The partnerships, the plays, the people – along with the purpose, passion and progress – were all part of the celebration Thursday, as hundreds of Evanstonians gathered at the Theater on the Lake in Chicago for its annual gala.

Perhaps, it was more to welcome Northlight Theatre home as the money raised was set to go straight to the extensive educational programs, which serve Evanston.

The theater was born in Evanston. It then moved to Skokie and is now building a new home at 1012-16 Church St., Evanston. 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 was chaired by Julie Chernoff and Susie McMonagle and the RoundTable was there to take a few pictures of the evening event.

Executive Director Timothy Evans was everywhere, greeting guests and enjoying the crowd, including 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, co-host of the podcast Evanston Rules, with Northlight’s Executive Director Tim Evans. Credit: Susy Schultz

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

Meleika Gardner, owner of Evanston Live TV, toasts the gala. Credit: Susy 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: Susy 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 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 Devon Horton. Credit: Susy Schultz

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

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

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

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

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

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

Franny and Dennis Clarkson are another couple who have called Evanston home for seemingly forever.

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

Three of the women who represent Evanston in the state legislature were also celebrating Northlight: 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: Susy Schultz

Artist and activist Fran Joy seemed to be at the center of it all – no matter where she sat (or wherever she is).

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

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

Actress and singer Rashada Dawan with her band serenades the Northlight crowd. Credit: Susy Schultz

The place was packed but friends found one another, such as Donald Huff, Sarah Hughes and Dr. Gerta Janss.

Donald Huff, Sarah Hughes and Dr. Gerta Janss enjoy the cocktail reception. Credit: Susy Schultz

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

Jeanne Smith and Suzy Crawford enjoy the cocktail reception at the Northlight Gala Credit: Susy 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 Trustee Christy Callahan sat with Jane Evans, wife of Northlight’s Executive Director Tim Evans. Credit: Susy Schultz

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

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

Susy Schultz

Susy Schultz is the editor of the Evanston Roundtable. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and is the former president of Public Narrative, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching journalists and...

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