening that included seven private performances of this
season’s masterpieces at the Auditorium Theatre. The potpourri was
personally selected by Joffrey Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater.
From there, guests were whisked away by trolley
to the historic Palmer House Hilton to enjoy a lavish dinner, dessert
stations and dancing inside the hotel’s State, Grand and Red Lacquer
The Players: Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel, himself a former danseur during his New Trier days, came out to show his support for the Joffrey.
“I love ballet. I used to be a dancer and this is a great company with great lines,” Emanuel said.
Melissa Babcock of Kenilworth, incoming president
of the Joffrey Ballet Women’s Board, called the Joffrey a cultural
“Chicago has been a great support to us making
the Joffrey the success that it is and (the city) is blessed to have
it,” she said.
Gala sponsor Harris Private Bank Midwest Regional
President Zachary Lazar of Lake Forest stressed how proud Harris is to
have the opportunity to show its support for the arts in the current
economic climate, which has seen a marked decrease in arts funding.
“Harris has been a huge supporter of the arts,
donating several million dollars per year to their local communities
around the country (and)we’re very proud of that because it is important
for this to be available to everyone,” he said.
The Bottom Line: The gala raised $1.3 million for the Joffrey.
“Now the work really begins,” Wheater said.
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