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TWO NEW VENUES BEGIN SUMMER TOURING SEASON - Mixonline

TWO NEW VENUES BEGIN SUMMER TOURING SEASON

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Jay Pritzker Pavilion

The Grant Park Music Festival, a free, outdoor classical music series that take place in the new Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, opens its 71st season with a Rush Hour Series concert on Wednesday, June 15, 2005, at 6:30 p.m. Principal conductor Carlos Kalmar leads the Grammy-nominated Grant Park Orchestra and Women of the Grant Park Chorus, along with Chicago sopranos Elizabeth Norman and Michelle Areyzaga, and actors Lisa Dodson and David Darlow in a performance of Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Grant Park Music Festival is presented by the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs

The 2005 season continues at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 17 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, as Kalmar leads the orchestra and chorus and special guests Rod Gilfry (baritone) and Jonita Lattimore (soprano) in an evening filled with British music. Saturday evening will also host the first "World Series" event. Each of the three events pairs a pre- or post-concert party, featuring nationally matched dinner and drinks at one of Chicago's most notable eateries, with reserved seats in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

On Wednesday, June 22, and Thursday, June 23, both at 6:30 p.m., Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin joins Kalmar and the orchestra for the works of Mozart and Mahler. This concert is part of Kalmar's ongoing exploration of the works of Mahler.

Chorus director Christopher Bell leads the orchestra in Symphonic Night at the Movies: Gotta Dance! a rare late-night performance at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 25. During the concert, the orchestra will accompany dance sequences from best-loved movies, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Brigadoon, Singin' in the Rain, Madame Bovary and An American in Paris. The clips will be played on a screen above the stage.

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Olivia Newton-John (left) and George Barris (King of Kustomizers) with "Greased Lightning" car from Grease at her concert, which raised $5,016.

All Grant Park Music Festival performances are free to the public. Open lawn and pavilion seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. One-night passes for reserved seating are available for $10. Season memberships are also available, which include reserved seating for all concerts and invitations to special events.

For more information, visit the Festival's Website at www.grantparkmusicfestival.com. For additional history on the Pritzker Pavilion, visit www.millenniumpark.org/pritzker.htm.

Stage 1 at Candlewalk, Corona, Calif.'s new stadium-seating concert venue, hosted two multi-Platinum acts for its inaugural benefit concerts: Lonestar (April 17, 2005) and Olivia Newton-John (April 21). Stage 1 donated a large portion of these concerts' proceeds to local non-profits: Kids Rock Free at the Fender Center for the Performing Arts (Lonestar) and The Susan G. Komen Foundation (Newton-John).

"We are a non-denominational church that is creating events that bring the communities of Corona and the Inland Empire together for some fun," said Stage 1's executive pastor Mark Gantt. "By providing a top-quality performance venue to the Inland Empire that will also benefit several deserving non-profits in the area, we feel we are truly giving back to the community that has supported us for over 100 years."

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Lonestar's performance raised $10,000 for Kids Rock Free. From left: Barry McMurtrie and Mark Gantt of Crossroads, Lonestar and Danny Verdugo of the Fender Center for the Performing Arts

The Kids Rock Free music education program is geared for children from ages seven to 17 and has benefited more than 5,000 children from Corona and surrounding communities and still has thousands on the two-year waiting list. "What we're trying to ultimately achieve is expansion and growth," states Donna MacDonald, executive director of Fender Center for the Performing Arts/Kids Rock Free, which currently offers professional performing arts education, including piano, guitar, bass guitar, combo band, vocal performance and drums. "We conduct classes for 400 kids per week and we'd like to be able to build out 10,000 square feet of unfinished space to create future classrooms for another 1,200 kids a week."

"It was the perfect evening: Lonestar was fabulous, the audience had a great time and we were able to give back to the community by raising funds for a local non-profit. I can't think of a better way to have launched our concert series!" exclaims Gantt. "It was wonderful to see the community come together to make this happen and we couldn't have succeeded without the support of our city council whose diligent efforts guaranteed we would open in time. For a first-time event in a brand-new facility, it was amazing to me that everything went so smoothly. I guess the best testament was when Lonestar asked how soon they could come back to perform again."

Newton-John's concert will benefit The Susan G. Komen Foundation, a global leader in the fight to eradicate breast cancer by advancing research, education, screening and treatment in communities around the world.