Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Goodnight Moon & The Runaway Bunny - puppets to make!

Check out these great puppets kids will have the chance to make at "Goodnight Moon & The Runaway Bunny" on Friday evening, January 30.

The performance by the professional puppet company, Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, begins at 7 p.m., but the fun begins in the lobby at 6 p.m. In addition to puppet-making, kids will have the chance to see live bunnies courtesy of Henson-Robinson Zoo, and learn about the moon from UIS Astronomy faculty, Dr. John Martin!

Our friends from KISS-FM will also be on hand in the lobby at 6 p.m.

Tickets are still available so call 217.206.6160 or 800.207.6960 today.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jay Ungar & Molly Mason: An Early Birthday Party for A. Lincoln

Like most organizations in Springfield, Sangamon Auditorium will be celebrating Lincoln’s 200th birthday with a special event. Our event is a concert featuring Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. Jay is best known for writing the song “Ashokan Farewell” which became the theme song in the PBS Civil War documentary by Ken Burns. You can listen to the song and hear Jay talk about why he wrote it here.

Jay and Molly will be performing with local artists from the 10th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry Band and the Springfield International Folk Dancers. I’m helping coordinate this event as the liaison between the Auditorium and the folk dancers, so I get an interesting perspective of all the behind-the-scenes preparation. Modern technology has been a big help in getting ready for this event; the Cavalry Band and Jay Ungar can record songs on small digital recorders, upload them to their computers, email the songs to me, and then I can burn a CD for the dancers to use during rehearsals.

The cavalry band is a reenactment group that plays Civil War-era music on historic 150-year-old brass instruments and drums recreated to historical specifications. Band Master Todd Cranson has been working directly with Jay Ungar to create new arrangements of some of Jay and Molly’s songs to include the band or select soloists. Cranson has also dug through files of old music to resurrect songs that haven’t been heard since the mid 1800s.

After the performance you can try a slice of birthday cake baked from Mary Todd Lincoln’s own recipe, which is a white cake flavored with vanilla and almond. You can find several variations of the recipe online, and the Washington Post has a short article about the history of the recipe.

Springfield Ballet Company Master Class with Russian National Ballet Theatre

On Thursday, January 22, 12 dancers from the Springfield Ballet Company participated in a Master Class led by the principal choreographer of the Russian National Ballet Theatre. Opportunities for local dancers to learn from professional touring artists are rare in Springfield, but providing such opportunities is an important part of the mission of Sangamon Auditorium. We are pleased to have partnered with the Springfield Ballet Company to make this event possible.

Throughout the Master Class, which was led in Russian and interpreted by local Russian speaker Katerina Olifruk, emphasis was placed on encouraging dancers to turn their *movement* into true *dance*, making movement beautiful, and letting the hands and head take active involvement in the dance.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Family Series at UIS event - "Goodnight Moon" and "The Runaway Bunny"

I am so pleased we will be presenting Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s "Goodnight Moon" and "The Runaway Bunny" on the Family Series at UIS on Friday, January 30 at 7 p.m. Previously, we have presented the stories of Eric Carle as produced by this unique puppet company and we are delighted to have them back again!

When Mermaid Theatre creates puppet performances for very young children, the company does an outstanding job of appropriately allowing space for children’s enjoyment of the visual wonder of live performance. “Oohs” and “ahhs” are allowed, and even encouraged! This helps make their performances appropriate for even the very youngest of audience members. Only a parent or loved one can truly decide when a child is ready to be a live performance audience member, but Mermaid Theatre has been enjoyed at Sangamon Auditorium by children as young as age 2. And yet, Mermaid also appeals to anyone who is young-at-heart, whether age 2 or age 102!

This performance is only one hour in length. In order to make the experience easier for families – and because there certainly is no “dress code” at Family Series events - parents are welcome and encouraged to bring children in their pajamas. This might make car rides and transitions to bedtime much easier for families.

In addition to the main event at 7 p.m., families are encouraged to arrive in the lobby as early as 6 p.m. in order to enjoy hands-on, free pre-show activities. This is a regular feature of our Family Series events. For "Goodnight Moon" and "The Runaway Bunny", these activities are already scheduled to include the following:

Moon: UIS kid-friendly Professor John Martin will speak with kids about the moon. He will have maps and pictures to share.

Bunny: Henson-Robinson Zoo will bring bunnies…er, uh…rabbits, I guess that is…so that kids can have a look at the real thing!

Puppets: Kids will have the opportunity to make their own puppets with all kinds of fun craft materials.

I hope this gives you a little more information and I hope you can consider joining us January 30 for this Family Series event. Please contact the Ticket Office for more information and/or to purchase your tickets. Phone: 217.206.6160 or http://www.sangamonauditorium.org/.

Welcome to the Sangamon Auditorium Blog!

We’re all looking forward to an exciting 2009 here at the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium! We’ll use this blog to keep you updated with details about upcoming as well as past events. Check back often for the latest information.