Out and About

A preview of the upcoming weekend's arts activities in Central Illinois with your hosts, Peoria Public Radio's Nathan Irwin and Jennifer Gordon of Arts Partners of Central Illinois.

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Nathan Irwin and Suzette Boulais talk with Roberta Koch about "Seasonings," a multi-media presentation at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. A group of actors will read from essays and columns by Jerry Klein, longtime columnist for the Peoria Journal-Star. The essays, which reflect on the changing seasons in Central Illinois, will be accompanied by local photographs by Joe Couri. "Seasonings" will be performed Sunday, February 9th at 2:00 p.m. in the Giant Screen Theatre.

Randy Witte

This week, we're talking with Randy Witte about "The Monkey Project," a multi-year effort to collect drawings, paintings and sketches of monkeys. Participants have included celebrities like Betty White and Jack Black; artists and filmmakers; and notable Peoria residents. An exhibit at the Contemporary Art Center features 30 works drawn from his collection of more than 900. It runs through February 7th.

Corn Stock Theatre

This week, we're talking with Cindy Hoey, manager of Corn Stock Theatre.  Their latest production, "A Piece of My Heart," recounts the stories of six women during the Vietnam War. Hoey talks about the cast director Amy Williams has assembled for the production, about the play's resonance at a time when more women are involved in and affected by wartime service, and about the theatre's desire to stage a production with multiple strong roles for women. "A Piece of My Heart" opens Friday night, and continues through January 26th.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, talks about the orchestra's upcoming concert, "Vienna to Broadway," which traces the musical evolution from Viennese waltzes and light opera to the Broadway stage. The concert features a return performance from vocalist Doug LaBrecque, and newcomer Lisa Vroman. It begins Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington.

Peoria Riverfront Museum

Sam Gappmayer is the new President and CEO of the Peoria Riverfront Museum. He talks about his plans for the museum: He hopes to make it more "nimble," to pursue programming that reflects the region and be  open to collaboration with partners across the community. He also talks about one of the Museum's current exhibits.

Peoria Area Civic Chorale

This week, we're talking with Mark Grizzard, Music Director of the Peoria Area Civic Chorale. They're presenting their annual holiday concert, "An American Family Christmas," with performances Friday and Saturday at 7:30, and Sunday at 2:30, at Five Points Washington. This is Grizzard's first season with the Chorale, and he talks about bringing his own touch to the group's signature concert. Grizzard also contributed two original arrangements to the program.

Peoria Ballet

The Peoria Ballet presents its annual production of "The Nutcracker" this weekend, with three performances at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre. The Ballet's Tamra Challacombe explains what makes "The Nutcracker" a good introduction to the art form. She also talks about what a live orchestra adds to the experience, and about some of the guest artists featured in the production this year.

Eureka College

Joseph Henry directs the Eureka College Chamber Singers in their 25th annual Christmas Renaissance Dinner this weekend. Henry talks about the program, and how it differs from other madrigal dinners in the region. The event features a new script written each year, and period music selected to tell the story of the Nativity. Performances begin at 6:00 Saturday and Sunday at the Cerf Center at Eureka College.

Illinois Central College

We're talking with Loyd Kirby, from the Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center. They're presenting Chicago-based comedy troupe The Second City, with their "Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue." It's The Second City's third appearance at ICC in the last several years. The performance features improv and sketch comedy based on familiar holiday situations. The performance is Saturday night at 7:30 at the ICC Performing Arts Center in East Peoria.

photo: Bradley University Department of Music

This week, we're talking with John Jost, conductor of the Bradley Community Chorus. Their fall concert, with the Bradley Symphony Orchestra, presents settings of the "Te Deum."  Jost talks about the celebratory nature of the text has inspired many composers to "pull out all the stops," and about how the chorus and orchestra practice separately for most of the rehearsal process. The concert will be presented Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria.

This week, we're talking with Blake Stubbs, from Corn Stock Theatre. He's one of three directors in their upcoming production, "Relatively Speaking," a set of three one-act plays. He talks about the "act" he's directing, about collaborating with the other two directors and about what he's learned as a first-time director. "Relatively Speaking" runs next weekend, with performances Thursday through Sunday at the Winter Playhouse.

The Peoria Symphony Orchestra presents its latest concert, "Allure of Paris," tomorrow night at Grace Presbyetrian Church in Peoria. We're talking with Music Director George Stelluto about some of the works on the program, including a Mozart symphony and a Viola Concerto by Gösta Nystroem, a Swedish composer who lived and studied in Paris.

This week, we're talking with Chip Joyce. He's directing "The Graduate," which opens tonight at the Corn Stock Winter Playhouse. He talks about directing his first non-musical, why he likes this particular script, and why he thinks the story will resonate with multiple generations.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, conductor of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, and violist Max Mandel who featured in the HFO's upcoming concert. They talk about some of the works on the program, which includes Carl Stamitz's Viola Concerto; and about the differences between playing with full orchestras, chamber orchestras and smaller ensembles. The Heartland Festival Orchestra performs Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington.

This week, we're talking with Jared Bartman about his new album "Misery Makes Strange Bedfellows." It's being released in conjunction with a concert on Thursday, October 31st at the Apollo Theatre, which also features performances by John Vanderslice and Samantha Crain. We listen to a few tracks from the new album, and talk a little about Bartman's upcoming tour of the East Coast.

