Photo of Chessmen by Genie Lemieux, Evanston Photographic Studios

The grand ballroom at the Hotel Orrington was nearly full as hundreds of Evanstonians gathered for the annual Chessmen gala and benefit on March 17.

The club, which offers mentoring to students, holiday food baskets for those in need, and community spirit year round, honored Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre Artistic Director, Tim Rhoze, and philanthropist Ann Balusek of the Mammel Foundation.

Under Mr. Rhoze’s direction, the theater has expanding its season and attracted greater audiences.

Ms. Balusek’s Mammel Foundation has donated thousands of dollars to the Evanston Community Foundation over the years.