Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The Clare at Water Tower, a high rise continuing care retirement community in Chicago, announced that Ramsey Lewis, world renowned composer and musician, will receive the organization's inaugural Joie de Vivre Award. The Joie de Vivre award program honors local seniors who have experienced the "joy of living" through business accomplishments, contributions to the community, and a life that reflects the core values of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago of respect, service, dedication, stewardship and joy. Residents of The Clare at Water Tower will present the award to Lewis on Wednesday, October 12, during a special ceremony.

"Ramsey Lewis is an inspiration to us all. His commitment to Chicago and music, particularly through his work with the Ravinia Festival's Jazz Mentor Program, Merit School of Music and The Chicago High School for the Arts, has brought great joy to many in our city and even more around the world," said Michel Desjardins, executive director, of The Clare at Water Tower. "Our residents felt it was incredibly important to recognize the vibrancy of mature adults and the contributions they make to the communities they live and work in. And as such, the Joie de Vivre award program was born."

"I am honored to be acknowledged by my peers in this way and grateful to the residents of The Clare for this award," said Ramsey Lewis. "My passion for music has fueled my ability to reach out to Chicago youth, along with young people from many countries, and teach them about how music can be such a powerful, positive force in life - just as it has been for mine."

Lewis, a native Chicagoan, is known as "The Great Performer," a title reflecting his performance style and musical selections which display early gospel and classical training along with a love of jazz and other musical forms. Bringing musical joy to millions, Lewis has recorded more than 80 albums, seven of which went gold, and is the recipient of three Grammy Awards. He also received the National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Masters Award in 2007, as well as holds five honorary doctorate degrees and is the beneficiary of numerous accolades. Additionally, Lewis has enjoyed a long career in radio and television.

In 1995, Lewis helped organize the Ravinia Festival's Jazz Mentor Program. He currently serves as the Artistic Director for the festival's jazz series. An active proponent of the Merit School of Music, an inner city music program in downtown Chicago, and The Chicago School for the Arts, the city's first public high school for the performing arts, Lewis serves on the schools' Boards of Trustees. He also is a member of the Loyola University Chicago Council of Regents.

 Lewis’ 80th album release, entitled Ramsey, Taking Another Look is being released on the Los Angeles based Hidden Beach Recordings.

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