The sounds of tap dancing filled the air for Jubalee, a gala benefit that opened the 23rd season of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project at the
on Monday. Local and international tap and percussive dance stars filled the stage for the benefit that also honored Susan and Ted Oppenheimer with the JUBA Award. Susan Oppenheimer, a former Chicago Human Rhythm Project board chair, was instrumental in the establishment of the American Rhythm Center in the Fine Arts Building. Ted Oppenheimer is president of the Oppenheimer Family Foundation, which is responsible for the Teacher Incentive Grant program in Chicago Public Schools.
Hosted by Bill Kurtis, Jubalee opened with a reception and silent auction, followed by performances by Kalapriya, FootworKINGz, BAM! and Chicago Human Rhythm Project scholarship students Antonio Hatcher and Starinah Dixon. Co-founder/director Lane Alexander introduced two surprise guests — Broadway performer Ted Levy, who was accompanied on piano by jazz legend Willie Pickens. Charles Gardner, longtime dance supporter/philanthropist, contributed $100,000 to have a studio at Chicago Human Rhythm Project's new American Rhythm Center named in honor of his wife, Patti Eylar.
Sponsored by Charter One Bank, the gala's honorary chairs were Diane and Richard Weinberg, with board members Michael Foster and Diana Harris serving as co-chairs. More than 200 attended the benefit that raised $200,000 for the organization.
The Chicago Human Rhythm Project was founded in 1990.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers
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