Teesee’s Town: Ill. Judicial Council commemorates South Africa’s 15 years of freedom

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Ambassador Nomvume P. Magaqa, South African Consul General, will be the “distinguished guest” when the Ill. Judicial Council, chaired by Judge David B. Atkins, hosts a symposium on Monday commemorating “15 Years of Democracy in South Afr

Ambassador Nomvume P. Magaqa, South African Consul General, will be the “distinguished guest” when the Ill. Judicial Council, chaired by Judge David B. Atkins, hosts a symposium on Monday commemorating “15 Years of Democracy in South Africa” at Chicago-Kent College of Law/Illinois Institute of Technology, 565 W. Adams, beginning with a 5 p.m. reception. Panelists: Dr. Lisa Brook, Judge William H. Hooks, Judge Arnette R. Hubbard, Funeka Sihlali, James Thindwa and the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Moderators: Art Norman, NBC5 news anchor and Dr. Cheryl Johnson-Odim, provost of Dominican Univ.

Magic Music – Renowned pianists, Leon Bates and Jeremy Jordan, along with the Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra and musical ensembles from Lane Tech High School will be guest performers at Saturday’s Sinfonietta Ball at the Fairmont Hotel. Guests will dine with Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra members and SEED Ensembles (Student Ensembles with Excellence and Diversity), and hear remarks by noted historian Timuel D. Black, keynote speaker.

"The Chicago Sinfonietta Ball is always a classic event,” said Teri Boyd, co-chair of the 2009 Ball with Nazneen Razi. “This year, we look forward to not only honoring Blue-Cross BlueShield of Illinois for its generous and unending support of the Sinfonietta and in recognition of its cultural outreach, especially in support of our mission of innovation and inclusion in classical music, but also in raising money to support all of our education programs for young people. Youth is the theme of this year’s event, and we will celebrate those who represent our future and help us to re-imagine classical music,” she added.

Maestro Paul Freeman is founder and music director of the orchestra, which he created to promote racial diversity and inclusion. Gloria Castillo, president of Chicago United, emcees the evening that begins with 6:30 p.m. cocktails and a silent auction of dazzling luxury items, includes one-of-a-kind experiences, exciting behind-the-scenes tours of cultural institutions and more. The event continues with a gourmet dinner prepared by Brad Parsons, the Fairmont’s executive chef, and dancing.

“During our 22-year history,” Boyd said, “the Chicago Sinfonietta has reached out to thousands of children and their families, exposing them to classical music and positively impacting the cultural landscape of Chicago through our emphasis on diversity. The Sinfonietta SEED program is growing music superstars and promoting diversity in classical music.”

Close to 100 CPS students participate. Additional high schools are Lake View, Mather, Kelly, King College Prep and William Jones College Prep. The nine SEED Programs are featured throughout the Chicagoland area, including Ravinia, Southside Friends of the Chicago Sinfonietta’s Magical Holiday Breakfast fundraiser in Navy Pier’s Crystal Ballroom, which yearly attracts some 500 guests, and other Sinfonietta events throughout the year. The final performance is held in Buntrock Hall of Symphony Center. A fundamental element of the Sinfonietta’s mission is to identify, nurture and present musicians and composers of diverse backgrounds. The SEED Program identifies talented student musicians in grades 9-12 and Sinfonietta members lead workshops and master classes.

Fine tuning its efforts to reach out to minorities through mentoring, Chicago Sinfonietta has developed “Project Inclusion: Musicians of Color Mentoring Program.” It provides one- to two-year apprenticeships, mentoring, performance opportunities and assistance with job placement. The Chicago Sinfonietta Ball is the major fundraiser for these outreach programs. For tickets, call (312) 236- 3681, ext. 1559.

Newsy Names – Hats off to a Chicago Defender Woman of Excellence, fashion designer Jermikko Johnson, one of three finalists in the FashioNext competition. The winner will be announced Friday at Chicago History Museum during a FinalĪ˜ Reception, 7 p.m.- 9:30 p.m., hosted by costume curator Timothy Long. Tickets, which include complimentary valet parking, are $30; $25 for museum members and $15 for students. Call (312) 642-4600.

Happy b‘day to CBS-2’s Dorothy Tucker, pharmacist Sonya R. Givens, Chicago Moles Nemi Johnson and Clarabelle Claiborne, who celebrated at the group’s Karaoke Quarter Party co-hosted by Irby Bray and Stephanie Samuels.

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