This week, we're talking with Brian "Fox" Ellis. The annual Springdale Cemetery Tours continue this weekend. Ellis and others will portray notable residents of Peoria who are buried at the cemetery. This year, they will be re-visiting several figures they've portrayed over the last ten years. The tours continue Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.

This week, we're talking with Jim Babrowski, from Peoria Players Theatre's production of Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park." The play depicts a pair of mismatched newlyweds and their different expectations for married life. He also talks about other productions coming up in Players' 2013-14 season. "Barefoot in the Park" opens tonight and continues through October 13th at Peoria Players Theatre.

The Peoria Symphony Orchestra opens its 2013-14 season with a concert Saturday night. We talk with PSO Music Director George Stelluto, and with soloist Olga Kern. They talk about the works on the program, and about the the connections between "high" classical music and "pop" culture. Kern also talks about how winning  the Van Cliburn competition in 2001 affected her career path.

Sarah Scott

On this week's installment of Out and About we speak with Jennifer Lee, Special Events Coordinator for the city of East Peoria. The city is hosting the "Cars 'n Art" Vintage Art Fair and Classic Car Cruise-In in the Levee District. Lee tells us what to expect during tomorrow's art fair and car show, and gives directions for anyone interested in showing off their pride and joy.

The vintage art fair runs from 12 until 7, and the cruise-in runs from 3 until 7 along Washington Street.

Sarah Scott

On this week's installment of Out and About we speak with Jennifer Lee, Special Events Coordinator for the city of East Peoria. The city is hosting the "Cars 'n Art" Vintage Art Fair and Classic Car Cruise-In in the

Levee District. Lee tells us what to expect during tomorrow's art fair and car show, and gives directions for anyone interested in showing off their pride and joy.

The vintage art fair runs from 12 until 7, and the cruise-in runs from 3 until 7 along Washington Street.

This week, we're talking with the Peoria Art Guild's Beth Reusch. The 51st Annual Fine Art Fair runs September 28th and 29th on the Peoria Riverfront. The fair features the work of 150 artists, selected from a pool of 600 applicants. Reusch talks about one of the artists appearing for the first time this year--he's coming all the way from Israel--about some of the interactive art experiences the fair offers, and about all of work that goes into organizing the event each year.

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. Their new season opens this weekend with a concert, "Very Mozart." It features Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony, the Flute and Harp Concerto, and a set of Ancient Airs and Dances by Ottorino Respighi. Commanday talks about some of the pieces on the program, the soloists featured in this concert, and the distinctove appeal of Mozart. The concert is Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington

Charlie Brown is playing Jean Valjean in Peoria Players Theatre's upcoming production of "Les Miserables." He talks his own interest in the long-running musical, the specific story arc of his character, and how he's approached the character. "Les Miserables" runs September 6th through the 15th.

Nate Downs joins us to talk about Corn Stock Theatre's production of "Company." A fan of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, Downs says this was one of his "bucket list" shows. Through the stories of perennial bachelor Bobby, his girlfriends and his married friends, the show presents multiple takes on love, marriage and relationships. "Company" runs August 23rd through 31st at Corn Stock Theatre in Peoria.

This week, we're talking with Lee Wenger, organizer of the concert Peoria Public Radio's Concert in the Park. He talks about how the event was first developed last year to replace the station's annual record sale. Like last year's concert, this year's event features a variety of musical entertainers -- cast members from musical theatre productions, two choirs, vocalists and instrumentalists. The concert is Friday night at 7:00 at the Glen Oak Amphitheatre. Gates open at 6:00.

This week, we're talking with Eric Mills, from the Fogelberg Foundation of Peoria. Their annual Dan Fogelberg Celebration Weekend is August 30th and 31st (Labor Day Weekend). It features a Friday night concert of acoustic musicians paying tribute to Dan Fogelberg. Saturday night's concert features The Don Campbell Band. Eric talks about both concerts, and about the nationwide "Fogelberg family" that the event brings to Peoria each year.

This week, we're talking with Bryan Blanks. He's directing Corn Stock Theatre's production of "The Wiz." It's the first time this show has been staged at the Corn Stock Tent. Blanks talks about his own history with the show, what he looked for in casting his production, and about the work he did ahead of time to ensure a strong turnout at auditions.

This week, we're talking with Jimmy Ulrich about Peoria Players' upcoming youth production of "All Shook Up." The "jukebox" musical features music made famous by Elvis Presley, and a story about a small Midwestern town, thrown into disarray by the arrival of a motorcycle-riding drifter. Ulrich says the music -- along with the fact  that it's a newer musical --  makes the show a treat for both the performers and the audience. "All Shook Up" runs August 7th through the 11th at Peoria Players Theatre.

This week, we're talking with photographer Scott Cavanah. He and Matt Buedel are the creators of the exhibit "Every Other." Over the course of a year, the two took turns creating photographs based on a theme suggested by the other. The resulting photos are now collected in the exhibit. "Every Other" is on display through July 30th at the Peoria Public Library Main Branch. A reception with the artists is Saturday morning from 10:00 to noon.

OutThis week, we're talking with Erin Craig. She plays Reno Sweeney in Corn Stock Theatre's upcoming  production of "Anything Goes." The show features a treasure-trove of Cole Porter music and a heavy dose of tap-dancing. "Anything Goes" opens tonight, and runs through July 20th under the tent at Upper Bradley Park.

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