Clara Rankin has bloomed at and for the Cleveland Institute of Music for so many years that it was only natural for her to be honored at A Legacy in Bloom, the spring party given by the Women’s Committee of CIM.
As the 200 or so guests filtered into the North Lobby of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Mrs. Rankin greeted early arrivals wearing a dress and jacket in a perfect shade of blue. “This is all for CIM,” she told us right off the bat just in case anyone wanted to make the night all about her.
Mrs. Rankin’s years at CIM began right after World War II when she began to study voice with Marie Simmelink Kraft. After she joined the Board of Trustees in 1951, she was involved in two major searches, the one for CIM president Victor Babin and the planning and fundraising for the permanent campus in 1961. She remained on the board until 2004 when she became Trustee Emeritus, still serving today.
Naturally, it was a night full of music with the CIM Orchestra performing on the stage of Gartner Auditorium along with four student artists and soloist Caroline Goulding who has become a world-renowned violinist since her CIM graduation. She performed Mozart’s violin concerto No. 1.
Dinner by Bon Appetit which I discovered later was part of Provenance, was served in the Atrium from food stations. There were four performance areas named for Martha Bell Sanders and Mary Hutchens Smith who founded the Women’s Committee nearly 100 years ago. A special treat was a “pop-up” performance of “Simple Gifts” conducted from the balcony with musicians joining in from all over. It was charming.
The flowers were donated anonymously and arranged by members of the committee under the guidance of Jay Szabo. There were 220 large arrangements and 20 bud vases. A Legacy in Bloom Indeed.
Party chairman Jean Koznarek and her team were hoping to raise $250,000. “We not only exceeded our goal but this was the highest grossing benefit ever for the Women’s Committee,” said Jean.
It was a delightful evening honoring a woman who has devoted so much of her life to CIM. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARTHA TOWNS