Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

PASSAGES Ravinia producer Stephen R. Smoot, 57
--From a press release
2020-12-11

This article shared 3322 times since Fri Dec 11, 2020
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Stephen R. Smoot, who produced hundreds of concerts for Ravinia Festival since 2005, died suddenly on Friday, Nov. 27. He was 57. Known for his quick wit and generous impulse to shine the spotlight on others, Mr. Smoot produced myriad concerts and recitals in Ravinia's Martin Theatre by such artists as Renée Fleming, Matthias Goerne, Michelle DeYoung, Thomas Hampson, and Pinchas Zukerman. He facilitated the recording of a number of these concerts for broadcast on Chicago's only classical station, WFMT. That series, which returns with new concerts in January, will be dedicated to Mr. Smoot's memory.

"This is an unbelievable loss that I'm still trying to process," said concert pianist Kevin Cole. "I called him St. Stephen—which he got a kick out of—because he created logistic and artistic miracles."

"Stephen was an essential pillar of Ravinia Festival for 15 years. If things the public saw and heard were going smoothly, it was due, in large part, to the efforts of Stephen," said singer Sylvia McNair. "I will always smile when I think about his contributions, his joy at knowing things were going well, his love of music, and how deeply he was—and will continue to be—loved by everyone who knew him. Dearest St. Stephen, thank you."

Ravinia President and CEO Jeff Haydon said, "In our first conversation, Stephen told me that his job was to think of everything, so the artists only had to worry about the performance. Stephen set an inspiring standard for all of us to follow. We will miss his humor, as well as knowledge and passion for classical music."

A professional singer on opera stages from Chicago to Alaska, Mr. Smoot was also a celebrated cantor for several churches, including Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral. He transitioned to work behind the scenes at Lyric Opera of Chicago before starting in 2005 as Artistic Manager at Ravinia, which he affectionately called "The Ranch." Recognized for his attentive nurturing of guest artists, he was promoted to Artistic Producer and also handled immigration processes for Ravinia, ensuring that musicians from around the world could perform at North America's oldest music festival. He also booked Ravinia's Kids Concerts and worked on massive productions such as Leonard Bernstein's Mass, which aired nationally on PBS in May.

Mr. Smoot was born in Columbus, where his family runs the Smoot Corporation and he attended Ashland College and Ohio State University. He is survived by his parents, Lewis Sr. and Genny, and two brothers Lewis Jr. (Benita) and Richard (Kristi), as well as by close cousins Mark Cain (Adriana) and Candace Leye. He was adored by a large family of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, including Moussa, Gabriella, Illiana, and Mateo. Due to the pandemic, services will be private, but a public celebration of his life is being planned for when conditions allow.

In lieu of flowers, the Smoot Family asks that contributions be made to the Stephen R. Smoot Endowment, established to support Ravinia's Reach Teach Play education programs, which serve 85,000 people each year through such initiatives as Sistema Ravinia, which creates student orchestras for elementary schools without music programs of their own by providing instruments, curriculum, and teachers. For information on contributing, call 847-266-5461 or email donors@ravinia.org .

Ravinia Life Trustee and former CEO, Welz Kauffman, who hired Mr. Smoot, praised him for his grace under pressure. "Stephen's sense of humor, especially at moments of crisis, is something I'll personally miss. I will always value his calm and collegiality and attention to detail in these stressful situations. Even when they sometimes resulted in the ridiculous, we could laugh, we could smile, and we could remember a job ultimately well-done."


This article shared 3322 times since Fri Dec 11, 2020
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

EXCLUSIVE: Family and friends mourn loss of Brianna Hamilton
2021-10-23
Janiece Lewis said her older sister Brianna Hamilton was her first best friend. The two oldest of four girls, spending time together was, for them, "a different kind of love." In between playing Barbies and dress-up, ...


