The Barrington Dance Ensemble Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mrs. Elizabeth Francesconi has been appointed Assistant Artistic Director of BDE. Elizabeth studied dance at the Salt Creek Ballet Company in Westmont, Illinois, and graduated from Butler University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance Pedagogy. During her time at Salt Creek Ballet and Butler, she had a chance to perform in classical works such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Giselle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, and Paquita. She also studied and performed in St. Petersburg, Russia, during her time at Butler. Elizabeth has been a part of both Barrington Dance Ensemble and Barrington Dance Academy since 2010 and is honored to accept this new position. “It has always been my passion to empower children and young adults in the arts,” she said. “Not only do our students experience the joy of dance, but it instills a high level of discipline, responsibility, and perseverance. I look forward to doing all that I can to bring the beautiful art of dance to our students and the wider community.”
Thanks to support from the Illinois Arts Council, BDE is working with two dance artists who have been teaching and creating choreography for our company members. Both formerly danced with The Joffrey Ballet, and Jacqueline appeared as our Sugar Plum Fairy in BDE’s 2022 Nutcracker. Dylan has been with the Ballet Theater of Harlem for the past seven years and will soon be spending a week with Barrington Dance Academy students and BDE members’ preprofessional programming.
Twenty-four violins that have been lovingly restored by Israeli violin makers Amnon Weinstein and his son, Avshalom (Avshi), will be played by Elgin Symphony Orchestra musicians in a Violins of Hope concert on Saturday, May 20, at 8:00 p.m., at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin. The event will also include commentary on the violins featured in the performance by Dr. James A. Grymes, musicologist, and author of the book “Violins of Hope” from 7–7:30 p.m. that night.
Conducted by Matthew Sheppard, artistic director of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, the concert will include “Theme from Schindler’s List” by John Williams, as well as music by Mahler and Mendelssohn. For some Jewish musicians, their violin gave them passage to freedom. Others threw their instruments off trains bound to concentration camps. Many of the violins had been lost, found in disrepair, and identifiable as Jewish-made or -played only by the Star of David inlaid into the instrument by craftsmen.
“We are thrilled to be able to present a live concert with over 20 of the Violins of Hope on May 20 in Elgin,” ESO’s CEO Marc Thayer said. “The musicians have already started talking about how emotional this will be for them and how difficult it will be to play these instruments knowing many of them were used by prisoners in concentration camps during the Holocaust. They’re the real instruments, each with their own story, maker, and owner. I expect that this will sell out—so we encourage everyone to get their tickets very soon. We’ve made this affordable so that families can share in this meaningful experience.”
List of events: jccchicago.org/violins-of-hope
On Tuesday, March 21, hundreds of people attended the 2023 World Leaders Forum at Judson University in Elgin where Scottish dignitaries Sir James MacMillan and business leader The Lord Smith of Kelvin celebrated the legacy of Olympian and Christian Missionary Eric Liddell whose feats at the 1924 Paris Olympics inspired the Academy Award winning film “Chariots of Fire.” The event, moderated by the Chicago Scots’ President Gus Noble, was the official North American celebration of the 100th anniversary of Eric Liddell’s Gold Medal performance in the 400-meter dash. At the event, Judson University President Dr. Gene Crume presented honorary doctorate degrees to keynote speakers Sir James MacMillan and The Lord Smith of Kelvin.
“Tonight, Sir James MacMillan and Lord Smith embodied World Leaders Forum values as they reflected on Eric Liddell’s courage, compassion, integrity, and knack for pushing boundaries. It is Judson University’s privilege to play a role in helping his legacy live on.” At the event, the World Leaders Forum announced a donation of $20,000 to the Eric Liddell Community, an Edinburgh care charity and community hub.
Lord Smith gave life advice to Judson University students. “Be honest. Have the courage to speak up, and don’t be afraid to ask silly questions. You will make mistakes. And when you do, dust yourself off, try again, and learn from that mistake. Find opportunities to volunteer and contribute to society. It will enrich your life,” he said. Learn more at judsonu.edu.
Janette Tepas wears many hats in her roles as a community advocate. Let’s begin with her being president, ur, queen of the Barrington Area Artists Association (BAAA).
Why do you prefer being called queen rather than president of BAAA?
Being queen is fun, creative, amusing. My crown is invisible to most, but those with imagination get a glimpse of it. It’s sparkly. Let me be clear. I’m queen for the artists, not over them. In fact, I think all women can create their own invisible crown to wear all the time! Or maybe a Wonder Woman headband.
What hat do you wear as a member of the Visual Arts and History working groups for the Barrington Cultural Commission?
We come up with a lot of ideas, such as the soon-to-be Dreamway Arch mural. We’ll be introducing history-oriented events and tours that ignite a new appreciation for what’s been. It’s all about creating buzz. I switch between a beekeeper’s hat for this and a hardhat because there are so many projects to be done to help make our community a cultural destination.
As an entrepreneurial artist you create and sell hand-painted photos on canvas and digitally colored photographs on metal panels. Why photographs?
There’s lots of ways to do art. That’s what I love about BAAA. I like seeing what other artists are doing. What they are working on. Photos help me see beauty everywhere. As an artist, I wear a French style beret because, my dear, it’s French!
Many of your art photos were taken abroad while working as a certified international tour manager. Tell us more.
I lead small group luxury tours through Europe. It’s fun because I share my knowledge of a place’s history, culture, art, and food and why it matters. While leading tours I wear the Borsalino, an Italian fedora. It’s international, chic, and a passport to any European city.
Speaking of fun, you are a fun friend to many. What do you like doing in Barrington during your free time?
I like walking with friends. We have lovely sidewalks in the Village. The Lake Street Ladies Walking group is fun. I moved here because of my family suggesting it to me. I’m so happy to walk over to see the grandkids. I wear a baseball cap while walking, preferably pink with glitter.
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Mary Klest is a Barrington-based writer and local journalism advocate. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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