The North Shore Weekend, May 6th, 2023

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10 violins of hope

Jewish Community Centers of Chicago sponsors a series of events featuring violins restored after the Holocaust

12 winner takes it all

New Trier Baseball Coach Mike Napoleon celebrates record breaking 951st career win

12 make a difference

Clean your closets and donate gently used clothing to Cradles and Crayons

14 coming home

Evanston native and stand-up comedian Emilia Barrosse returns to her roots with two shows at Studio5

16 memoriam

Remembering the life and legacy of Evanston resident and talk show sensation Jerry Springer


22 let the magic begin

Get a sneak peek inside the Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens with our exclusive designer preview

30 #hashtag

Ragdale's Board of Trustees' President Beth Boyd shares what's trending in her life

31 material pursuits

From "Under the Big Top" ballet to a "secret sauce" for skin care, this weekend's curated items are a must-read

32 weekender

This mezcal-infused cocktail is perfect for all your Cinco de Mayo celebrations


34 sunday breakfast

Northwestern graduate and former high school vibraphone phenom Thaddeus Tukes set to perform on May 19 at Studio5 in Evanston



Jennifer Sturgeon


Michelle Crowe, Dustin O'Regan, Kemmie Ryan, Sherry Thomas, Megan Weisberg


Theresa DeMaria


Elaine Doremus, Mitch Hurst, Bill McLean





Katrina Wittkamp


Tom Bachtell, Barry Blitt, Robert Risko ILLUSTRATION



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Jewish Community Centers of Chicago is sponsoring a series of concerts and educational events that feature violins restored after the Holocaust.

During World War II, Avshi Weinstein’s grandfather, Moshe, immigrated from the Jewish Ghetto in Vilna, Poland (what is now Vilnius, Lithuania) to Palestine. He had completed his studies at the Conservatory of Vilna and went to Palestine looking to find work as a musician. But at the time there was an abundance of qualified violinists, so Moshe took to repairing violins and cellos and opened a shop in Palestine in 1939.

Little did he know at the time that decision would be the start of a family legacy that would lead to educating thousands about the horrors of the Holocaust.

Moshe passed along his talents for repairing violins to his son, Amnon (Avshi’s father), and through a series of happy accidents ended up repairing more than 60 violins that Jews had held on to after the Holocaust. Many of the violins are adorned with a Star of David in the back.

“What happened is that after the war, people didn't want to touch anything that was made in Germany,” Avshi says. “It was banned. and many of the musicians, they actually came from Germany and Austria, and they had very good German instruments.”

Avshi says we know today that most of the violin makers in Germany were not aligned with the Nazi Party, and that some of violin makers actually provided money for Jews to escape and provided shelter for Jews in their homes.

“They came to my grandfather, some of them after the war, and they sold him their violins, violas, and cellos,” Avshi says. “He didn’t want them to break the instruments, but it was basically a useless collection.”

In 1999, Amnon was invited by a prominent violin maker in Dresden to give a lecture in Germany about the instruments he was restoring, and their stories. After that, Amnon spoke on a radio show and put out a call for any instruments that were played during the war. It was similar to the tactic used after the war to locate relatives who may have survived the Holocaust and immigrated to Palestine.

“We knew there were musicians playing and there was music all over. The next day (after Amnon’s radio interview), we got the very first phone call from a person who had his uncle's violin, a very unique violin,” Ashvi

says. “It has a small Star of David in the back and the label is in Hebrew.”

That was the start of Violins of Hope, Amnon and Ashvi’s (who work from their shops in Tel Aviv and Istanbul, respectively)

project to use the violins for performances and tell their stories to educate people of all ages about the Holocaust. Jewish Community Centers of Chicago (JCC Chicago) has brought the violins to the Midwest for a series of concerts and opportunities to hear their stories and their role in Jewish history.

“The first concert was actually in Istanbul in Turkey, done by a good friend of mine. And then we started doing more concerts with more instruments. Today we have over 100 instruments,” Ashvi says. “Now in Chicago, it's basically the biggest project we have ever done, almost six months with more than 100 events, concerts, lectures, and exhibitions. It's an amazing, project.”

Upcoming events on the North Shore include the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education on May 7, New Trier High School on May 10, The Merion in Evanston on May 12 with the Evanston Symphony Orchestra, and again with Evanston Symphony Orchestra on May 14 at Pick-Stanger Concert Hall.

JCC Chicago is the biggest Jewish community center in the country, with centers from Lake County to Lakeview. It serves about 65,000 people annually, including 10,000 children, with a core mission of the caring and keeping of children and families, including what President and CEO Addie Goodman says, “Growing good kids.” She says with antisemitic violence on the rise, Violins of Hope brings a much-needed mes-

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Restored violins that are played during the Violins of Hope performance in the Chicago area this summer. Many violins that Amnon Weinstein restored after the Holocaust have a signature Star of David imprinted on the back.

“What we're really trying to accomplish through Violins of Hope, not just a retelling of the Holocaust and the facts and data around it, but we're really trying to amplify education, particularly for students, so that they have a true understanding of what happens if you don't harness kindness,” Goodman says.

She says Illinois was the first state to mandate Holocaust education in public schools but only 50 percent of states have similar mandates, and it’s important for kids not just to have instruction but hands-on experience.

“You're listening to the music. You can touch the instruments. Your friends in your own peer group are playing them because they take violin and they're allowed to play them,” Goodman says. “This is our programmatic response to a really dramatic rise in antisemitism and hateful speech and actions. We just have to do something.”

Violins of Hope is a massive undertaking by JCC Chicago and, Goodman says, reflects the organization’s commitment to serving Chicago’s broad, diverse communities. The Chicago Violins of Hope program is the largest Violins of Hope project to date.

“Our hope is that we are really demon-

strating for communities what meaningful education can look like. Most communities when they host the (Violins of Hope) event, it's maybe 10 violin for two weeks on exhibit with one performance,” Goodman says. “That’s lovely, but you have a very limited imprint. We believe that we can reach a quarter of a million people between April and September through Violins of Hope in Chicago,”

Ashvi Weinstein mentions a recent performance in Livermore, California and a woman who came up to him in the parking lot afterword and told him of the impact Violins of Hope had on her daughter. It’s one person at a time, he says.

“She said, ‘Listen, my daughter is about 16 years old. The only thing she cares about in the world is TikTok. Last week before going to school, she mentioned she had a boring assembly, but at least she won't have a mathematic lesson’,” Ashvi says. “When she came in the afternoon, she couldn't stop talking about all the stories and the history she heard in the lecture at Violins of Hope. So, I know we got to at least one person.”

For more information about the Chicago Violins of Hope project, visit For more information about Amnon and Ashvi’s work, visit

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New Trier Baseball Coach Mike Napoleon Breaks State Record with 951st Career Win.

After collecting a career’s worth of victories and accolades, New Trier High School’s Varsity Baseball Coach Mike Napoleon can claim another title—Winningest Baseball Coach in IHSA History.

The Trevians’ 5-0 win on April 27 over Glenbrook North at New Trier’s Duke Childs Field marked Napoleon’s 951st win of his coaching career—the most ever in the IHSA.

