Concerts in memory of Fran Randall, a volunteer at the Levy Center, are held periodically and sponsored by the Levy Senior Center Foundation. Held at the Levy Center, 300 Dodge Ave., the concerts are free and open to the public.
The first Fran Randall Memorial Concert of the year took place on March 18. It featured performances by pianist Yingying Su and renditions of musical theater sung by Haley Elizabeth Benson and accompanied by Donald Neale on piano. The hour-long concert entertained a receptive crowd of about 60 seniors with a chance to greet the performers after the concert.
Ms. Su is a doctoral candidate at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. She has performed with orchestras all over the world and won numerous national and international piano competitions. Her selections at the Levy Center included works by Franz Liszt, Nikolai Medtner, and Maurice Ravel, which she played on the Center’s 85-year old restored Steinway grand piano.
Ms. Benson is a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theater at Columbia College Chicago. Her seven selections for the concert included “Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair” from South Pacific and “Forget About the Boy” from Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Mr. Neale teaches contemporary piano as a member of the faculty of Columbia College Chicago. He is a well-known performer in the Chicagoland area and frequently performs with local jazz, Latin jazz, blues, and gospel bands. Previously he was the music and
choir director at the Third Unitarian Church of Chicago.
The concert series honors the memory of Fran Randall, an active volunteer for the Levy Center. Her son, Dennis, also a member of the Levy Senior Center, described his mother’s zest for life and the influence she had on his life. Born in 1919 in Chicago, she worked as a corporate secretary and assistant manager at a local legal publisher until her retirement. Once she had more leisure time, she traveled regularly and enthusiastically, visiting China, Japan, Africa, Mexico, and many parts of the United States. It was her friendship with Bernard Dobroski, former dean of Northwestern’s School of Music (the Bienen School’s precursor), that inspired an outreach project to bring music to Evanston’s seniors. Ms. Randall passed away in December 2003, and the concert series, which started the following fall, was named in her honor.