Spreading Good Vibrations
Even though their timeless songs have been on American airwaves for more than 50 years, we are still compelled to turn up the volume and roll down the windows when one of their hits comes on the radio. Their sound took “surf rock” to an entirely new, multi-layered level in the 1960s that directly competed with the album sales of The Beatles. They’ve sung for presidents and dignitaries, and provided the soundtrack for many a teenage romance. They are The Beach Boys, and after 19 years, they are coming back to Lake Forest this fall.
On October 1, the Women’s Board of Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital (NLFH) presents their annual benefit evening entitled “A Night in the Forest.” Situated on the lawn under the stars of the historic Onwentsia Club will be a private performance by the world-famous group. Event co-chairs Debbie Saran, Wendy Hubbard, and Cecily Lynch promise a night where the show will actually live up to the hype. Honorary co-chairs Cork and Kathy Walgreen are responsible for the ultimate “get” of the legendary rock group, as their friendship with frontmen Mike Love and Bruce Johnston spans 25 years.
“Like many things in life, it is a series of coincidences that brought the band and the Walgreen family together,” says Kathy. Bruce Johnston’s parents, William and Irene, purchased Cork’s childhood home in the Beverly neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, the place where Bruce was then raised. Through the years, William worked for Kathy’s father-in-law, Charles Walgreen Jr., where his experience enabled the family to relocate to another drug store chain headquartered in California. Bruce credits his family’s move to the Golden State as the springboard for his lifelong career and—needless to say—inspiration.
Fast forward to 1985, when Bruce and Mike Love come to see Cork, who was sitting Chairman and CEO of Walgreen Co., about a new sunscreen product they were hoping to sell at the drug store mega-retailer. “I happened to be in the office that day, and we were introduced,” explains Kathy, who cites their hitting it off as the beginning of a 25-year friendship. “We make a point to keep in touch after all these years.”
Kathy called in the ultimate favor to the famed group back in 1992, when The Beach Boys performed at the same benefit for the then Lake Forest Hospital, prior to the Northwestern acquisition. This fall, as partygoers sway to the beats of “Surfer Girl” and “Sloop John B,” they’ll be raising funds for the premier medical facility right in Lake Forest. Kathy, who has been involved with NLFH as a patient, volunteer, and Women’s Board member for 40 years, says, “It is a credit to our town to have many renowned medical professionals and facilities. In other places in the country, patients have to travel hundreds of miles to receive the level of care we have in our own backyard.”
Tickets for “A Night in the Forest” will be available after August 16 at lfh.org. Click the “About Us” tab, then click on the Women’s Board link.