Napoleon, known by most as “Coach Naps,” is currently coaching his 27th season at New Trier amid a baseball coaching career that spans more than 40 years. His career record now surpasses the previous record of 950 wins held by the late Dave Swisegood, who spent more than half a century coaching baseball in southeastern Hancock County.

He played football, basketball, and baseball himself before graduating from St. Patrick High School in Chicago in 1978. His senior season, Napoleon was named captain for his football and baseball teams. He was an AllConference selection for both Football and Baseball.

After he graduated from the University of Illinois in 1982, Napoleon served as an Assistant Varsity Coach for Hall of Famer Bill Bonk at Quigley South High School. In 1984, Napoleon was hired by Notre Dame High School in Niles as the Head Baseball Coach, then served as the Head Baseball and Assistant Varsity Football Coach at Providence Catholic High School from 1991-1996 before moving north to teach and coach at New Trier.

He has led his teams to two IHSA State Championships in 2000 and 2009 and achieved a record of 693-246-3 throughout his tenure with the Trevians. His career at New Trier also comprises 14 CSL titles, 19

Regionals, 10 Sectionals, three Super-sectionals, six Quarterfinals, one fourth place State finish, and two State runners-up.

“All the schools I’ve worked at have taught me something as I continue teaching young students,” says Napoleon. “The dedication my players have had throughout my career has been remarkable and I have been blessed to work with so many coaches who have spent long hours away from their families to help my teams succeed. I can’t say enough about the parents who trust (us) with their child to help them grow as young adults at this critical age. I chose baseball as a way to incorporate life lessons so they can carry with them throughout their lives.”

Napoleon was inducted into the IHSBCA Hall of Fame in 2000, the year he started coaching the Wilmette Waves Legion Baseball Team, which he has continued since.

“Everywhere Naps has been he’s re-

ally elevated the program, and the way he cares about each and every one of his player translates to wins on the field,” New Trier Athletic Director Augie Fontanetta explains. “His acumen for the game and the way he cares deeply for the kids and community he’s in is demonstrated by the way he fully invests himself to his programs on all levels.”

Napoleon's near 30-year tenure as a head coach at New Trier is also a testament to his work ethic, Fontanetta continues, noting that in addition to teaching Kinetic Wellness, he has also been a varsity football coach as long as he’s been a baseball coach.

“He’s adapted his coaching style throughout multiple generations, and when he does retire, he’s going to be truly missed,” says Fontanetta.

In addition to the New Trier community, Napoleon says his family has always been supportive of his career: his parents try to

come to every game at the young aged of 90 and 86, and all five of his sisters reach out when his teams reach milestones.

“But, with all the love and support I get from (my family), I can’t say enough about my wife, Melanie,” he says of his spouse of 39 years. “She is the one that always keeps me in check. She’s supportive and encouraging when times are tough. She has helped me become a better coach with her ideas about building a program. I try to stay relevant and relatable, and this is from her being positive and informative. My two sons, Dusty and Dillon, using their background in coaching college (baseball), have helped with the new way of instructing youth players and kept me and my staff abreast of current techniques. I guess me bringing them to practices when they were young to Notre Dame, Providence, and New Trier has paid off. And now it’s their turn with their kids—but I will help!”


There’s never been a better time to do a spring cleaning of your children’s closets and donate to Cradles to Crayons, which is in dire need of new and gently used clothing of all sizes.

One in two children in Chicago is at risk of experiencing clothing insecurity, the lack of access to affordable, adequate, appropriate clothing. Cradles to Crayons (C2C) has seen this need grow due to the pandemic’s impact on the economy and overall emergency needs. But donations aren’t keeping up with

the demand. That’s why the nonprofit organization is calling on Chicago area residents to clean out their closets and donate new or gently used clothing for children in need.

Cradles to Crayons needs donations of all types and sizes, including pants, shirts, socks, and shoes from sizes newborn up

to adult medium.

“We are currently very low on donations at a time when the need is significant,” says Dawn Melchiorre, Cradles to Crayons Executive Director. “We’re concerned about our ability to continue to meet the need for seasonally appropriate and properly fitting quality clothing

for children in homeless and low-income situations in Chicagoland. Now is the perfect time to go through your closets, take out any items your children haven’t worn in the last year, and make a difference in the life of a child less fortunate.”

All of the clothing is distributed to

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Evanston native Emilia Barrosse brings her unique form of comedy to Studio5 for two shows on May 13 and 14 staged by Practical Theater Company.

Some comedians’ standup acts are inspired by relationships, or their childhood experiences, or a multitude of other human interactions. For Evanston native (technically) Emilia Barrosse, it could be the demise of baseball, or the miracle of flight, or Socrates.

Barrosse was born into a family of entertainers—her father Paul is co-founder of the improvisational comedy troupe Practical Theater Company and a former writer for Saturday Night Live—and when she was just two weeks old her family shipped off to Woodland Hills, California. While in California she developed an entertainment career of her own, writing for such shows as VEEP on HBO and Tacoma FD on truTV.

She’s also an accomplished standup comedian, having performed for years in well-known comedy venues in Los Angeles. Barrosse recently relocated back to Chicago, and on May 13 and 14 will bring her unique brand of comedy to Studio5 in Evanston, performances staged by Practical Theater Company. She will be performing with veteran comedy festival performer Josh di Donato and, from Los Angeles, Carla Collins, who was honored as the 2015 Comedian of The Year by the Southern California Motion Picture Council.

“I get inspired by things in the moment. I don't sit there and go, ‘It's time to write a stand up.’ Thoughts occur to me and then I'll write them down in my Notes app and expand upon them as I work on them,” Barrosse says. “I've never been somebody that talks about dating. It just never occurs to me as something funny to talk about.”

For example, she’s currently working on a bit about Socrates and ancient Greece.


families in need, in the area, free of charge, through Cradles to Crayons’ network of more than 70 service partners.

The national nonprofit—which has operations in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago—is the only large-scale nonprofit organization to focus on clothing insecurity as a resource gap for children living in homeless or low-income situations. All items collected stay in the

It’s the oddball things that interest her and that’s why people like her material. She

that all up on the shelf when they decided to have kids,” Barrosse says. “They were never

performing; they were never writing. My dad was my soccer coach. They were really funny at the dinner table, but I had to find out on my own that my dad worked for SNL.”

Barrosse moved back to Chicago to study at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism but while there, decided comedy was where she belonged. She was surrounded by Chicago’s comedy scene and couldn’t resist the tug.

“I got to Chicago, and Northwestern, especially, which has such a vibrant comedy scene, and I was going to see improv shows and stuff like that,” she says. “I think I wanted to tell stories that I got to make up as opposed to having to report on facts.”

loves pointing out topics that people have never thought about in funny light, and they may feel like they learned something and come away with a new perspective.

Barrosse says that perhaps her gift of comedy is an inheritance, but almost accidentally.

“What's so strange is that growing up, I had no idea they were comedians because they put

community, allowing donors to reduce their carbon footprint and help their neighbors in need.

Items can be dropped off at Community House in Winnetka, the Highwood Public Library, Sachs Recreation Center in Deerfield, St. Paul AME Church in Glencoe, the Belvidere Recreation Center in Waukegan and dozens more locations throughout the Chicago area.

For more information and additional drop-off sites, visit

Barrosse attended Catholic School in the Los Angeles area and says that, in part, her comedy skills began to develop there as a mechanism to fit in—it helped if she was funny.

