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
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

This article shared 2263 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 2263 times since Fri Dec 11, 2020
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Pioneering AIDS researcher Dr. Joseph Sonnabend dead at 88
2021-01-24
--From a media release by HIVPlusMagazine - Pioneering AIDS researcher and clinician Joseph Sonnabend, 88, died Jan. 24, 2021 at the Wellington Hospital in London, after suffering a heart attack on Jan.3, 2021. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to a physician mother and ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Batwoman,' Village People, Neil Patrick Harris, Mariah Carey
2021-01-24
SPOILER ALERT: Season two of Batwoman (featuring the lesbian superheroine) began by introducing Ryan Wilder, the new lead character on The CW show played by Javicia Leslie—and explained how first-season ...


Gay News

Broadcasting legend Larry King dies at 87
2021-01-23
Broadcasting icon Larry King has died at age 87, CNN.com reported. King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded, tweeted. No cause of death was given, but ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Kevin McCarthy
2021-01-19
Kevin Creedon McCarthy, of Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood, passed away after a brief illness on Jan. 11. He was 53. Raised in Arlington Heights, Kevin studied communications at the University of Missouri before embarking on a long ...


Gay News

'Mombian Database' released
2021-01-13
Mombian columnist Dana Rudolph has released the Mombian Database of LGBTQ Family Books, Media, and More, with more than 500 books, music albums, movies, games and toys for and about LGBTQ families. The site offers multiple ...


Gay News

PASSAGES George H. Gibson
2021-01-06
George Horner Gibson died at his home in Chicago on Jan. 3, 2021. He was 88. Gibson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Furman University with bachelor's ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Tales' star dies, 'Wonder Woman 1984,' holiday songs, 'Drag Race'
2021-01-05
Marcus D'Amico—the original Michael "Mouse" Tolliver from the miniseries Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City—died at age 55, Queerty noted. In 1992, he also originated the role of Louis in the National Theatre's London run of ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Chicago activist Benny Montgomery dies
2020-12-29
Benny M. Montgomery Jr.—a longtime Chicago-based LGBTQ-rights activist who had worked as a constituent services administrator for U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and former Congresswoman Cardiss Collins, among other politicians—passed away ...


Gay News

Chicago trans woman Eshay Key, 25, dies in Christmas shooting
2020-12-28
Column by Sue Kerr - Just a week after writing about the ugly shooting death of a 19-year-old Black gender nonconforming young adult while they were at a Christmas party, I was hopeful there would be no more deaths to cover ...


Gay News

'Party Monster' killer Michael Alig dies at 54
2020-12-26
Michael Alig who was at the center of the LGBTQ "club kids" scene in late 1980s and early '90s Manhattan, and whose involvement in the murder and dismemberment of his drug dealer was chronicled in the 2003 film Party Monster died Dec. 25th ...


Gay News

Hell in a Handbag announces annual benefit, "The Morning After"
2020-12-23
CHICAGO (Dec. 17, 2020) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce its annual benefit "The Morning After," featuring the streaming world premiere of the smash hit musical that started it all for them, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race,' year-end honors, 'Guardians,' Taylor Swift
2020-12-21
VH1 unveiled a game-changing twist from the upcoming season of the Emmy-winning RuPaul's Drag Race, premiering Friday, Jan. 1, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, a press release noted. For the first time in Drag Race "herstory," queens ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Chicago gay pioneer Richard Cooke dies
2020-12-17
Richard Cooke, a longtime Chicago resident and familiar East Lakeview presence along with his dachshund Governor, died in the early morning hours of Dec. 12, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. He was ...


Gay News

Windy City Gay Chorus, Windy City Treble Quire present Let There Be Light
2020-12-15
--From a press release - Chicago, Ill. — Windy City Performing Arts (WCPA), the not-for-profit parent organization of Windy City Gay Chorus and Windy City Treble Quire, is proud to announce its 41st annual holiday concert, Let there be Light: A ...


Gay News

PrideArts to screen A Not So Silent Night Tuesday, Dec. 15
2020-12-15
To honor the tradition of gathering around with family and singing holiday songs, even in a pandemic. PrideArts is hosting a one-time screening of the film A Not So Silent Night tonight, Dec. 15, 2020. The ...


 



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.