Archive for the ‘Resident Spotlights’ Category

December 2019, Barrington, IL –– Barrington Dance Ensemble (BDE) performed its 25th annual production of The Nutcracker at the Richard C. Johnson Auditorium in the Barrington High School. Staged by Gregory Merriman and directed by BDE’s Founder and Artistic Director Mary Brennan, over 2,000 ballet enthusiasts viewed the beloved holiday tradition during the four-show run from Friday, November 22 through Sunday, November 24.

The hallmark of BDE’s Nutcracker each year is the stunning dancing by young performers, BDE company members, and world-class professional guest artists. The production’s iconic score and festive holiday scenes captivated audience members young and old. Audience members were welcomed by a visit from the North Pole as Santa Claus was present on opening night. Adding to the festive atmosphere, guests had the opportunity to shop for the holidays at the festive Nutcracker Shop filled with handcrafted gifts and unique treats.

Set to the Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s score, the audience was lost in the story of Clara’s magical gift, an exciting battle between soldiers and mice and the dreamy Land of Sweets. Acclaimed guest artists from National and Chicago regional dance companies performed lead soloist roles. Meghan Loman and Martin Justo, principal company members with Carolina Ballet Theater, returned to the BDE stage as the Sugar Plum Fairy & Cavalier, and wowed the crowd with their spectacular performances. Also taking the stage were 90 student dancers from BDE, the Barrington Dance Academy and other local dance studios in the Northwest Chicago suburbs.

Emma Richmond & Corinne Garrels (of Barrington and Barrington Hills, respectively) shared the role of Clara, the story’s heroine. Other featured BDE company members included Meghan Doran (Barrington) & BDE graduating senior Sasha Rice (Lake Barrington) who shared the role of the Columbine Doll. Elizabeth Yen (Deer Park) performed as the sparkling Snow Queen, partnered by professional guest artist Arionel Vargas (freelance artist, formerly with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and English National Ballet).

BDE graduating senior Maggie Pechan (Barrington) performed the role of the elegant Fairy Angel who welcomes Clara to the Land of Sweets. Graduating seniors Emma Landenberger (Barrington Hills) & Jessica Eggers (Kildeer) performed as Arabian Coffee along with professional artist Devin Buchanan. Ava Thome (Barrington) danced the spunky lead Chinese role, joined by Rose Abrahamson (Lake Barrington) and Hannah White (Deer Park). The Reed Flute variation was exquisitely performed by Mikayla Patten (North Barrington), Sasha Rice, Lucy Shannon (Barrington), and Elizabeth Yen. Kate Howell (Barrington) elegantly portrayed the role of the graceful Dew Drop fairy.

“The professional, company and student dancers outdid themselves this year rising to a praiseworthy level with their artistry and aptitude. Our dedicated staff, talented designers and wonderful volunteers played a significant role in making the shows seamless. It’s awe inspiring to witness the enthusiasm from our audience every holiday and is especially memorable for me this 25th anniversary year,” stated Mary Brennan, Founder and Artistic Director of BDE.

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Seriously ill children from across the suburbs will find added excitement while they ride a special Metra train during Operation North Pole next month.

In a first-time effort, organizers want people to pack downtown Barrington’s Metra station platform in a show of support for the children when the “Polar Express” slowly passes through at 12:44 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.

Operation North Pole has created a fantasy day for seriously and terminally ill kids and their families during the holiday season since 2011. The goal is for the children who have spent a lot of time in hospitals to simply have fun.

About 500 volunteers organize the holiday adventure for 75 families, with the ordinary Metra ride transformed into the Polar Express on the Union Pacific Northwest Line tracks between Des Plaines and Crystal Lake. After the train ride, a party in a “Winter Wonderland” setting will be held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

Read more here.