“That was when I first started being funny, but it wasn't until I got to college that I thought, ‘I can do this standup thing’,” she says. “It's more than just a way to communicate. It can be like a lifestyle. So, that was the beginning of years of slowly putting it together.”

Back in Chicago, Barrosse says she’s happy to be living in Uptown because it’s near so many open-mic comedy nights where she can continue to hone her craft.

It’s easy to see why she’s on the rise.

“People's favorite bits of mine are about cheetahs or The Lion King or cereal or Gogurt.” Barrosse says. “’You shouldn’t do a bit on that,’ they say, but that's exactly what I'm going to do the bit on.”

Emilia Barrosse performs at Studio5 in Evanston on May 13 and 14. For tickets, visit

Emilia Barrosse
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A talk show launched in 1991 made him famous, but there was so much more to the life of Gerald Norman Springer. We look back at his impressive legacy and lifelong devotion to helping others.

The child of refugees who escaped the Holocaust, Gerald Norman Springer— known about the world as politicians, journalist, and talk show host Jerry Springer— died April 27 at his home in Evanston. He was 79.

And while he may have been raised in New York, the legacy of Jerry Springer was made in Illinois.

After earning a law degree at Northwestern University and entering the political arena—serving as a campaign advisor for Robert F. Kennedy and then mayor of Cincinnati from 1977 to 1978—Springer turned to journalism.

He won several local Emmy Awards while reporting for Cincinnati’s WLWT before finding his way into the career that would make him infamous. In 1991, he launched The Jerry Springer Show, a talk show in which Springer and notable guests discussed current political topics.

With much of that show being filmed in WMAQ-TV’s NBC Tower in Chicago, it was very much a product of the Windy City.

Over the decades The Jerry Springer Show, featuring outrageous episodes like “Honey, I Hacked Off My Manhood,” “I Married a Horse,” and “My Wife Weighs 900 Pounds,” dumbfounded and shocked the world and made Springer the undisputed king and commander of daytime television.

And yet behind the scenes, the man who surrounded himself with so much drama sought refuge from the madness on the North Shore—often seen hanging out in Evanston’s Bar Louie or shopping at the nearby Jewel-Osco.

“I never do interviews about my private life, and I would never be a guest on my own show,” he said in a 2016 interview in Evanston Magazine, formerly published by JWC Media. “I would never, ever do what these people do, because once you do it you no longer have privacy. You can’t take it back once you say it.”

Perhaps all this secrecy helped to divert from the truth, which is that despite his reputation as the titan of trash TV, Springer

was first and foremost a political player dedicated to pioneering change. Born in London in 1944 as his family fled Nazi persecution, he was 5 years old when they emigrated to New York to start a new life. Issues of personal liberty and freedom of speech remained close to his heart until his final days.

It was one of many parts of his multifaceted persona, which was revealed over the

years as deeply empathic and focused on family.

For example, when he was asked to compete on Dancing with the Stars in 2006, he initially refused to take part because he “didn’t know how to dance and didn’t think it was appropriate. Then he remembered that his daughter Katie’s wedding was coming up and saw it as the perfect way to prepare for her big day.

It was also at that time that he shared that Katie—who was blind, born without nasal passages, and deaf in one ear—was his inspiration and dedicated one particularly stirring performance to his daughter who was there to cheer him on.

“I talked with Katie about it and we thought, you know what, this could be a way to combine what I do in life, which is show business, with the wedding,” he told Access Hollywood. “But actually, it’s not much different than Katie’s life. The lesson of life, which you teach your children, is that whatever hand you’re dealt, you go out there and do the best you can. You don’t worry about how good anyone else might be, you don’t worry about vanity, or ‘Oh, I’m going to look silly.’ Katie lives her whole life like that, so I can do it in a dance.”

Further evidence of Springer’s devotion to his daughter comes in the form of Evanston’s public school for students with disabilities. Springer donated $230,000 to Park School, where his daughter volunteered, to build a “Snoezelen room.” Called Katie’s Corner, the area was equipped with special lights, ladders, and swings that helped students with learning disabilities to calm down or become alert enough to learn.

His incredible career went on to tick yet more boxes—from hosting a UK version of his show to a number of acting gigs (and frequent self-parody).

He’d often courted controversy, but what came through loud and clear was that Springer gave a voice to those who would otherwise not be heard—and it’s a mission that goes back to his remarkable beginnings.

“I am dedicated to upholding the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution,” he says. “My own family saw first-hand what happens when those freedoms are denied.”

Springer is survived by his wife Margaret “Micki” nee Velten, daughter Katherine “Katie” (Adam) Yenkin, and grandson Richard “Ricky,” along with sister Evelyn, her husband Dr. Barry Strauch, and family.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN) at and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum at


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Take one-part classical Georgian architecture, imbue it with a 70s midcentury vibe, and give 21st century designers carte blanche to unleash their creativity. This sets the stage for what promises to be a truly memorable showcase for the 19th biennial Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens.

A major fundraising event to benefit Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, the Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens will be will be open to visitors daily from May 6 through June 4. A preview party was held on May 5, kicking off special events within the fundraiser that include an honorary co-chair designer lecture and luncheon on May 8 along with a special pop-up, The Lunchroom, on Mother’s Day weekend and on the closing weekend of the show.

“The preview party has always been a special, excitement-generating part of what we create for the Showhouse experience,” says event co-chair Kathy Allen.

For nearly 40 years, the Lake Forest Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society has worked tirelessly to produce a home to showcase the best-of-the-best in interior and landscape design. Through a commitment to creativity, quality, and professionalism, the volunteerrun Lake Forest Showhouse and Gardens has become widely recognized as one of the top showhouses in the country.

The 16-room, red brick Georgian style home at the center of this year’s event was designed by architect Walter Frazier in the late 1960s and built in 1970. After training at MIT and the L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Frazier became known for his refined elegance in style and an ability to combine his understanding of architectural history with emerging ideas to create unique buildings that seem timeless. In total, he designed 21 of his stylish, livable, and classic residences throughout Lake Forest and Lake Bluff.

Graciously proportioned classical buildings on this lavish estate overlook more than nine acres adjacent to one of Lake Forest Open Land’s largest and oldest nature preserves. Featured in this redesign for the Showhouse will be the 16-room main house, a seven-room coach house, “The East Cottage,” and a gentleman’s outbuilding with vaulted ceilings, “The West Cottage.” Several surrounding gardens will also be designed and reinvented.

Sondra Douglass, who joins Allen and Jennifer Durburg as a co-chair of what has become a signature fundraising event for the Lake Forest Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society, says nearly 40 interior and landscape designers were called in to reimagine the many rooms and unique spaces throughout.

“Having more spaces to design allowed us

the opportunity to feature the work of more designers,” she explains.

Returning interior design firms in this year’s showhouse include Kelly Hurliman Design; Sarah Vaile Design; Alexandra Kaehler Design; Elizabeth Krueger Design; Joey Leicht Design; Cynthia McCullough Interiors; Centered by Design; Relativity Textiles; Lori Lennon & Associates; Soledad Zitzewitz Interiors; Ablaze Design Group; Nora C. Marra Interiors; Michele Frigon Design; James Thomas Interiors; Ilene Chase Design; and Randy Heller Design.

