Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An orchestra of voices...the best of the best!

Coming up on April 14 at Sangamon Auditorium, UIS is the outstanding male vocal ensemble Chanticleer.  It has been ten years since we saw Chanticleer on our stage and that's much too long to wait!  While they are known for classical fare also, it's difficult to resist posting a pop gem like this when writing about their work:

In addition to the concert at 7 p.m., Chanticleer's music director, Jace Wittig, will conduct a master class with the Springfield Choral Society that afternoon as they prepare for their upcoming concert of Rachmaninoff's "All Night Vigil."  We are so pleased to bring artists to our community who can, on occasion, advise, inspire, and even collaborate with local artists.  It is an important part of our role on campus and in the community.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

IHSA event this weekend

Sangamon Auditorium is proud to serve as a multi-use venue for important community events.  In some cases, this means hosting non-arts events such as commencements, inaugurations of elected officials, and even a conference by a regional food company (that event has included samples of food at booths in the lobby...always a tasty day!)

But this week, we are pleased to host the Illinois High School Association State Finals for Drama and Group Interpretation.  It is especially exciting to see high school students from around the state descend upon the Public Affairs Center for performances in the drama (fully-produced with sets and costumes, in Sangamon Auditorium) and group interpretation (less fully-produced, in the Studio Theatre) for this state finals in these drama events.

Most of the attendees at these events are the other high school participants and their parents, but the public is welcome to attend, free of charge.  These are some of the most exciting plays produced by high schools across the state.  Having watched a few over the seven years Sangamon Auditorium has hosted the event, I encourage you to check it out.  Events run all day and into the evening on Friday, March 22 and for the first part of the day on Saturday, March 23.  Check the schedule to see if there are particular productions that might interest you personally!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thoughts about the Studio Theatre and intimate performances

I have had the fortune to be present at several of our more recent UIS Kitchen Sink series events in the UIS Studio Theatre.  While the Kitchen Sink series includes a broad range of performing artists, the two most recent events I've attended - concerts by Time for Three and The Good Lovelies - boasted at least two commonalities: both artists covered Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" as their encore and both talked about how great they thought it was to be involved in a series coined "Kitchen Sink".  Yes, the series name is meant to imply that we try to include a broad range of performances (as in, "everything and the...") and it is also meant to imply that the events have the intimacy of being gathered around a kitchen sink, discussing anything and everything you care about.

We have just made special arrangements with Janis Ian and Livingston Taylor to move their performance, coming up on Saturday, March 16, to the Studio Theatre.  This space, just below Sangamon Auditorium, will enable the most intimate experience between the solo artists and the audience.  While I am somewhat inclined to say that it will be a rarity to see artists of this caliber in such an intimate space, given the caliber of some of our recent Kitchen Sink artists, that rarity hardly stands.  What I suppose is really unique is seeing TWO artists of caliber in an intimate evening like this.  Here's what you can expect:

Livingston Taylor has been a force on the folk music scene for over 30 years.  He has toured and collaborated with major artists such as Linda Ronstadt and Fleetwood Mac and has over a dozen albums to his credit.

With hit songs like "At Seventeen" and "Society's Child," Janis Ian is one of folk music's living legends.  A prolific songwriter, she is known for her warm, intimate live shows.  

Janis Ian also recently won a Grammy for narration of the audio book of her autobiography, Society's Child, in a category up against Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama.  It is this kind of exciting exchange that she will bring to UIS on Saturday evening for a beautifully intimate Studio Theatre audience.  Check our website for ticking information.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A lovely evening with the Good Lovelies

A time or two a year, I get the opportunity to travel on behalf of the Auditorium and attend conference events.  Sometimes these conferences permit me the opportunity to preview artists and events that we might be able to bring to UIS.  On a couple of different occasions, I have been able to see The Good Lovelies.  Most recently, just this past January, I whipped my iPhone out to capture a few seconds of their lovely harmonies on "The Chipmunk Song", which you can be sure is something of a departure from their usual fare of song choices.

Each time I've listened to their music, in recordings, but especially live, I get fascinated with those harmonies and the upbeat peacefulness of their folk style.  I think it's impossible to not feel good after just a few minutes of that sound!  The musical group is aptly named, not because they are physically lovely (make no mistake - they are all unfailingly cute), but because the whole experience, onstage banter and all, is positively...lovely!  

And now they're coming to UIS.  They're the next event on the intimate and eclectic UIS Kitchen Sink series.  Join us this Saturday at 8 p.m. for those fantastic harmonies and the charming instrument-swapping event that is The Good Lovelies.  Click her for more information and to purchase tickets.

See you there.