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Music Institute Raises More Than $765,000 At Annual Gala Benefit June 2

The event raised more than $765,000 from a combination of ticket sales, contributions, and sponsorships.

Music Institute Raises More Than $765,000 At Annual Gala Benefit June 2

Celebrating more than 90 years of advancing innovation, access, and excellence in music education, the Music Institute of Chicago welcomed 200 guests to its Annual Gala Benefit on Thursday, June 2 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. The event raised more than $765,000 from a combination of ticket sales, contributions, and sponsorships, including more than $120,000 from a paddle raise held during the program.

The proceeds from the Annual Gala Benefit provide the single-largest source of funds for financial aid and scholarships, tuition-free community engagement and schools programming, and neighborhood-based service activities that positively impact thousands of individuals of all ages and from all backgrounds each year.

Highlights of the evening included the presentation of the Dushkin Award to violinist Hilary Hahn; the Cultural Visionary Award for Chicago to Nancy and Scott Santi; and the Richard D. Colburn Award for Teaching Excellence to cello faculty Dr. Tanya L. Carey. Musical performances included a drumline from the LEARN Excel Charter School, a New Orleans Band procession led by Music Institute Jazz Studies Director and faculty member Audrey Morrison, and performances by students in the Music Institute's Community Music School and its Academy for gifted pre-college students. Dushkin Awardee Hahn performed with more than 50 Suzuki and Academy students in a grand finale conducted by Music Institute Conductor-in-Residence and Academy Director Jim Setapen.

Board Chair Scott Verschoor, who is also one of more than 200 adult students at the Music Institute, said in his remarks, "Tonight, we celebrate music, from discovery through mastery and to the many spaces in between. We celebrate the importance of music to provide healing to a country and world faced with pandemics, war, and civil unrest. Music will always be our constant. I came across a statistic that stated more than 70 percent of people over age 45 say music gave them strength and healing during a difficult time in their lives. At the Music Institute we believe music is an essential element of a compassionate community; it strengthens bonds and nourishes the human spirit. We also believe live music and quality music education should be accessible to everyone."

Peter Dushkin, Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols, and Deborah Rutter were Honorary Gala Chairs. Carlos R. Cárdenas, Hans and Denitta Germann, and Catherine M. and Frederick H. Waddell were Co-Chairs.

The prestigious Dushkin Award, established more than 30 years ago and named for the Music Institute's visionary founders Dorothy and David Dushkin, recognizes international luminaries in the world of music for their contributions to the art form, as well as to the education of youth. This year's recipient, three-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn, is a prolific recording artist and commissioner of new works, and her 21 feature recordings have received every critical prize in the international press. She was named Artist in Residence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in 2021. A former Suzuki student, she released new recordings of the first three books of the Suzuki Violin School in 2020, in partnership with the International Suzuki Association and Alfred Music. Her Instagram-based practice initiative, #100daysofpractice, has helped demystify the typically grueling and isolating practice process, transforming it into a community-oriented, social celebration of artistic development.

The Cultural Visionary Award for Chicago recognizes individuals who make an indelible impact on the community through their philanthropic, civic, and cultural leadership. This year's honorees, Nancy and Scott Santi, have been friends of the Music Institute for nearly two decades. Scott is chairman and CEO of Illinois Tool Works, one of the Music Institute's largest sponsors and a corporate supporter for more than 25 years. He has served on several corporate boards including W.W. Grainger and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, while his nonprofit service includes board seats with the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, Northwestern University, Rush University Medical Center, and Big Shoulders Fund, as well as the Museum of Science and Industry, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Ravinia Festival. Nancy, an educator by background, serves as a trustee for the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, a board member for PAWS Chicago, and a member of the Women's Board at Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Art Institute of Chicago, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago. Together the couple has been instrumental in the success of the ITW David Speer Academy and recently chaired the 20th Anniversary Fund for the LEARN Charter School Network, a partner of the Music Institute's ArtsLink Program. The Music Institute presented its Richard D. Colburn Award for Teaching Excellence to Dr. Tanya L. Carey, a member of the Music Institute's cello faculty since 2005, instructing cellists of all ages in the Suzuki program as well as the Academy. In addition to her daily teaching in Chicago and as a guest master clinician, she has trained hundreds of cello teachers around the world, ensuring that her high standards in cello pedagogy are shared with present and future generations. She is a past president of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and an artist-teacher at Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts. She has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic and Eastman Rochester and Rochester Civic Orchestras and has appeared as a recitalist and chamber musician at Tully and Carnegie Halls. She is the author of the Cello Playing is Easy Series, a highly comprehensive and pragmatic guide for teachers and players.

The Music Institute of Chicago is grateful to ITW for its sponsorship of this event.

The Music Institute of Chicago leads people toward a lifelong engagement with music through unparalleled teaching, exceptional performances, and valuable service initiatives that educate, inspire, and build strong, healthy communities. Since its founding in 1931, the Music Institute's commitment to innovation, access, and excellence has served as an important community resource and helps to ensure music is available to everyone. Each year, the Music Institute provides personalized music instruction to more than 1,500 students, regardless of age, level of experience, or financial means, across eight Community Music School locations in Chicago, Downers Grove, Evanston, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, and Winnetka, as well as online. In addition, the Music Institute brings music education, arts curriculum integration, professional development, and music performance and engagement opportunities to thousands in the Chicago area; offers scholarship opportunities to students in its Community School and its Academy, a nationally recognized training center for highly gifted pre-college pianists and string players; and (pre-pandemic) welcomes more than 15,000 visitors annually for performances, master classes, and special events at Nichols Concert Hall.

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