Design firms new to this year’s showhouse include House Beautiful’s 2023 Next Wave designer Evan Millard of Millard LLC; Jenny Brown Designs; Emily Sturgess Design; Studio @ Westmoreland Farm; Sally Brown Interiors; Patina Collection; Vincere Ltd.; Katy Evans Design; Elizabeth Stamos Design; Joyful Designs Studio; Anne Coyle Interiors; Maggie Getz Studio; Horn Danly Design; Interior Design Partnership; Meg Caswell Collection; Lauren Collander Interiors; and Stone Textile Studio. Landscape design firms include Chalet; Gardens in Progress; Architectural Gardens; Rosborough Partners Inc.; Don Fiore; North Shore Turf Industries; Jackson Landscaping; and Gemini Designs.

“Putting together a cohesive Showhouse is like solving a massive, gorgeous, threedimensional puzzle,” says Lake Forest chapter president Chrissy Davis—who was tasked with reviewing the long list of designers and landscapers who apply to participate, and then assigning them to individual spaces.

Nationally-known NYC-based designers

Ashley Whittaker and Timothy Whealon are serving as the honorary chairs of the 2023 Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens and will participate in a lecture and luncheon to take place at the showhouse on May 8. Emma Bazilian, author of Schumacher’s new book Charm School, will serve as moderator and sign books.

Whittaker is an Elle Décor A-List interior decorator who has run her design business in New York City since 2006. Described as the “neo-traditionalist,” she reveals her fresh and modern perspective on traditional design and architecture in all of her work, which is characterized by colorful, pattern-filled rooms. Her first book, The Well-Loved House: Creating Homes with Color, Comfort and Drama, was published in September 2021 by Rizzoli.

Whealon is a Sotheby’s trained Elle Décor A-List interior decorator. His work is rooted in classicism, with a modern twist and an emphasis on fine and decorative arts. His designs are enhanced by both his extensive knowledge of the international art and antiques market and by his team of skilled artists and craftsmen who create many of the custom furniture pieces found in his signature interiors. The first monograph of his work, In Pursuit of Beauty: The Interiors of Timothy Whealon, was published by Rizzoli in 2015.

In addition to the May 8 lecture and luncheon, a new special event featuring The Lunchroom at SPACE 519 in Chicago will be popping up at the Showhouse for two weekends only—Mother's Day weekend,

May 12 to 14, and closing weekend, June 2 to 4. The popular Gold Coast restaurant will be setting up a cafe where guests can enjoy picnic versions of select signature salads, boxed sandwich lunches, assorted pastries, and baked goods, as well as cold drinks and wine.

Proceeds from Showhouse ticket sales; the lecture and luncheon; The Lunchroom pop-up; sponsorships; designer sales; and the volunteer-run boutique benefit the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago. Initially established in 1911 to provide fresh milk from health stations in response to high infant mortality, the nonprofit has evolved to meet the changing health needs of vulnerable families in the greater Chicago area.

Since the 1970s, the Infant Welfare Society has run IWS Family Health, a freestanding clinic in Logan Square that offers a wide array of health care services for the entire family. To date, the Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens has raised more than $5 million for The Infant Welfare Society of Chicago and IWS Family Health.

The Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens will be open to visitors seven days a week from May 6 through June 4, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets to experience the estate either in morning or afternoon time slots are available and many of the decorative items, art, and furnishings in the rooms are for sale. Tickets for the Showhouse tour and other special events can be purchased online at lakeforestshowhouse. com.

2023 Designers of the Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens. Photography by Katrina Wittkamp
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From an enormous European kitchen and elegant living room to a moody library and a whimsical guest cottage, prepare to be both inspired and awed by the designers who helped transform this year’s spectacular Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens estate.

Designers selected to help transform a midcentury home and its lavish gardens for this year’s 19th biennial Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens were asked to reimagine the estate’s indoor and outdoor spaces in new and inventive ways.

The grand foyer delivers a recurring theme throughout the home: "expect the unexpected."

As you roam from one room to the next, you will delight in surprises at every turn. On the main floor, the expansive living room (Vincere Ltd), shifts to a meditation on luxury and comfort. Upon entering the adjoining library (Joey Leicht Design), you will be met with a moody, sleek, and somewhat

eclectic pieces and sensibilities is a hallmark of a Showhouse you won’t want to miss. Here is a sneak peek.



“We feel very fortunate to be designing the living room, which is grand in scale and reflects Georgian symmetry,” says Tom Konopiots, co-principal and partner with Michael Stornello of Vincere Ltd.

It was no small feat to design the nearly 800-square foot room in a way that invites cozy, intimate gatherings while also accommodating larger-scale cocktail parties. So, they started with the rug, or at least that’s how the process unfolded for this design duo.

While in Los Angeles, they went into Ariana Rugs, a vendor that is represented by Lapchi of Chicago.

“We explained we had a very large room and we fell in love with the second rug they showed us,” says Stornello. With its European design, the 18 x 28-foot rug with its 225 knots-per-inch that took three years to create became their inspiration point from which to anchor the array of heirloom quality pieces and art. They added de Gournay slub silk wallpaper with a subtle shimmer to create, a “pretty envelope to work from.”

while a pair of Grace Munakata paintings from Anne Loucks Gallery float above. This is just a taste of the notable art and accent pieces that adorn the room.

Elegant cream colored custom embroidered wool curtains by Holland and Sherry add texture and depth, while framing the expansive windows that look out to the lawn terrace. To style this outdoor lounge and seating area, Stornello and Konopiots worked with Brown Jordan to bring in a selection of outdoor furniture, and Finnegan Gallery to source antique pieces, including large urns on pedestals.


Joey Leicht Design,

Interior designer Joey Leicht has transformed what was once a conservative cherrypaneled library into a moody, elegant, and sophisticated “intellectual space.” He set the stage by covering all of the formerly cherry wood with a rich and elegant black matte

A recent preview of this spectacular Showhouse endeavor revealed that they more than exceeded expectations. This year’s designers have truly made their mark, thinking outside the box to transform this midcentury home with Georgian sensibilities into a true work of creative genius.

Expect to see a return of glistening lacquer in bold, interesting colors and long drapes trimmed with hand-embroidery; feminine scalloped edges that surprise and add a touch of midcentury glamour; built-in banquettes from the library to the dressing rooms and kitchens, which make efficient use of space; and an artful mixing of the old with the new to usher in a new era in design. The adventure begins the moment you walk into a soaring foyer with a floating staircase designed by Sarah Vaile Design. The walls are swathed in DeGournay’s handstitched silk and linen appliqued Matisseinspired “Jazz” mural, with figures that seem to dance up the stairs to the second story.

seductive vibe with its matte black paneling, and avant garde furnishings and accents.

In the newly expanded and restructured two-zone kitchen (Ablaze Design Group), you will envy the high-end gourmet prep and cooking area and find inspiration in the European furnishings and accessories in the living and dining portion (Patina Collection Design Group). Upstairs, you will appreciate the globally inspired whimsy in the eclectic Guest Powder and Dressing Room designed by Erin Minckley for Relativity Textiles.

