Featured image for post: Chicago Philharmonic’s Inaugural Night of Giving 2023

Chicago Philharmonic’s Inaugural Night of Giving 2023

On Tuesday, May 30, 2023 Chicago Philharmonic hosted its first-ever Night of Giving at The Chicago Club in downtown Chicago.


It was a major stepping stone for the organization, launching the Philharmonic forward into a new era of fundraising and fabulous events. With a summer filled with free community events, massive outdoor concerts, and more, the funds raised from the inaugural Night of Giving were more crucial than ever before.


As guests mingled with Board Directors, staff, and musician members, our community strengthened and came together to support our Spring Giving Campaign.



Images above, clockwise from top left: David Oskandy, Lester Barclay, Executive Director Terell Johnson, Molly Johnson, and Christian Strachan; Board Director and Development Committee Chair Lynne McDonough, Liz Darke, and Rick Darke; Board Director Kurt Wouters, Michael Cunningham, and Lisa Jenks; Board Director Robert Everson, staff members Magali Coronado, Gizel Issa, and Diana Ortiz


The evening began with a social hour on The Terrace at The Chicago Club. Guests mingled and enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while admiring the stunning view of downtown Chicago and the Buckingham Fountain. 


Images below, clockwise from top left: Joan Stelmack, Tom Stelmack, and Molly Johnson; Elizabeth Olson and Board Chairman Tom Manning; Artistic Director Scott Speck and Marketing Manager Lydia Penningroth; Board Director Kurt Wouters and Jemia Cunninghman-Elder



At 6:00pm, guests traveled into The Chicago Club building for speeches and performances.


Executive Director Terell Johnson welcomed the attendees, thanking them for their generosity. 


I joined the Chicago Philharmonic as Executive Director in July 2021. Since then, we have experienced significant change and growth: the Philharmonic is the leading collaborative orchestra in the Midwest. We’ve pushed the boundaries of what an orchestra can be further than ever before. We’ve reached heights that were unimaginable just 10 years ago. But there have been a few grounding constants too: our strong entrepreneurial spirit, our focus on creating opportunities for Chicago musicians, and the unwavering support of our community.”
– Terell Johnson


Then Artistic Director & Principal Conductor Scott Speck introduced the evening’s guest of honor, District Director for Congressman Danny K. Davis Cherita Logan. Cherita stepped in for the Congressman as he was needed in Washington D.C. for urgent business.



Cherita explained the importance of art in the community, and how it has impacted her own life and personal relationships. She also touched on the importance of music education and training the next generation of musicians.


Cherita’s message was perfect for Chicago Philharmonic, as the orchestra has consistently invested upstream in young students with multiple community education programs that provide impact where it’s needed most. Additionally, the orchestra’s Donna Milanovich Composer in Residence program nurtures emerging composers of color and launches them into the next stages of their careers.


Chicago Philharmonic’s leaders are continually searching for new ways to re-imagine what an orchestra can be, creating music and music-centered programs that inspire Chicagoans of all ages and backgrounds. (Learn more about Chicago Philharmonic’s upcoming cutting edge programs here.)


After Cherita’s speech, Board Chairman Tom Manning introduced the musicians who would provide short solos and chamber music. Many of the featured musicians were members of the Board of Directors, who graciously volunteered their time to support Chicago Philharmonic’s cause. 


Images above: Karin Ursin, Board Director and flutist; Robert Everson, Board Director and percussionist; Carmen Kassinger, Board Director and violinist; Christian Dillingham and Elizandro Garcia-Montoya, Board Directors, bassist and clarinetist


After a series of beautiful performances, guests enjoyed a three-course dinner with lively conversation and harp music provided by Chicago Philharmonic musician Benjamin Melsky.


Images above: Board Directors Carmen Kassinger and Cynthia Plouché; Harpist Benjamin Melsky; Board Chairman Tom Manning and Elizabeth Olson; Nicole Knight and Cody Taylor


We are so grateful to everyone who attended this landmark event, and to all of Chicago Philharmonic’s incredible community of supporters! Special thanks to Development Committee Chair Lynne McDonough, Development Director Elizabeth Wooten, and The Chicago Club for making this event possible. 


If you would like to donate to Chicago Philharmonic’s Spring Giving Campaign, please click here.