February 14 is, of course, Valentine’s Day, and there will be plenty of romantic music played throughout our area. Much Russian music has come to be associated with love and romance, and Sinfonia da Camera will play a concert called “From Russia With Love” in Urbana. I’ll welcome their soloist, violinist Andres Cardenes, to the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also have a live preview of a multi-genre concert at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Urbana.
Kim and Reggie Harris are an African-American duo who perform traditional spirituals and freedom songs with original folk music. They also give educational performances about Black History, the Underground Railroad and other topics. Kim and Reggie Harris are performing in Urbana this week, and they’ll join us live on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear a live preview of Champaign Central High School’s upcoming production of the musical Shrek.
If you're a fan of the radio program A Prairie Home Companion, and you have a really good memory, you might recall an old-time string band called The Freight Hoppers, who won the "Talent From Towns Under 2000" contest back in 1996. They got their start through a daily gig at the Great Smoky Mountains Railway, and they're going strong twenty-some years later. The Freight Hoppers will play a stage show and square dance in Urbana Wednesday, and they'll play for us live on the Wednesday edition of "Live and Local."
The woman born Freda Josephine McDonald became known to audiences worldwide as Josephine Baker, the American-born French dancer, singer, actress and civil rights advocate. There’s a new picture book about Baker, with text by local children’s book author Patricia Hruby Powell. We’ll visit on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.” And we’ll have a live preview of Wait Until Dark, the current production at Parkland Theater in Champaign.
The TEN Tenors of Australia jumped on the multiple-tenor bandwagon fifteen years ago and will bring their current show to Springfield on Saturday. We’ll hear more on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” I’ll also talk with soprano Julia Bullock, a Young Concert Artists Winner, who will sing in Urbana Sunday, and we’ll hear, live in our studio, local band director and clarinetist Karen DeBauche with some of her students, in advance of her Sunday recital.
Dennis Mackrel was the last drummer to be hired for the Count Basie Orchestra by the Count himself. Almost thirty years later, he returned to lead the Basie band, but considers himself primarily a collaborator in jazz. He’ll perform with the Eastern Illinois University Jazz Ensemble Friday night, and he’ll be my guest on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also meet the playwright, director and actors for the new play Lost Lake, now playing in Urbana.
Coming in April, the University of Illinois Opera Studio will premiere a new musical by Joseph Turrin called Love Games. Sunday night in Champaign, the director, musical guests and members of the cast will present a benefit program called "That's Amore," an evening of food and love songs for an early Valentine's celebration. We'll hear details on the Wednesday edition of "Live and Local"
Elliot Chasanov is now in his third decade as professor of trombone at the University of Illinois and is active as a performer, clinician and arranger of brass music. He'll play in Urbana Wednesday night, and he'll give us a preview on the Tuesday edition of "Live and Local." I'll also talk with Vermont- and Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell, who will open for Patty Griffin in Urbana, also Wednesday night.