Moving out to the East Cottage, Lori Lennon & Associates has masterfully designed the compact kitchen with an eye to functionality and maximizing space, using a stunning black and gold range to set the tone for the room. Also in the cottage, Lauren Collander Interiors created a shimmering sanctuary in the Primary Bedroom, with its striking custom dressing vanity and closet, and adjoining lounge space.

The artful blend of antique, modern, and

From there, says Stornello, “we imagined how the room would be used, choosing to add a center table, baby grand piano, and two seating areas.” Above the solid dark wood center table hangs a stunning Garbo opaque Venetian glass chandelier by Fortune.

When it came to selecting furniture pieces, Stornello and Konopiots sourced limited edition, collectible pieces representing artists from around the globe and art from galleries they’ve vetted in their design work.

“We are very excited about the very special sculptured bronze and lacquered coffee table designed by French artist Ingrid Donat,” says Stornello.

“As well as the hand-embroidered fourpanel screen placed on a gorgeous wool sateen from de Gournay, which is mounted on a wall bracket,” Konopiots adds.

An Aegean blue reproduction chinoiserie filigree cabinet between two of the windows is a piece of art in itself. The custom marble fireplace surround created by Paris Ceramics is flanked by reproduction Italian chests

lacquer, called Black Beauty.

“The library was one of my top two choices,” Leicht says. “When I walked into the space, I fell in love with it and almost pictured it finished.”

Easier said than done, as it set him on a mission to find the particular pieces to complete his vision, from the furniture to the art

Continued on PG 24
The Living Room. Photo courtesy of Ryan McDonald Architecture + Interiors Photography The Library. Photo courtesy of Ryan McDonald Architecture + Interiors Photography
THE NORTH SHORE WEEKEND SATURDAY MAY 6 | SUNDAY MAY 7 2023 | 23 Joey Leicht Design Chicago I New York 312.752.0294 DESIGN C M Y CM MY CY CMY K JL_JWCMediaShowhouseAD_SP23_VER3.pdf 1 4/18/2023 6:40:51 AM

LET THE MAGIC BEGIN From PG 22 to the lighting and accessory pieces.

“The furniture is reminiscent of the 1940s, very architectural, and very comfortable,” he says. Some of the furniture was custom made for this room, including a dramatic cream and dark wood, curvilinear Vladimir Kagan chair, and an upholstered banquette built into what was formerly a section of the bookshelves.

One particular piece of art he is excited about is the dramatic black and white Franz Kline-inspired canvas mural that covers

KITCHEN & PRIMARY BATH: Ablaze Design Group,

Designing and building out the enormous, open-concept kitchen in the main house involved combining four rooms, removing a fireplace, adding massive floor-to-ceiling windows and doors to the outside wall, and enlisting two designers to work on two segments of the multi-purpose kitchen.

George Markoutsas, CEO of Ablaze Design Group, was more than up for the challenge.

As the contractor responsible for much of the remolding required for Lake For-

Ample countertop space, topped with natural stone quartzite by Caesarstone, and state-of-the-art appliances by Wolf and SubZero, make this is a gourmet cook’s dream. Metal accents throughout the kitchen, including lighting and electric by Buster + Punch add visual interest.

In addition to the working area of the kitchen, Markoutsas took on the Primary Bathroom. With budget constraints in mind, he made the most of the high vaulted ceilings with an emphasis on the elegant natural marble that takes center stage.

“The design features mindfully tuckedaway compartments that provide privacy and functionality, while accentuating the central area with its striking vaulted ceilings,” he says. “We’re very excited about the layout of this space, which is both functional and visually stunning. We’re also proud to have partnered with Renaissance Tile and Bath, who provided us with some truly exquisite materials and finishes that elevate the overall look and feel of the room.”

design store in Naples, Florida.

“This kitchen was a fairly challenging space, but our store is also a challenge,” Fisher says. “It’s two stories with a very high ceiling, and we are always staging and moving things around. It’s in our wheelhouse to come in and transform a space.”

Add to that their ability to source unique items directly from Europe and their own store, and you get the end result: Abell calls it “European decorating from the soul.” Think Italian pottery, bold antique pieces, topiaries, French baskets, and beautiful patterned fabrics.

The large and airy kitchen was reconfigured by Ablaze Design Group by combining four rooms, removing a fireplace, and adding a whole wall of floor-to-ceiling windows and doors where there once was a brick wall.

“Because of the large space, we created cozy living spaces around the kitchen,” explains Abell. In front of one window, they placed a café table and chairs. In the center of the open area, they’ve installed a long wooden farmhouse buffet table, which contrasts nicely to the gourmet working part of the kitchen with its modern appliances and fixtures.

In addition to the living area of the kitchen, Abell and Fisher designed both the kitchen terrace and the terrace off of the nearby dining room.

the ceiling. Kline was an American painter associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1940s and 50s. Leicht was inspired to create this faux-finish piece after seeing a Kline on exhibit at The Whitney Museum in New York City.

He added French modern art throughout the space with the dramatic black matte wood as the backdrop. Additional finishing details include his own custom-designed tape trim on the floor length drapes by Brimar.

Be sure to look for the many unique accent pieces Leicht selected and nestled among the bookshelves—a large acrylic chess piece filled with vintage watch parts; delightful pop-out Hermes books—in addition to modern sculptural lighting.

This is Leicht’s fourth consecutive Lake Forest Showhouse, which has included a fabulous Young Man Cave Bed and Bath, a Young Adult Lounge, and The Girl’s Bed and Bath.

“I love designing beautiful spaces and bringing smiles to people’s faces,” he adds. I give it my all, and my heart is in every decision I make, especially for this very important cause. I also give credit to all of the behind the sense tradespeople who make this possible.”

est Showhouse productions since 2015 (he has worked with the Showhouse team in different capacities since 2008), he brings his deep knowledge of design/build to the table. His appreciation for natural elements, such as the large-profile honey white oak parquet wood flooring by Divine Flooring, solid white oak cabinetry, and creative mixed metal workings adds to the European feel of the kitchen.

Markoutsas says the Georgian style of the home inspired his design approach.

“It’s a 1970s home, built like a 1920s home, with a midcentury vibe,” he explains.

So, he played off of that midcentury modern, solid, and stately aesthetic in his choices. The custom range hood was designed to mimic the exterior surround of the back of the home, with a large flyover to make the range wall a focal point.

“Overall, we wanted to create a well-balanced space that emphasizes the concept of a lifestyle kitchen, where form and function unite seamlessly,” he says. The highly functional kitchen features ample storage with mindful placement of custom cabinetry by Plain and Fancy, that’s further distinguished by its well thought out interior storage features.


Patina Collection Design Team,

Owner and curator Karen Ann Abell, and creative director Jay Fisher of the Patina Collection Design Team were thrilled to take on the challenge of furnishing and accessorizing the living, dining, and outdoor terrace space of the newly expanded large kitchen.

As first-time designers to the Lake Forest Showhouse, Abell and Fisher bring the additional experience and talent to the table of owning and running a retail home and

“With the addition of the new windows and doors, there is an amazing amount of light and it opens up the kitchen to the outdoor space,” says Fisher. “We are excited to have both spaces as they speak to one another, and we wanted the kitchen to have a garden feel to it—bringing the kitchen out and the garden in.”

