The Urbana Pops Orchestra is entering its fifth season. While they play primarily summer concerts, they’ll offer a series of recitals by some of their musicians over the next few months, including on Sunday principal trombonist Nathaniel Geiger. Nathaniel will join us for a live preview on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” And I’ll talk with trumpeter Simon Burke, leader of the Bloomington-based Aduki Jazz, whose next gig is Thursday night.
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."
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.
In addition to my role at this radio station, I’m privileged to conduct a local, eclectic chamber orchestra called The Prairie Ensemble. The winds, brass and percussion of the Ensemble will give a concert next Sunday that will also feature a new local choir called Prairie Voices. On the Monday edition of the show, I’ll preview some of the music and talk with Prairie Voices director Laurie Matheson.
Composer Peter Michalove earned his degrees in music in the 1970s, but left music shortly after for other pursuits. Now retired, he resumed composing several years ago and will present a recital of his works in Champaign Friday night. We’ll meet Peter and hear some live samples on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” And I’ll talk with Donald Schleicher, conductor of the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra, who will play Friday night in Urbana.
Tony DeMarco has been performing and teaching Irish fiddle music for more than thirty years, and is now one of the leading exponents of the New York slash Sligo fiddle style. Siobhán Butler is an accomplished percussive dancer who has performed internationally with the likes of Celtic Crossroads and Cherish the Ladies. They’ll give a house concert in Urbana Tuesday night, and will join me live on the Tuesday edition of Live and Local.
The dance program at the University of Illinois will present its annual February Dance concerts Thursday through Saturday, with works by both faculty members and graduate students, with some set to live music. I’ll talk with two of the choreographers on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” And we’ll hear about the 38th Annual Central Illinois Jazz Festival, happening this weekend in Decatur.