The Village: Jazzy and Jubilant

  By Judy Carmack Bross

“From the moment I stepped off the street into the lobby of the Chicago History Museum, the energy of the night and the excitement of people greeting each other was infectious.” – Former President of The Village Chicago, Ruth Ann Watkins.

Grisel Rodriguez-Morales (left) and Jessica Roote

Mary Ellen Reynolds and Lynne Carpenter

Early fall benefits possess that extra joy of bringing together friends who’ve not seen one another since Spring happenings.  “Jazzin’ with The Village” was an evening where merriment and camaraderie reigned, and jazz classics supplied, featuring Porchlight Music Theatre stars that filled the air.  Almost 300 guests mingled at the Chicago History Museum at The Village Chicago yearly benefit, raising a record-breaking $199,000 to fund vital programs for older adults, including social connection, support for memory loss and family care partners, and reduced fee memberships.

Silent Auction

The Village Chicago celebrated its 2023 Trailblazers: Rev. Dr. Sandy Siegel Miller and Jonathan Miller for the Sounds Good! Choir; DePaul University for exceptional community engagement, accepted by President Robert Manuel; and Dr. Tracey Gendron, author of Ageism Unmasked: Exploring Age Bias and How to End It. David Baker assisted in presenting the awards and serves as the current Village President.

David Baker, Board Chair, The Village Chicago; President Robert Manuel, DePaul University and Trailblazer recipient; Ira Kohlman, Co-Cair of Jazzin with The Village
Michael Cleavenger and Melissa Haley
Stefanie Clark and her fashion designer

Porchlight Music Theatre singers and musicians led by Artistic Director Michael Weber and Music Director David Fiorello presented a medley including jazz arrangements by Rogers and Hart, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, and others, following the awards presentation.  The closing number was Duke Ellington’s reminder that “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.” 

John Walcher, Joyce Winnecke, David Hiller, Darcy Evon

The Village Chicago’s CEO Darcy Evon addressed guests, saying: “The Village has built an intergenerational community representing all ages and abilities. We provide social engagement, educational programs, and services regardless of ability to pay. Funds raised from this event will allow us to maintain vital programs and start new ones to address the pressing needs facing older adults in Chicago. We are helping hundreds of individuals and families to navigate health and life transitions and also to find friendship and engagement so we can all live our best lives possible.”

Village member Joyce Winnecke summed up the celebration: “From start to finish, it was just great.  The energy, the message, the organization—I was proud to be associated.”

Francee Harrington, Benefit Co-Chair Judith Gethner, Joyce Winnecke

Niki Fox and Bunny Snyder

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