River Forest village update 125th Gala is on for June 17 at Dominican University

? Cocktail party and fundraiser will feature music, dancing and art exhibition to celebrate the village's anniversary.

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The River Forest 125th Anniversary Committee has announced details of its gala fundraiser, scheduled for June 17 at Dominican University. The cocktail party/fundraiser, which will coincide with the premiere opening of the River Forest Artists' exhibition at Dominican, will feature entertainment by a variety of local singers, musicians and dancers.

"We're very excited," said Anniversary Committee Chairman Laurel McMahon. "The venue is spectacular, and we're really looking forward to a lovely evening."

The $125 per person ticket price will help support the restoration of the Cummings Memorial Bandshell located at Lake Street and Harlem Avenue. That long-neglected site was selected this past winter as the legacy project of the 125th Anniversary Committee.

"This is our major fundraiser," said McMahon. "We're looking forward to a strong community response."

Dr. Douglas Anderson and Joel and Susie Raney will headline the event. Also performing will be the Concordia Festival Chorus; performers from the Academy of Movement and Music's MOMENTA dance troupe; and a number of musical ensembles from Oak Park and River Forest High School, including the Jazz Ensemble, a string quartet, Wind Ensemble, as well as the Trinity High School Chamber Choir and Sheila Tully's Irish Step Dancers.

"The musical entertainment should be just sensational," McMahon said.

Thirty-four River Forest artists will exhibit their work in Dominican's O'Connor Art Gallery, located in Lewis Hall. River Forest students from Oak Park and River Forest High School and Fenwick High School will also be exhibiting their work. That exhibit opens the evening of the gala and runs until July 16.

As part of the fundraising effort for the Cummings Memorial restoration, a raffle drawing will be held at the gala, with tickets costing $25 each or five for $100. Among the prizes will be a Hitachi 42-inch plasma TV, a Weber LP barbeque grill and a Sony DVD/VHS player, all of which are being donated by Trage Brothers in Forest Park. 

McMahon said she's exceptionally gratified to see what she termed the "countless hours and energy" of the 125th's Fundraiser subcommittee come together so well.

"There's a tremendous amount of effort that goes into all the details," she said.

Fundraising aside, McMahon noted that one of the goals of the 125th Committee "from the outset" has been to provide opportunities for the River Forest community to come together throughout the 6-month anniversary celebration in ways that they may not have in the past.

Gala invitations will be mailed by early May to all River Forest residents. For more information, please contact Mary "Rogue" Weiland at 771-3262 or Karen Dale at 366-0582.

Library board trustee Sher resigns

Citing a need to focus on his business, 12 year River Forest Library board veteran Dean Sher tendered his resignation at the board's April 13 meeting. The resignation was effective immediately. Board President Molly Ryan said last week that library trustees will interview candidates for the position May 3, with a replacement expected to be named May 11 at their next regularly scheduled meeting.

In his resignation Sher told Ryan that he supported "New blood and fresh ideas" on the board, and expressed confidence in current director Dawn Bussey's leadership.

Ryan praised Sher's efforts and contributions to the library the past 12 years.

"Dean has contributed to every aspect of the work of the board," said Ryan. "Dean is an architect who led the board's work in preserving both the building and the special atmosphere at the library. (His) generosity and public service will benefit the library and the village for years to come."

Sher said he intended to remain involved with the library in a volunteer capacity on upcoming capital improvements. He began his involvement with the library as a consultant on the construction of the library addition that was built in the early '90s.

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