Ravinia’s Customer Appreciation Day: Saturday, May 21

Ravinia Festival celebrates its audience with Customer Appreciation Day from 9 a.m.—6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, a day filled with discounts.

There will also be chances to purchase added seating to some sold-out pavilion concerts, as well as promotions and samples from Ravinia’s supporters and sponsored advertisers.

This is the first day that the Ravinia Box Office is officially open for walk-up sales, and all in-person purchases will be discounted by 20 percent (discounts are not available for the July 23 Gala Benefit Evening), making reserved seats for some shows as low as $8. The $7 service fee for ticket orders will also waived for in-person purchases on May 21. Please note that based on past experience, customers may begin lining up prior to 9 a.m. Patrons can also support Ravinia’s summer-long food drive by bringing non-perishable items to the park. All items will be donated to local food banks.

A limited number of additional, temporary seats will be added to the sides of the pavilion for some sold-out events, and tickets for those seats will be sold exclusively on
May 21 to in-person customers on a first-come, first-served basis (limited to four per buyer).

The opening-day festivities will be broadcast live from the festival grounds by 98.7 WFMT, the official classical music station of Ravinia Festival. Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman will join WFMT host Carl Grapentine on the air to discuss the summer season beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing until 1:30 p.m. in the Mirabelle Restaurant located inside Ravinia’s dining pavilion. The broadcast will feature glimpses of the complete Ravinia season and will include live interviews with artists appearing during the 2011 season as well as live performances by Ravinia Lawndale Choir at 10:40 a.m. ; jazz legend Ramsey Lewis at 11:30 a.m.; and Ravinia Jazz Scholars at 12:45 p.m., which are open to the public. The Ravinia Lawndale choir is a community choir comprising of kids and adults who take part in Ravinia’s community conservatory in Lawndale. The Ravinia Jazz Scholars are skilled high school students who have studied with some of Chicago’s great jazz artists.

Also in the Mirabelle will be an area filled with Ravinia’s supporters and vendors distributing free souvenirs, food samplings and promotional items from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ravinia Gifts, located on the first floor of the dining pavilion, will feature Ravinia apparel, picnic accessories and gift items at 50 to 75 percent off.

Families can also engage in an “instrument petting zoo” where kids can experience and play instruments and children 12 and under can sign up for the ever-popular free Ravinia Kids Club and participate in a coloring activity.

Customers can also be a part of Ravinia’s history by revealing their favorite Ravinia memory at our video station located outside of the dining pavilion.

Celebrate Asian-American History Month with special performance of Super Orient Courser at 3 p.m. in Bennett Gordon Hall. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at chicagocci.com/concert.html or on May 21 at the hall (cash only). Super Orient Courser is a group of young musicians who have brought contemporary flair to the Mongolian Morin Khurr or horse head-fiddle. They performed for President Obama during his official state visit to China and have toured around the world. Ravinia is proud to support this event hosted by the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute. Admission is paid to the institute to help underwrite the cost of the program.

Ravinia Festival’s 2011 season, the 75th anniversary of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra summer residency, packs more than 120 separate events from June 9 to Sept. 11, featuring classical, chamber music, rock, R&B, jazz, country, dance, world and Broadway concerts. Guest artists include Maroon 5, Rufus Wainwright, Itzhak Perlman, Jennifer Hudson, Lang Lang, Pink Martini, Carrie Underwood, Yo-Yo Ma, Ramsey Lewis, Bryn Terfel, Chicago, Momix, Robert Plant, Joshua Bell, Five For Fighting and many others.

Tickets to Ravinia events are now available online, prior to Customer Appreciation Day, at Ravinia.org. Ravinia welcomes all festival fans to follow, connect and interact online at backstage.ravinia.org, facebook.com (search Ravinia Festival) and twitter.com/raviniafestival. Phone sales begin on May 22 at 847-266-5100. A $7 service fee is added to all ticket orders.