Gay News

MUSIC Elton John's 'The Lockdown Sessions' now out
2021-10-22
Elton John's The Lockdown Sessions is now out, courtesy of Interscope Records. An album of collaborations recorded remotely over the last 18 months, The Lockdown Sessions features UK #1 single "Cold Heart (PNAU remix)," with Dua ...


Gay News

THEATER E. Faye Butler to star in 'Fannie' Oct. 25-Nov. 14
2021-10-21
Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., will host the run of Cheryl L. West's Fannie (The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer), which will run Oct. 25-Nov. 14. E. Faye Butler stars as U.S. civil-rights ...


Gay News

Lyric Opera presenting 'Florencia en el Amazonas' Nov. 13-28
2021-10-21
During Nov. 13-28, Lyric Opera of Chicago will run the company premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas—the first Spanish-language work to be presented as part of Lyric's mainstage opera season. There will be evening performances on ...


Gay News

Colin Powell dies from COVID-19 complications
2021-10-18
Colin Powell—the first Black U.S. secretary of state, whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape the country's foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st—died from ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Superman, TheWrap, Oscar Wilde, Billy Porter, Cher, 'Dragula'
2021-10-17
The ongoing comic Superman: Son of Kal-El, by writer Tom Taylor and artist John Timms, launched in July and saw Jon Kent officially take up the mantle of the Man of Steel now that his father, ...


Gay News

CIFF, featuring LGBTQ+ films, running through Oct. 24
2021-10-15
North America's longest-running competitive film festival, this year's event expands throughout Chicago with presentations at venues across the city, including at AMC River East 21; the Music Box Theatre; the Gene Siskel Film Center; special drive ...


Gay News

MUSICALS 'Pretty Woman' tickets go on sale Oct. 15
2021-10-15
After a pre-Broadway run in Chicago and being on Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical, based on one of Hollywood's most beloved romantic stories of all time, returns to Chicago. The production will run at the CIBC ...


Gay News

'Tapping into Ca$h' : CaSera Heining lives double life as DJ Ca$h Era and radio producer
2021-10-14
Minutes before DJ Ca$h Era hosted Lollapalooza's first drag show, the Black queer woman behind the stage name was pacing nervously behind the scenes and listening to a drag queen animatedly remind her they were "making ...


Gay News

MUSIC Janis Ian's last Chicago concert May 14
2021-10-13
In what is being advertised as her last concert in Chicago, LGBTQ singer Janis Ian will be performing at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave. on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at 8 p.m. Tickets ($48-$50) will ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog' running through Nov. 6
2021-10-12
Black Button Eyes Productions is welcoming back live audiences with the popular internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog—an authorized fan production to benefit the Chicago charity Season of Concern—playing through ...


Gay News

Lyric Opera running seven performances of 'The Magic Flute' Nov. 3-27
2021-10-11
Lyric Opera of Chicago is running seven performances of The Magic Flute, Mozart's final opera, on Nov. 3-27. There will be performances at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3; matinees on Nov. 7, 11, 14 and 17, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race' winners, Playboy, punk band, The Dinah, Daniel Craig
2021-10-10
Video below - As part of VH1's #LGBTQHerstoryMonth project, five winners from the RuPaul's Drag Race winner's circle—season one's BeBe Zahara Benet, All Stars 4 winner Monet X Change, season 11 winner Yvie Oddly, season 12 victor Jaida Essence ...


Gay News

Madonna's latest concert film, Madame X, now out
2021-10-09
The concept film to Madonna's acclaimed Madame X Tour has debuted in the United States Latin America, Australia, the Nordics and Canada exclusively on Paramount+, the streaming service from ViacomCBS. Fans outside these markets can watch ...


Gay News

Book about musician Tori Amos' works coming out
2021-10-07
The book Tori Amos: every album, every song—by rock journalist Lisa Torem—will be out in the United States on Friday, Oct. 29, courtesy of Sonic Bond Publishing. In 1992, Amos—an acclaimed singer, pianist and composer—achieved fame ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.