The team partnered with Bunny Williams Home to design the nearby dining room terrace, which features a European-inspired kitchen cutting garden with a marble topped planting table.


Relativity Textiles,

“People can expect my space to feel warm and inviting, a bold take on traditional,” says Erin Minckley, founder and owner of Relativity Textiles. Her company designs and manufactures unique and custom designed wallpapers and fabrics.

Inspired by her travels around the world, she says that a recent trip to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico influenced the room at the Showhouse. Mérida’s eclectic colors, patterned floor tiles, and bold art inspired her to break from normal conventions in design. To transform the vintage powder room, with its challenging adjoining dressing area and closet, Minckley envisioned creating a sanctuary for the homeowner, filled with plants

The Kitchen. Photo courtesy of Ablaze Design Group
Continued on PG 28
The Kitchen Furnishings & Accessories. Photo courtesy of Patina Collection
THE NORTH SHORE WEEKEND SATURDAY MAY 6 | SUNDAY MAY 7 2023 | 25 Vincere Authentic Elegance . Relaxed Refinement Interior Architecture & Design . . T 312.337.7778 Chicago
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and botanical scents that invite a long soak in the tub—an oasis amidst everyday life.

In the dressing area, off the main hall, she removed the closet door to open up the space, creating a vibrant mustard colored alcove where she installed a large painting by artist Megan Borah. The walls adjacent to the art pull a floral pattern design directly from the art—the custom wallpaper was made just for this space.

In each of the three spaces, Minckley used wallcoverings she printed in her Chicago studio, designed by the artists of Relativity Collective. The walls of the dressing room are adorned with her colorful chameleon botanical print, which is paired with a bold black and white geometric pattern on the ceiling by Stone Textile Studio.

“I chose some atypical color combinations, because I believe in living with vibrant and happy colors in Chicago’s gray climate,” she says.

The bathroom is wrapped in hues of green “Palm Flower” wallpaper, inspired by African textiles and designed herself for her fourth collection. The shower curtain features another of Relativity Textiles own globally eclectic patterns, Gaar Gold, and on the ceiling yet another wallpaper by SydMayme. The vastly different patterns and colors of the wallcoverings, shower curtain, and fabrics all serve to complement one another, rather than compete, and invite the eye to all areas of the unique space.

Originally wanting to replace the 1960s linoleum tile with cement tile from Mexico, Minckley realized that it would require too much reengineering. Her solution was to paint both the linoleum and the neighboring wood floor, and all of the trim in both areas, in Benjamin Moore’s Mediterranean Teal. It’s bold yet soothing, and serves to integrate

the powder room, dressing area, and alcove. A red hand-painted border around the floor adds another element of visual interest to the room.

“Globally inspired design means transcending our geographic location and pulling in stories from around the world,” Minckley says. “This home’s guest powder room allows you to stamp your design passport on several pages.”


Lori Lennon + Associates,

Having participated in more than 70 showhouses around the country, including the Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens, interior designer Lori Lennon believes that the psychology of a space must be right if the design is to work.

“I study every aspect of design and the psychology of designing any space rather than follow the trends,” she says. “The kitchen always has to be logical and meet the needs of the client before I get into the aesthetics, such as what colors make them happy and the lighting that is so important.”

In designing the “little kitchen” in the guest cottage, Lennon wanted people to get a sense of an organized kitchen. “It’s very important to balance the room,” she adds.

This proved to be a bit of a challenge given the small space and the fact that the window wall is off center. But she tapped into her many years of design experience, flanking the off-center window with matching 12-inch-tall cabinets, as well as designing the base cabinets below with panel fronts to create a bit of an illusion of symmetry.

After selecting a black and gold Hallman Industries professional range with five brass Italian burners, Lennon incorporated that same theme around the lower cabinets. “It looks like the range is continuing around the kitchen,” she explains. The upper cabinets are white, as is the white porcelain refrigerator that appears to run to the ceiling thanks to more clever cabinetry woodwork. The black and white contrast throughout adds to the symmetry of the room.

Despite its small footprint, Lennon embraced the additional challenge of utilizing all of the space she could get. “I found products that can access the corner cabinets, with pull outs on each side of the kitchen that have access to the blind corner. On the upper cabinets, she added small baskets that pull out to access small corners.

Lennon has learned over the years that the only way you can achieve a wonderful kitchen is with custom cabinets and the right lighting, which she calls “mood lighting.”

In this case, utilizing natural sunlight and putting additional sunlight into the kitchen with the correct lighting makes all the dif-

ference. As do the extra touches she’s added, including a gold star above the refrigerator to give it a little glamour and the wallpapered ceiling in blacks and grays with hints of subtle metallic gold.

“It isn’t distracting but rolls around and encompasses you as your work in the kitchen,” she says.

This is truly a small but mighty gem of a kitchen in the darling East Guest Cottage.

a tranquil sanctuary—in the East Guest Cottage.

“The idea that this cottage is intended for the homeowner’s most cherished guests was an inspiration for our design choices,” Collander says. “We wanted to create a luxurious and memorable experience to live your best life, so we focused on thoughtful details that provide everything a guest needs to feel special.”

And that it does. When you enter the bedroom room, you are enveloped in the shimmering bronze cork wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries, which covers the walls and ceiling that follows the angled roofline. The cozy, inviting, and serene atmosphere offers surprises around every turn with an inviting bed and sleeping area—set apart as it sits atop a gorgeous Alexander McQueen silk rug by the Rug Company—on one side of the room, and the former large-closetturned lounge space on the other.

“We transformed the space that was once an enormous closet, too large for a guestroom, into a dramatic lounge, dressing vanity, and closet,” explains Collander. “We are thrilled to be showcasing a Vladimir Kagan curved sofa in this area, loaned by Holly Hunt, which perfectly balances the strength and softness of our concept, Embodiment of a Woman. It adds a bold yet elegant touch to the room.”

EAST COTTAGE PRIMARY BEDROOM: Lauren Collander Interiors,

The timing for Lauren Collander Interiors’ debut in the Lake Forest Showhouse, which coincides with the opening of a new design studio in Lake Forest, couldn’t be more perfect.

With a decade of experience in both boutique hotel design around the world and in residential design, it is only fitting that Collander designed the primary bedroom—

The high-gloss custom dressing vanity, tucked away and adjacent to the closet with its sumptuous deep blue wall covering, was created to provide a space for one to pause and dress with intention. With its thoughtful cabinetry by Trim Tech Designs, each drawer has a carved-out niche for specialty items.

Bold, yet soothing. Comfortable and elegant. The boutique hotel-inspired guest cottage reflects Collander’s global, yet local, flair.

"My team and I are thrilled to be a part of this community and participate in such a meaningful event,” she says.

East Cottage Kitchen. Photo courtesy of Marcel Page Photography East Cottage Primary Bedroom. Photo courtesy of Dustin Halleck Guest Powder Room. Photo courtesy of Dustin Halleck
THE NORTH SHORE WEEKEND SATURDAY MAY 6 | SUNDAY MAY 7 2023 | 29 Get a glimpse into the heart of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Leave behind checklists of places to see and things to do and discover what it means to truly ‘live in the moment’. Take time to find hidden gems, connect with locals, and appreciate the beauty in your surroundings. Dive into the history, people, food, and music and let the authentic Elkhart Experience unfold at its own pace. It’s the Elkhart Way.