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From left, Lake Zurich Mayor Tom Poynton shares a laugh in the kitchen with volunteer and master carver John Landenberger of Barrington Hills. Images from Thanksgiving Adopt-a-Sailor on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 2019 at New Life Lutheran Church in Lake Zurich (910 S. Old Rand Road). (Karie Angell Luc / Pioneer Press)

Naval Station Great Lakes recruits were treated to a Thanksgiving feast and other activities in Lake Zurich at the annual Thanksgiving Adopt-a-Sailor event.

A group of 25 recruits started official holiday festivities with a bean bag tournament hosted by the Lake Zurich Fire Department, 321 S. Buesching Road, before gathering for a traditional Thanksgiving feast at New Life Lutheran Church, 910 S. Old Rand Road, Lake Zurich.

After the noon meal, they were encouraged to play organized games and could phone loved ones before evening bowling.

John Landenberger of Barrington Hills was a volunteer who carved the turkey with an electric knife.

“It’s always fun, it’s a lot of excitement,” he said while on kitchen duty.

Landenberger added that eight turkey breasts were served along with six batches of stuffing.

Read more from the Lake Zurich Courier here.

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New York isn’t the only city that puts on a massive Thanksgiving Parade. In it’s 86th year, the Chicago Thanksgiving parade stepped off State Street at Ida B. Wells Thursday morning and traveled north to Randolph.

For many lined along State Street, getting front row at the parade has become a Thanksgiving tradition.

“We have our thanksgiving feast that we do every year for 15 years,” said Denise Myers from Tinley Park. “We have a warming tray, we have hashbrown casserole, morning glory french toast, coffee and cranberry juice.”

For Heidi Stenberg of Barrington Hills, its her and her family’s first time to the parade.

“We have made Thanksgiving for the last 18 years at home and we decided we wanted to see the parade in person this time,” said Stenberg, who’s thanking Mother Nature for cooperating this year. “It’s beautiful. It’s not cold, it’s not rainy or snowy, it’s actually fantastic.”

For the full WBBM story, click here.

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Ron Hawking will deliver a special 104th birthday tribute to Frank Sinatra at Barrington’s White House at 3 and 7:30 PM December 7th and 8th.

Hawking, a Barrington Hills resident, is a winner of the Chicago Cabaret Professionals Windy City Award. At the White House, he’ll sing selections from his hit musical productions of “His Way — A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” and his Grammy Award-nominated album, “The Song Is You.”

For information and tickets, visit barringtonswhitehouse.com/events.

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Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin next week will formally honor the winner of a local honey tasting at his town’s recent fall festival.

An estimated 750 patrons attended the The Hills Are Alive bash that featured bees, barbecue and music. The seventh fest was under cover on a rainy day at the village park district’s riding center Sept. 29.

The event every year highlights a specific aspect of living in Barrington Hills, and this year beekeeping was in the spotlight. Four local beekeepers submitted honey harvested from their hives in Barrington Hills and surrounding areas. The competitors were Saturdays Are for the Bees, Back 40 Bees, Mike Shackleton and Honey Lake Bee Company.

Read more here.

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Exelon Utilities CEO Anne Pramaggiore abruptly retired Tuesday amid a federal investigation into the company’s lobbying activities at the Capitol.

The announcement of Pramaggiore’s retirement came less than a week after Exelon and ComEd acknowledged they had received a second subpoena in the probe. Authorities were looking for “communications” between the companies and state Sen. Martin Sandoval, a Chicago Democrat whose home and offices were raided by FBI agents last month.

The lengthy list of things authorities were looking for included “items related to ComEd, Exelon, any employee, officer or representative of any of those businesses, Exelon Official A, Exelon Official B, Exelon Official C, Exelon Official D, and/or any issue supported by any of those businesses or individuals, including, but not limited to, rate increases.”

In last week’s filing with regulatory authorities, the companies said they have “cooperated fully” with prosecutors’ requests. To avoid potential conflicts of interest, Exelon has formed a special oversight committee “comprising solely independent directors and advised by independent outside legal counsel” to handle the matter, the statement said.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune here.

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