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Renita Manley-Garrett, a Chicagoland native, is the Executive Director of The Arts of Humanity, directs Fashion and Arts Humanity Fete, and enjoys all things that advance human welfare. She is an avid supporter of various bi-partisan non-profits and is always willing to offer her support and encouragement anyway she can to conscientious organizations.

As a writer, Renita's aim is to inspire readers to support causes with which they personally connect or to which they are emotionally drawn. She writes to spread the greatness of others and encourage her readers to be great; she believes everyone has a unique or creative ability to be life-long, effective humanitarians.

Of her many favorite quotes, one by Ralph Ellison sticks with her daily: The understanding of art depends finally upon one’s willingness to extend one’s humanity and one’s knowledge of human life.
Renita Manley-Garrett, MPA, is a member of Pi Alpha Alpha, a ComEd Neighborhood hero, wife, and mother of three extremely active girls. Like many, she enjoys travelling, particularly to the West Coast area of the states, but as the years go by, road tripping has become her preferred style of travel as it allows her to see more life outside her own.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra And Sarah McLachlan Perform For The CSOA 26th Annual Corporate Night Benefit

6/16/15 7:42:36 PM  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  Corporate Night featuring Sarah Mclachlan  © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Corporate Night featuring Sarah Mclachlan © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

The League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) held its 26 annual Corporate Night Benefit on Tuesday, June 16 at the Symphony Center. Nearly 600 corporate guests attended the fundraiser to support the CSOA and its diverse programming.

The CSOA welcomed Chicago’s corporate community with live music and cocktails, followed by dinner in the historic Grainger Ballroom, The Thomas Club, and Tesori restaurant, all located inside the Symphony Center.  A New Leaf provided floral designs for the table settings and Blue Plate Catering provided dinner which included a mixed green salad, a beef filet entrée, and blueberry spectrum bomb.

CSO President Jeff Alexander and his wife Keiko Alexander greet Sarah McLachan backstage following her performance . Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg

Following dinner, Chicago’s corporate community joined concert goers in Orchestra Hall for a full set, highly engaged performance of Sarah McLachlan’s biggest hits backed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Before beginning her full set, McLachlan explained any possible performance rustiness, stating her daughter graduated from 7th grade the previous night, she battled two storms coming into Chicago, and she was operating off two hours of sleep.

6/16/15 8:09:53 PM  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  Corporate Night featuring Sarah Mclachlan  © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Corporate Night featuring Sarah Mclachlan © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

However, her performance went off without a glitch. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra perfectly accented Grammy-Award winner McLachlan’s voice as she sang to the seemingly mesmerized crowd. McLachlan also performed at the piano, and played on the guitar in between sharing intimate stories, laughter, and life lessons with concert goers. In between performances, McLachlan explained the importance of gratitude, being thankful for all blessings, and went on to say, “We are lucky to be born in North America. I took a trip many years ago to shoot a documentary film to show the work of a non-profit; I learned to be grateful for all that we have. We are faced with dark things; hold on to the light and give of ourselves when we can.”

This year’s Corporate Night was co-chaired by David P. Hackett, a CSO Trustee and partner at Baker & McKenzie, and Barbara Zutovsky, a CSOA member. Together, they helped raise approximately $1 million for the CSOA educational and artistic programs. “The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s greatness is only possible with the support of our corporate partners,” stated Hackett and Zutovsky in a joint statement. Chicago’s corporate community is expected to raise $6 million by the end of 2015.

CSOA is a charitable, non-profit organization which includes The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and The Negaunee Music Institute. To learn more about CSOA visit cso.org


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