Asked to serve as Ragdale’s President of the Board of Trustees in the midst of a pandemic and a nationwide reckoning with racism following George Floyd’s murder, BETH BOYD saw an opportunity to help the nonprofit serve its artists better and smarter in a changing world. Indeed, over the past two years Ragdale has built a new state-of-the-art studio for dance and music, acquired the property to the north that was part of the original estate, has made the campus accessible to all, and is in the process of renovating its historic Arts and Crafts garden as well as doubling the size of the kitchen garden that makes for farm-to-table food service for its artists. While many things have evolved, Ragdale’s signature event, Novel Affair, remains! This unique, creative event (held last weekend) brings together eight to 12 celebrated artists, typically writers, for a cocktail party at Shoreacres and dinner event at Ragdale that is beloved by supporters and the artists alike. The artists are excited to meet each other and stay together for the weekend at the Ragdale campus, and the supporters look forward to hearing about their new work and their creative process.


Right now, I am reading Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark, exploring themes of friendship, class, and the choices women make around their professional lives. This book made it to the top of my stack because a close friend said she couldn’t bear to read another novel immediately after finishing it—she needed to hold on to it for a while like a precious thing. Next up is Geraldine Brooks’ Horse So many reasons; Brooks is my kind of writer, I grew up riding, and tracing provenance is a fascinating vehicle for storytelling. Can’t wait.


Well, is this where the true colors come out? As an interior designer with an active practice, an avid cyclist, and a significant engagement in the arts, I follow Jimmy Chin, the outdoor adventurer and documentarian; architects Wheeler Kearns Architects, Jeanne Gang, and others; lighting designer Lucy Slivinski; USA Cycling; several independent visual artists; NYT Cooking; and who doesn’t get sucked into the cat/dog posts at the end of the night from time to time?


My podcasts go-tos are Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History— it’s painless and incredibly well researched and delivered—and Sam Harris’ Making Sense Sam’s conversations on consciousness, free will, and consequences are provocative and relatable. I’ve been listening to a lot of music by The 1975, an edgy band from Manchester, England, whose masterful lyrics reflect what’s in the hearts and minds of the Millennial generation. Also, often hard to keep your feet still while listening.


This weekend’s curated luxury trends MATERIAL PURSUITS


Music of the Baroque’s (MOB) 2023–24 season, titled “Heaven and Earth,” includes Mozart’s Requiem and the “St. John Passion” both led by Music Director Dame Jane Glover. MOB Executive Director Declan McGovern shares, “The music we perform transcends all boundaries— it touches the human spirit in the most profound ways, it elevates our understanding of the human condition, and it enables all of us to experience unique moments of joy. From the depth of Bach’s ‘St. John Passion’ to the mystery of Allegri’s ‘Miserere,’ from the fun of Telemann’s ‘Frogs Concerto’ to the drama of Purcell’s ‘King Arthur,’ this season has it all. We are thrilled to open our downtown concert series at Symphony Center and to return to the Harris Theater for its 20th anniversary year. We also look forward to our neighborhood performances on Chicago’s West Side.” Subscriptions for the 2023-24 concert season are on sale now at



Barrington Dance Ensemble’s Under the Big Top Ballet at the Sanfilippo Estate is a great day for the whole family. The Under the Big Top Ballet features stilt walkers, circus ponies

and dogs, jugglers, face painters, balloon artists, tours of the Sanfilippo Collections, and rides on the most beautiful carousel (all included in the ticket purchase). Lunch and concessions available for purchase.

Iván Pol, renowned celebrity facialist behind The Beauty Sandwich®, has released a new category in skincare, SSO1 (aka The Secret Sauce). Formulated to mimic the movement of the skin and uplift your facial frequency, SS01 has been Pol’s red carpet secret weapon to achieve his signature Snatched Glow™. This perfectly balanced potion, made of 100 percent natural ingredients, is brimming with performance actives that nourish, nurture, and feed the skin leaving it feeling soft, supple, and firm. This oil-based sauce mimics the action of the skin and has an equal ratio of essential fatty acids, ceramides, and phytocholesterols that work to repair and protect the skin when it needs it the most. Hand-blended in the UK by formulator, aromatherapist, and Chinese medicine expert Annee de Mamiel, SSO1 captures the core principles of The Beauty Sandwich®. For more information, visit

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There’s no better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this weekend than with this spicy, Mezcal-infused cocktail. Featuring Código 1530, sourced from a small village of artisanal families who have been quietly making the finest mezcals in the world for centuries in the San Juan del Rio region of Oaxaca, Mexico, this red hot drink is not for the faint of heart. The good news, however, is you can adjust to your taste ... one dot at a time. Viva Mexico!

• 2 oz Codigo 1530 Artesanal Mezcal

• .5 oz Licor 43

• .5 oz Ancho Reyes Verde

• 2 dashes fire water tincture

• Garnish with Calabrian Chili Oil

Add ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Take a dropper and garnish with chili oil. Add more dots for more spice.

Setting the Bar Since

Schaefer’s, a North Shore institution, takes great pride in making that special day both easy and memorable. Full beverage services with great selections for every budget • Free Delivery & Pickup • Credited Returns • Free Loaner Glassware 9965 GROSS POINT ROAD, SKOKIE (just east of Westfield Old Orchard) | 847.677.9463 | Stop by for our weekly Saturday tastings!
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Ace vibraphonist and Northwestern University graduate Thaddeus Tukes returns to Evanston to headline a quintet concert at Studio5.

Music pulsated Thaddeus Tukes’ childhood house in Hyde Park.

His parents, Warren and Celeste, liked to play Gospel and old-school soul at their home in Chicago, as well as the occasional Motown song.

“My parents fostered an appreciation for music when I was young,” recalls the 29-year-old Tukes, who still calls Hyde Park home. “I remember going grocery shopping with my mother. As soon as a song would start playing inside the store, it would be time for me to play the ‘Guess the Song’ game she had invented.

“Whenever we’d go to my grandmother’s house, I’d sit at her upright piano and play mostly made-up music. It would usually be nonsense.”

Tukes, a Chicago Whitney High School and Northwestern University graduate, is a downright serious and decorated musi cian today. A stellar vibraphonist, pianist, composer, and producer, he’s set to pulsate Studio5 in Evanston on May 19, when he’ll headline—as a quintet’s vibraphon ist—Thaddeus Tukes’ Dolphin Dance concert from 8 to 10 p.m.

The other four musicians scheduled to perform are Ryan Nyther (trumpet), Brooke Wyatt (piano), Micah Collier (bass), and Jeremy Warren (drums). War ren is also a former Whitney Young Dol phin, hence the appearance of the school’s mascot in the title of the Studio5 event.

The vibraphone, shaped like a xylo phone, is a percussion instrument consisting of tuned metal bars.

“I play the vibes,” Tukes says, adding the words “vibraphone” or “vibraharp” are instru ments in the vibes family, and that the King of Vibes is the late Lionel Hampton, who lived in Chicago and later performed with the Benny Goodman Quartet. “I like to research things, and the topic of vibes interested me. So I traced how the word has been used over time.

