Pulse: Naperville mom vying for Mrs. Illinois title

Going for it

Mom vying for Mrs. Illinois title

When the Mrs. Illinois competition takes place April 19 at Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin, Naperville resident Natalia Dagenhart will be vying for the Prairie State crown.

“I want to take part in this competition because I think that every woman deserves to be recognized and appreciated,” said Dagenhart, 44. “I always try new things and believe that the only way to find out whether you can achieve something or not is to actually do it.”

The mother of two will take part in the swimsuit and evening gown competitions, as well as an interview with the judges. If she wins, Dagenhart will be awarded more than $15,000 in prizes and a spot in the national Mrs. America pageant.

“I believe that real beauty is not only outside, but also is inside,” she said. “If I win, I will be happy; if I don’t win, I will be happy that I tried.”

Glad to be home

Waubonsie grad with Air Force Band

Waubonsie Valley grad Joe Bello will be in town this week as part of the United States Air Force Band’s special concert tour. On Saturday, April 5, Bello, the principal euphonium player, will be part of the free concert that takes place at Neuqua Valley High School auditorium.

It will be a special one for Bello, who is retiring from the Air Force after 16 years of service.

“Coming back to Naperville to end my career in the U.S. Air Force band is truly an honor and privilege,” Bello said. “It was always a dream of mine to perform with this incredible organization and to share the stage with them at Neuqua Valley High School is surreal.”

The concert, titled “Destinations,” will take listeners on a musical journey of the world, featuring traditional band works, highlights from the opera stage, featuring the Singing Sergeants, and many patriotic favorites.

Free tickets for the 7 p.m. show are sold out. All empty seats will be released at 6:45 p.m., so seats might be available.

Passion for reading

Anderson earns Hall of Fame award

Naperville’s Becky Anderson, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshop, has long been an advocate for reading in youngsters as well as adults, a passion that goes beyond making sales at the cash register.

That passion recently was recognized by the Illinois Reading Council, who tabbed Anderson as the 2014 Hall of Fame Award Winner. The council award is “designed to distinguish Illinois reading activists who have given outstanding contributions to reading or reading education.”

Anderson said she was recognized recently at a dinner in Normal, Ill.

“My understanding is that first time in a long while that the Hall of Fame award was given to someone else other than an educator,” she said. “While I was there, I sat with James Patterson, who recently gave Anderson’s a $5,000 grant from his foundation. I’ve met Patterson before, and he’s very passionate about the importance of independent book stores in this country.”

Anderson said the store did not seek the grant but was nominated for it by author R.L. Stein, who writes the best-selling “Goosebumps” horror stories for children.

Anderson said she continues to work with teachers and educators throughout the year “to get reading into children’s heads.”

“We do that through programs like Illinois Reads where we choose six books and try to focus on reading Illinois authors,” she said.

Marriage debate

OUTreach brings ‘8’ to campus

The Naperville Central College student organization known as OUTreach plans to raise awareness about marriage equality by presenting the Academy Award-winning play “8” for one day only, Saturday, April 5, at the Pfieffer Hall building on the campus at 310 Benton Ave.

Sarah Schoonhoven, a junior from Chicago who is majoring in music, said the student group “dates back to the late 1990s but that it existed before that and wasn’t allowed to meet on campus.”

“I think the administration here is a lot more open than it was years ago, and we wanted to offer this play, which deals with Proposition 8 in California, which defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman,” the president of OUTreach said.

“This is an issue that is being discussed across the country and has certainly been raised on college campuses. Overall, we don’t feel as though it has been discussed enough, due to the political climate that still exists at this time.”

Schoonhove said this is the first time the OUTreach group has elected to raise awareness about an issue in this way.

“The co-director of the group and myself have been active in other events, but this is the first time we’ve done something like this,” she said.

“We’ve received a lot of support, both within and outside of our group.”

Two performances will be at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5. A discussion session will take place after each performance. Tickets are available at the door or reserved through email at 8atncc@gmail.com

In theaters only

Peter Gabriel event coming here, too

Several theaters in the area will be part of a special showing of “Peter Gabriel: Back to Front” to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Music Hall of Fame inductee’s recording of “So.”

The Fathom Events one-night only concert will be presented at theaters around the country at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 23. Local theaters include the AMC Naperville 16, the Randall 15 in Batavia, the Cinemark Woodridge 17, and the New Lenox 14 in New Lenox.

Christine Pomorski, a spokesperson for Fathom Events, said the concert film was out on the release schedule in early February and already has created quite a buzz.

“We’ve found with these one-night only events with someone like Peter that people are pretty excited about it,” Pomorski said.

Carol Kaye, owner of Kayos Productions who does promotions for the Eagle Rock record label, said she believes the concert film “could be a sellout” at many locations.

“This is a fabulous documentary film and is coming on the heels of Peter being inducted into the Hall of Fame on April 10,” she said.

Tickets are available at www.FathomEvents.com.

They’re coming

Moscow Festival Ballet performs ‘Cinderella’

Legendary artistic director Sergei Radchenko is bringing his dance company Moscow Festival Ballet to North Central College on May 2 to perform “Cinderella.”

For Radchenko, former principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet, the Moscow Festival Ballet became a realization of his vision for a company that would bring together the highest classical elements of the great Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies in an independent new company within the framework of Russian classic ballet.

Founded by Radchenko in 1989, the Moscow Festival Ballet has toured extensively throughout Europe and the United States, all the while collecting leading dancers across Russia to stage new productions of timeless classics such as “Giselle,” “Don Quixote,” “Paquita” and “Carmen.” It recently completed tours of Japan, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The performance will be at 8 p.m. May 2 in the college’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave. Tickets are $35, $25 and $20; call the North Central College box office at 630-637-7469 or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.