Live and Local
Wednesday evening, the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival will present a screening of the PBS American Masters film Pete Seeger: The Power of Song. The evening will include a live performance of some of Seeger’s songs by local songwriter Paul Kotheimer, who, like Seeger, mixes political activism with his music-making. He’ll do a solo show in Champaign on Saturday, and he’ll play for us live on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.”
Champaign-Urbana-based tenor saxophone player Jonny Beckett makes music with a variety of bands, including Candy Foster and Shades of Blue, Bruiser and the Virtues and the Heartland Jazz Orchestra. Jazz, though, is his clear love, and he’s put out his first CD with a trio of musicians from Dallas. Jonny will play tunes from the disc with three local musicians in Urbana Tuesday night, and they’ll play for us live on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.”
Chicago native Jim Green is both a singer-songwriter and a pretty terrific acoustic guitarist. He enlivens his finger-style picking with percussive rhythms, multiple harmonics and something called “double pull-offs.” I’ll be sure to ask him about that one when he plays for us live on the Friday edition of “Live and Local,” in advance of his gigs in Urbana Friday and Saturday night—also about why he calls himself “The Wandering Endorphin.”
It’s a sad fact that many schools throughout the country have eliminated their orchestral programs. That happened in the Springfield area during the 1970s, but into the void stepped the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony, which supports four ensembles, as well as an adult community orchestra. They’ll all perform this weekend, and we’ll hear details on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” I’ll talk also with singer-songwriter Diana Chittester, who plays in Rochester on Friday.
Though you may not know an instrument called the koto by name, you almost surely would recognize the sound of it. Considered the national instrument of Japan, this long zither first appeared in the Japanese court in the 8th century. Koto virtuoso Yoko Reikano Kimura will perform a recent concerto for her instrument with The Prairie Ensemble in Champaign Saturday night, and she’ll be my guest on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.”
I’m not terribly knowledgeable about jazz—as astute listeners to the show will have noticed—but I suspect it’s uncommon for a performer of the baritone saxophone—that nearly lowest of the sax family—to front his own band. Adrian Barnett does, and he brought together colleagues at the University of Illinois for a septet and a new CD, with a release party in Urbana Thursday. They’ll play for us live on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.”
The Decatur community choir called OPUS 24 will give its spring concert on May 13, under the direction of Milton Scott. The program will feature music about America by both American composers and composers from elsewhere. I’ll talk with Milt Scott on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear from conductor Deanne Bryant about next Sunday’s concert by the Bloomington Normal Youth Symphony.
Marion van der Loo is completing her 20th season as music director of the Springfield Choral Society. To celebrate, the Society commissioned three choral pieces, each based on one of her own poems, to be premiered at their concerts this weekend. I’ll talk with Marion on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” And I’ll visit with Chicago’s Justin Roberts, who will bring his Not Ready for Naptime Players to Allerton Park in Monticello for family concerts on Sunday.
Choro, samba and bossa nova are no doubt the three most popular of the many forms of popular and folkloric music from Brazil known the world over. The locally based BR Quartet with Elis Artz—also called The Elis Quartet or, simply, Elis—plays an eclectic mix of songs from traditional dance forms to modern Brazilian pop music. Together only one year, they’ll play for us live on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.”
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