“Vibes,” the former Ravinia Festival jazz scholar adds, “is a super-important part of jazz, I learned, and it was an essential representation of jazz in jazz’s heyday, largely in Chicago. It helps musicians relate to each other. It’s also a certain feeling you get while you’re interacting with a person or spending time at a place. It brings out the art in people.”

Studio5 is an intimate performing arts center that also boasts excellent sight lines and comfortable seating. Co-founders Steve Rashid, an Emmy Award-winning composer, and Bea Rashid, a dance educator, chore-

ographer, and theater director, opened the welcoming space in 2016—expanding Dance Center Evanston to include Studio5 as a performing arts venue presenting professional dance and music events among other forms of entertainment.

“Our (Dolphin Dance) concert will feature modern jazz elements that some friends and I created during a jam session at a recording studio right before the start of the pandemic,” Tukes says. “I was sitting at home one day earlier this year and came across the tape of the session. I listened to it. We had jammed all over the place but managed to come up with some impressive sounds.

“The concert at Studio5,” he continues, “will be an incredible, new experience for many in the audience. For others it will transport them back to the South Side of Chicago. I’m such an advocate for Chicago. The people in Chicago are amazing. The music scene in Chicago is unparalleled.”

Tukes’ four years at Whitney Young were formative ones. He embraced and appreciated the diversity of the enrollment at the magnet high

Illinois Music Education Association award for being the top high school vibraphonist in the state. “I wanted to learn and understand our differences because the diversity was palpable. Our principal did a great job of creating a sense of unity and encouraging acceptance among all students.”

Tukes applied to a number of colleges after deciding to eschew the conservatory route. He chose to attend Northwestern University, where he earned degrees in vibraphone/piano and journalism and found a major mentor in former NU Director of Jazz Studies and Music Professor Victor Goines, a jazz saxophonist and clarinetist who was named president and CEO of Jazz St. Louis in September 2022.

Tukes is president of the record label Vibestown Studio, and he performs as a band leader and special guest with various ensembles throughout the U.S.

Tukes likes to bowl occasionally to escape his busy life as an artist on stage. The man scored a 255 recently, rolling five consecutive strikes in one sublime stretch. To Tukes’ ears, the resounding sound of a heavy ball knocking down every pin in sight must rival the beautiful sounds that he creates while playing the vibraphone.

“I’m a straight shooter as a bowler, just like I am as a person,” he says.

But he’s a musician, through and through, and particularly grateful for an ancillary benefit of working in the industry.

“The best part of making music has been meeting the people I’ve met through music,” Tukes says. “Music makes people happy. I’m always surrounded by happy people who make me happy. My best friend is my younger sister, Candace, who has always been there to cheer me on and to hold me accountable and to laugh with me. She’s the best and super supportive.”

Tukes insists he has never been in music for fame or fortune. What’s priceless to him is bringing joy to his audiences.

“If I’m able to evoke, through my music, a positive memory for someone or maybe a fond memory of someone’s late father, for example, it makes me smile,” Tukes says. “It thrills me every time, knowing I was able to do something for somebody else on my professional journey.”

school on Chicago’s Near West Side.

“It was utopia to me, with the presence of students with many cultural backgrounds,” says Tukes, who, at the age of 16, earned an

Studio5 is located at 1934 Dempster Street in Evanston. For more information about Thaddeus Tukes’ Dolphin Dance concert on May 19, call 847-328-6683 or visit or

If I’m able to evoke, through my music, a positive memory for someone or maybe a fond memory of someone’s late father, for example, it makes me smile.
Thaddeus Tukes
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Claire Bourg • Ravenna Lipchik • Rannveig Marta Sarc • Alexander Hersh • Greg Ward • Glenn Zaleski

Dan Chmielinski • Kenneth Salters • Michael Feinstein • Jean-Yves Thibaudet • Ruth Page Civic Ballet

Dance Works Chicago • Deeply Rooted Dance Theater • Hedwig Dances • Jumaane Taylor • Jacob Collier • Lawrence

Tiny Habits • Ms. Lauryn Hill • Arnaud Sussmann • Michael Stephen Brown • Chicago • Ravinia Jazz Scholars

Pat Metheny • Karim Sulayman • Sean Shibe • Melody Gardot • Counting Crows • Dashboard Confessional

Glory Days • Ralph’s World • Charlie Puth • Alexander Stewart • Summer League • Jesse & Joy • Jorge Federico Osorio

Calidore String Quartet • Santana • Miriam Fried • Mark Steinberg • Paul Biss • Kim Kashkashian • Marcy Rosen

Alessio Bax • Straight No Chaser • Ambrosia • Ne-Yo • Mario • National Seminario Ravinia Orchestra

Chicago Philharmonic • Jonathan Rush • Apollo’s Fire • John Fogerty • Hearty Har • Miko Marks

Chicago Symphony Chorus • Janai Brugger • Ashley Dixon • Paul Appleby • Ryan Speedo Green

Adrian Dunn Singers • Ayodele Drum & Dance • Jim Gailloreto Trio • Senn High School Choir • Heather Headley

Ravinia Lawndale Family Music School • Trinity UCC Choir • Sasha Cooke • Ariel Quartet • Ayano Ninomiya

Karen Ouzounian • Henry Kramer • Valentina Peleggi • Gabriela Montero • Natalia Lafourcade

Maria Schneider Orchestra • Alexis Lombre • Rebirth Brass Band • Danish String Quartet • Mei-Ann Chen

Jeremy Denk • Ted Sperling • Andréa Burns • Morgan James • Capathia Jenkins • Laurie Berkner • Jason Mraz

Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite • Apollo Chorus of Chicago • Matthew Polenzani • Joshua Hopkins

Kathryn Lewek • David Leigh • Christian Sanders • Tiffany Choe • Taylor Raven • Diana Newman • Adam Lau  Yunchan Lim • Boz Scaggs • Keb’ Mo’ • The Special Consensus • Jonathon Heyward • Benjamin Beilman

Teddy Abrams • Jeffrey Kahane • Lee Mills • Rufus Wainwright • Opera for the Young • Blues Traveler  Big Head Todd & The Monsters • John Legend • Ailyn Pérez • Kevin Murphy • Joshua Weilerstein • Alisa Weilerstein  Jethro Tull • Kenny Loggins • Yacht Rock Revue • George Stelluto • Lara Downes • Nicole Cabell • Buddy Guy  George Benson • Classic Albums Live (The Dark Side of the Moon) • Okee Dokee Brothers • Boyz II Men  The Isley Brothers • Misha Dichter • Disney Encanto In Concert • Thiago Tiberio • Jurassic Park In Concert  Scott Terrell • Train • Parmalee • Brandi Carlile • Brandy Clark • Carrie Underwood • Jory Vinikour Tessa Lark • Shakti • Béla Fleck • Subhi • Music of the Baroque • Dame Jane Glover • James Ehnes  Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center’s Hiplet Ballerinas • The Era Footwork Crew • Forward Momentum Chicago  Joel Hall Dancers • M.A.D.D. Rhythms • Move Me Soul • Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago • Najwa Dance Corps

Praize Productions • Billy Childs • Rufus Reid • Steve Wilson • Sara Caswell • Christian Euman • Kurt Elling  Black Oak Ensemble • DJ Derrick Carter • DJ Michael Serafini • DJ Garrett David • Lucy Stoole • Nico • Reik



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