On Tuesday, I had a chance to talk briefly with mandolinist Mike Compton. Born in Mississippi, he became a staple of Nashville’s music scene, where he’s a long-time member of the Nashville Bluegrass Band and recorded a half-dozen albums with the Hartford String Band. Lately, in addition to his ensemble gigs, he’s toured a lot solo. He’ll do double duty when he joins the Urbana Hootenanny Monday night and plays for us live on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.”
Live and Local
To create her latest CD, Sing the Delta, reluctant songwriter Iris DeMent said, “A door kinda opened up, a handful of songs walked through . . . and I knew I had a record.” Iris DeMent will bring her music to Springfield Friday night and to Bloomington on the 26th, and she’ll be my guest on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” Also, live in our studio, we’ll hear flutist Rebecca Johnson and pianist Cara Chowning before their recital in Charleston Sunday afternoon.
If you’re familiar with the phenomenon of college a cappella, then you know about Straight No Chaser, the ten-man college-turned-professional group whose career was launched by a viral YouTube video. Now touring the world, they’ll sing in Normal on November 9. I’ll talk with Dave Roberts, a founding member, on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” Also, live in our studio, we’ll preview the musical Nunsense, the current production at The Little Theatre in Sullivan.
The Tuesday edition of “Live and Local” will represent some of the great variety of music that can be heard throughout our region. I’ll talk with conductor Richard Rossi about choral and orchestral concerts at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. We’ll meet Kristin Stewart, who plays Mrs. Potts in a production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in Bloomington. And mandolin master Mike Compton will chat ahead of his gigs in Bloomington and Urbana.
Austin, Texas-born Charles Yang says he was force-fed the violin by his parents and rebelled early on, taking up the guitar to sing and play in a rock band. Now studying at the renowned Juilliard School, he plays at celebrated venues, often in crossover and improvisational collaborations. He’ll play Tchaikovsky and the premiere of a rock-tinged concerto with the Peoria Symphony on Saturday, and he’ll be my guest on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.”
Erik Lund is a long-time professor of composition at the University of Illinois. He’s also an active trombonist playing in two groups with upcoming performances in Champaign-Urbana: the Jazz Friends Quintet, and compostQ, a multi-dimensional music-and-dance collective. I’ll talk with Erik on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” And we’ll hear about the Illinois Symphony’s season-opening concerts from music director Alastair Willis.
Composer Adolphus Hailstork has written an opera about the Underground Railroad, a cantata on texts by Walt Whitman, organ music based on Gregorian chant and inspired works for all types of musical ensemble. He’ll be present for a concert of his music in Urbana Thursday night, and he’ll be my guest on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear a live preview of the play White People, currently at Urbana’s Station Theatre.
Bloomington-Normal-based singer-songwriter Dan Hubbard has released six albums, both solo and with his band The Humadors. His latest solo project, just out, is called “Livin’ in the Heartland.” Dan will have CD release shows in Champaign and Springfield this week, and he’ll play for us live on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” And I’ll talk with Michael Spiro of Ritmos Unidos, a Latin jazz-and-pop band who will play in Charleston Thursday night.
On the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local,” I’ll be pleased to welcome two performers who grew up in Champaign-Urbana, watched each other in community theater and occasionally played together here and there. Singer, songwriter and music therapist Lynn O’Brien now lives in Minneapolis, while performer and actor Nick Demeris moved to New York City. They’ll play together in Urbana Tuesday night, and they’ll give us a live preview in the studio.
Robert Chen is concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, who will play in Urbana Saturday night. We'll talk about his role with the orchestra and about the piece he'll play: the Violin Concerto by Paul Hindemith. And I'll visit with Streator-born mezzo-soprano Kate Tombaugh, a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University. She'll return to Bloomington to present a one-woman show for Prairie Fire Theatre, called "It just takes one"--a comical take on dating for people of all ages.