Before the Civil War, the music of Central Illinois was influenced by people and cultures that filtered in along the region’s roads and rivers, and by the media of the day, including minstrel shows and music halls. On Sunday in Decatur, the Springfield-based musician, writer, and retired professor Peter Ellertson will explore the early music of Illinois in a program of history and musical performance, and he’ll give us a live preview on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.”
Mhondoro Rhythm Success is the curious name of a Champaign-Urbana-based band that plays popular music from Zimbabwe, blending traditional music with electric guitar. They’ll open for the Malian singer and guitarist Vieux Farka Touré for a show in Champaign on Friday, and three of their members will join us live on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also have a live preview of a Heartland Theatre Company's 10-Minute Play Festival, running through June 30 in Normal.
Our region has no shortage of important performing arts centers, including several affiliated with universities. Sangamon Auditorium is one such, at the University of Illinois at Springfield. They’ve announced their season for 2013-to-14, with a line-up ranging from the Blue Man Group to Hello, Dolly! to the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble. On the Monday edition of “Live and Local,” I’ll welcome Sangamon Auditorium’s Director, Bob Vaughn, for a full preview.
Back in April, Allerton Park in Monticello started a new series of Concerts in the Park on the first Friday of each month, from many musical genres. This Friday it’s jazz, courtesy of the Chip McNeill Quartet. They’ll join us live on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” And I’ll talk with Laura Freeman, a cabaret singer in Chicago, who teams with Rob Dorn for a show of some of Judy Garland’s famous duets, playing in Springfield Sunday afternoon.
The first time I heard of the show Urinetown, I thought, “What an appalling name for a musical!” But if you’ve seen the show, you know there’s no better name for it. It’s very funny, and it’s the next student production for the Champaign-Urbana Theater Company. We’ll have a live preview on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” I’ll also talk with pianist and theater organist Mark Gifford about his duo with Damien Kaplan, in Springfield Saturday night.
The young and remarkably talented vocalist Cyrille Aimée was born in France to a French father and Dominican mother. Her birth background, the time she spent with gypsy musicians when she was a child—including descendants of Django Reinhardt—and her love of jazz have all informed the music she makes now. Cyrille Aimée will bring her combo to Charleston for an outdoor concert Sunday, and I’ll talk with her on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.”
Ann McLaughlin has a passion for performing—as a dancer, as a champion unicyclist and as a classical harpist. It’s in the latter capacity that she’ll perform at the annual Summer Harp Class at the University of Illinois this week. The event features public concerts, harp jams and master classes with Professor Ann Yeung. Ann Yeung and Ann McLaughlin will join me for conversation and some live playing on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.”
The Penguin Project, a program that allows children with disabilities to participate in community theater, originated in Peoria. Next weekend, the McLean County chapter with present the classic musical Peter Pan. I’ll talk with artistic director Tricia Stiller on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear about Saturday’s concert of space-inspired music by the Urbana Pops Orchestra.