The Kentucky-based quartet Harpeth Rising represent the convergence of a classical education and a passion for folk music, Americana, blues, bluegrass and all things acoustic. They played for us live back in October 2012 when they were in Urbana during a tour, and we’ll rebroadcast that program on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear an encore studio performance by the local band Samba Soul.
Live and Local
The Foghorn Stringband has been called the “shining gold standard for American stringband music,” with seven albums, over a decade of touring under their belts, and two entirely new generations of old-time musicians following their lead. I’ve twice talked with members of the group in advance of shows in our area, and last February the whole band joined us live in our studio. We’ll rebroadcast that program on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.”
The CHORALE of Champaign-Urbana began in 1982 as a small ensemble of singers providing music for the holidays in Mahomet. The group is now seventy-something strong, singing three concerts annually under the direction of Julie Beyler—including every New Year’s Eve. I’ll welcome Julie and featured pianist Michael Hammer to the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” And we’ll hear about Saturday’s gig in Decatur by the Craig Russo Latin Jazz Project.
In a past life, Keith Harden was a widely traveled blues-folk-Americana-etc. guitarist-singer—as he puts it himself. Long a fixture in the Champaign-Urbana area, he now lives in Nashville but treks back to C-U every Christmas for a round of local gigs. Keith and his vocalist sister Kathy Harden will play for us live on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” And we’ll hear about the 2nd annual Christmas variety show at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield.
Ken Bello comes from a line of Russian ballet dancers and has partnered principal ballerinas from prominent companies around the world--among them his wife, Michelle Holmes-Bello. Together they founded USA Ballet, based in Bloomington-Normal, whose Youth Ensemble will present The Nutcracker Saturday afternoon. I'll talk with Ken Bello on the Wednesday edition of "Live and Local."
Ray Miner is a songwriter living in Rantoul who, after years of pitching his songs in Nashville, started his own company, RDSE Records. Briana Kay is a vocalist who has worked with bands in various genres in the Midwest and cut her first record, It's Christmas, with RDSE. Ray and Briana will join me on the Monday edition of "Live and Local."
I’m a long-ex player of the French horn, and one of my favorite pieces involving that instrument is the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings by Benjamin Britten. The Illinois Chamber Orchestra will present it in Bloomington and Springfield this weekend, and I’ll talk with tenor William Burden on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” For most of the hour, we’ll hear a fine acoustic duo called The Flower Jax, live in our studio. They play in Fairmount Sunday afternoon.
Miracle on 34th Street is one of the most loved stories of the holiday season. If you missed seeing it in Charleston last weekend, you can catch Bah Humbug Productions’ rendition in Champaign the next two weekends. We’ll have a live preview on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also rebroadcast a live performance in our studio by members of the Millikin University Faculty Jazz Sextet, who give their annual Holiday Jazz concert in Decatur Saturday.
The chorus of the Baroque Artists of Champaign Urbana have a busy next few days, as they’ll participate in their own concert on Sunday and make an appearance with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony on Thursday. Both organizations will give multi-faceted Christmas-themed programs. On the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local,” I’ll talk with Baroque Artists conductor Chester Alwes and with CU Symphony conductor Stephen Alltop.
John Philip Sousa was a world-class trapshooter, a three-time novelist—and, oh yes, the world’s most famous bandmaster, known as the March King. A new composition based on Sousa’s march The Thunderer will have its premiere by the combined forces of Champaign-Urbana’s three high school bands on Saturday, part of a concert celebrating America’s music and music in the schools. I’ll visit with all three band directors on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.”