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Photo essay: Northlight will ‘bring a much needed economic relief to the downtown’

The partnerships, the plays, the people along with the purpose, passion and progress were all part of the Thursday celebration, as hundreds of Evanstonians gathered at the Theater on the Lake in Chicago to welcome Northlight Theater home.

The theater, which originated in Evanston, and then moved to Skokie is building a new home in Evanston at 1012-16 Church St. The ground is broken and the construction has started. But the night seemed less about the new building and more about old friends.

The 2022 Gala, which was chaired by Julie Chernoff and Susie McMonagle, was to raise money for the theater’s robust education program. Executive Director Timothy Evans was everywhere, greeting guests and enjoying the crowd. Here he is with Laurice Bell, co-host of the Evanston Rules podcast. Said Evans speaking to the crowd about the new Northlight building: “It will also provide much-needed economic relief to the Downtown.”

Laurice Bell, cohost of the Evanston Rules podcast, with Northlight’s Executive Director Tim Evans. Credit: Susie Schultz

Meleika Gardner, community engagement specialist and owner of Evanston Live TV, toasts the gala.

Meleika Gardner, community engagement specialist and owner of Evanston Live TV, toasts the gala. Credit: Susie Schultz

The view of the lake and the Chicago skyline was part of the entertainment at the cocktail party as was the ETHS String Quartet. If you were lucky enough to stand next to them, you could hear the beautiful music.

The ETHS string quartet serenaded the crowd during the cocktail reception. Credit: Susie Schultz

Some of the city’s top nonprofit executives were in the room, including Monique Parsons, president and CEO of McGaw YMCA, as well as District 65 Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton and his wife, Christiane Horton.

Monique Parsons, president and CEO of McGaw YMCA, stands with Christiane Horton and her husband District 65 Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton. Credit: Susie Schultz

District 202 Superintendent Dr. Marcus Campbell and Steve Newman, founder and director of Evanston Scholars, spoke at the Gala about what Northlight’s programs means to ETHS and the students.

District 202 Superintendent Dr. Marcus Campbell and Steve Newman, founder and director of Evanston Scholars both spoke about Northlight and its dedication to education. Credit: Susie Schultz

ETHS was well represented: both Frida Perez and Agnes Bijole-Himes, are ETHS students, and also part of the Northlight Youth Council. They worked the room with volunteer Judie Moswin to sell raffle tickets.

Northlight volunteers Frida Perez and Agnes Bijole-Himes, who are both ETHS students and part of the Northlight Youth Council, worked with volunteer Judie Moswin to sell raffle tickets. Credit: Susie Schultz

The beautiful Candace Corr and her husband BJ Jones, Northlight’s artistic director, were just two of the many Evanstonians at the event who counted their years in the city by decades.

Candace Corr and her husband BJ Jones, Northlight’s Artistic Director, were there with the family in full force. Credit: Susie Schultz

Franny and Dennis Clarkson are two more who have called Evanston home for seemingly ever.

Longtime Evanstonians Franny and Dennis Clarkson enjoy the evening with friends. Credit: Susie Schultz

Three of the women who represent Evanston in the state legislature were also celebrating Northlight, from left, State Rep. Robyn Gabel; State Sen. Laura Fine and State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz.

Evanston’s representatives in the Illinois State legislature were at the gala, from left, State Rep. Robyn Gabel; State Sen. Laura Fine and State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz. Credit: Susie Schultz

Artist and activist Fran Joy seemed to be at the center of it all — no matter where she sat.

Artist and activist Fran Joy is a Northlight fan. Credit: Susie Schultz

Actress, singer and activist Rashada Dawan brought her powerful and beautiful voice that not only filled the hall but you heart as well.

Actress and singer Rashada Dawan with her band serenading the Northlight crowd. Credit: Susie Schultz

The place was packed but friends found one another, as Donald Huff, Sarah Hughes & Dr. Gerta Janss enjoying the cocktail reception.

Donald Huff, Sarah Hughes & Dr. Gerta Janss enjoying the cocktail reception. Credit: Susie Schultz

As a member of Northlight’s Board of Trustees Christy Callahan did not escape working a bit Thursday. But she sat through dinner with Jane Evans, wife of Northlight’s executive director Tim Evans.

Northlight Board of Trustee member Christy Callahan sat with Jane Evans, wife of Northlight’s executive director Tim Evans. Credit: Susie Schultz

ABC-7’s Karen Jordon guided the room through the night seamlessly as the event emcee.

ABC-7’s Karen Jordan, to an Evanstonian, was the excellent emcee for the evening. Credit: Susie Schultz

But much of the evening was about finding your people, as Jeanne Smith and Suzy Crawford did during the cocktail reception at the Northlight Gala.

Jeanne Smith and Suzy Crawford enjoy the cocktail reception at the Northlight Gala Credit: Susie Schultz

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