Out and About

Corn Stock Theatre

This week, we're talking about "Of Mice and Men" with director Paul Gordon, and actor Chris Peterlin. The production opens Friday, February 12th at the Corn Stock Winter Playhouse. Gordon, who describes himself as a fan of author John Steinbeck, says he eagerly accepted the opportunity to direct this play. Peterlin , who plays Lennie in the show, is returning to community theatre after a long absence for this production. He talks about how he approached the challenging role.

Peoria Riverfront Museum

Kristan McKinsey from the Peoria Riverfront Museum joins us to talk about the exhibit, "Stitched for Pleasure and Purpose: Quilts and Samplers." The quilts are drawn from the museum's permanent collection, and span the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We talk about the history of quilting in America, and its functions -- both practical and social.

"Stitched for Pleasure and Purpose" continues through March 20th at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Contemporary Art Center

This week, we're talking with the Contemporary Art Center's William Butler, and with artist Larry Jon Davis. Davis is one of two artists featured in the exhibit "Inspired by Nature." Davis' works have been described as "earthscapes" -- abstract, impressionistic images inspired by the natural world. In this exhibit, his work is paired with sculptures by Dwight Crane. Butler talks about the process of selecting artists in the CAC's exhibits, and finding the best way to display their work in the Center's gallery space.

The Penguin Project

This week, we're talking with Andrew Morgan, from The Penguin Project. He's directing their 2016 production, "Singin' in the Rain, Jr." The Penguin Project aims to provide opportunities for children with special needs to participate in the performing arts. It's now expanded, with a program for older performers at Illinois Central College, and similar productions around the country. Morgan talks about those developments, and about the unique mission of The Penguin Project.

Performances are Friday night through Sunday afternoon at Eastlight Theatre in East Peoria High School.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, Music Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. The HFO kicks off the new year with a concert called "New Year's Greeting - Broadway Rhythm." Broadway performers Bev and Kirby Ward will be featured in selections from the Great American Songbook. We talk about the repertoire in the concert, the parallels between American musical theatre and Viennese waltzes, and about the orchestra's community partners -- Crittendon Centers.

The concert is Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington.

Peoria Area Civic Chorale

This week, we're talking with Dr. Joseph Henry, conductor of the Peoria Area Civic Chorale. They're presenting their holiday concert, "An American Family Christmas" this weekend at Five Points Washington. We talk about the Chorale's repertoire of sacred and secular works -- including John Rutter's "Gloria." We also talk about the history and development of the concert, the rehearsal process, and Henry's recent return to PACC after a few years' sabbatical.

Performances are tonight, tomorrow night, and Sunday afternoon.

Central Illinois Ballet

This week, we're talking with Richard Smith and Brett Benedict of the Central Illinois Ballet. The company is in its debut season, and they're presenting two performances of the holiday classic, "The Nutcracker." We talk a little bit about the new company, and about finding a distinctive "take" on a work that's performed so often. We also ask how dancers feel about performing "The Nutcracker" so frequently.

Performances are Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the ICC Performing Arts Center in East Peoria.

This week, we're talking with Shawn Degenhart, from GospelFest Ministries. They're presenting a holiday concert, "Christmas in the Country." Degenhart talks about gospel music as a genre, how it differs from other choral traditions, and some of the works in the program. He also talks about being able to make the concert free of charge for the first time this year. The performance is Saturday night at 7:00 at Five Points Washington.

We're joined this week by John Jost, conductor of the Bradley Community Chorus, and Bradley Symphony Orchestra conductor Tim Semanik. They're both conducting this weekend's concert, which features Mozart's "Mass in C" and Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Dona Nobis Pacem." They talk about the contrasting moods of the two selections -- the Mozart is a boisterous, joyful work; the Vaughan Williams is more solemn. They also talk a little about the process of rehearsing the two ensembles separately, before joining them in the final few rehearsals.

Kristan McKinsey is our guest this week, talking about the exhibit, "Making Their Mark: Illinois Women Artists, 1940-1960" at the Peoria Riverfront Musuem. We talk about the significance of that era in women's history, about the work of the featured artists, and teh legacy they left for the artists who followed in their footsteps. The exhibit runs through January 17th.

This week, we're talking with Scott Kanoff, from the Bradley Theatre Department, about their production of "High Fidelity." The musical is an adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel (and the subsequent film), and features a score that draws inspiration from several decades of rock and pop music. Kanoff talks about some of the music featured in the show. He also talks about introducing his students -- raised in a world of iTunes and Spotify -- to vinyl LPs.

Performances of "High Fidelity" continue Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon at the Hartmann Center on the Bradley campus.

This week, we're with Artistic Director David Commanday, and soloist Michael Brown, talking about Saturday's concert with the Heartland Festival Orchestra, which features an all-Beethoven program. They share a few thoughts about some of the works on the program -- including the Piano Concerto no. 3 and the Seventh Symphony, about how they approach Beethoven's compositions, and about the composer's distinctive style.

George Stelluto, Music Director of the Peoria Symphony, is with us this week to talk about the orchestra's upcoming concert. It features a performance by Tony and Grammy Award winner Audra McDonald. Stelluto talks about the logistics of finding artists for the PSO's World Artist series, about the repertoire that will be featured on the program, and about McDonald's unique artistry. The concert is Saturday night at 8:00 at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre.

Springdale Cemetery

On this first weekend of autumn, Nathan and Jenn invite Charles Brown into the studio for a preview of the upcoming historic Springdale Cemetery tours. Brown, a performer with Prairie Folklore Theatre , says this year's tour will focus on the contributions of Peoria's Jewish families. 


We're talking with Cathi Hawkinson about the Peoria Art Guild's Fine Art Fair. The annual event returns to the Peoria Riverfront Saturday and Sunday, with 150 participating artists. We talk about the reach of the event, which now draws artists from 25 different states, and two from outside the U. S. We also talk about some of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into organizing the fair each year, and about the event's economic impact on the Peoria area.

The Fine Art Fair runs Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.

This week, we're talking with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra's George Stelluto, and with violinist Charles Yang, who performs with the PSO in their upcoming concert. They talk about some of the pieces on the program, which includes music from John Corigliano's "The Red Violin" and a piece by Edward Jospeh Collins inspired by Mardi Gras. They also talk about some of Yang's appearances and activities, in conjunction with the PSO's Resident Artist Week initiative.

The concert will be presented Saturday night at 8:00 at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre.

This week, we're talking with Jack Mertes, author of the new play, "The Springfield Experiment." It explores a chapter in the life of Mary Todd Lincoln, who had been committed to an asylum and sought to regain both her autonomy and control of her finances. Mertes talks about about why he chose this particular moment in Lincoln's life to dramatize, about the long process that led to this production, and what he hopes audiences will learn about Mary Todd Lincoln. The play will be presented Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 at the Inspired Arts Academy in Morton.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

David Commanday, Music Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, is with us to talk about the orchestra's concert on Saturday. The performance features return appearances by Nick Cannelakis and Elena Urioste, who team up to perform the Brahms Double Concerto. We talk about the soloists, the Double Concerto itself , and the orchestra's featured community partner for this concert.

John Martin is with us, to talk about about Erin Feis. The annual Irish festival is back, and runs Friday through Sunday along the Peoria Riverfront. He says that music is the highlight of the event, and talks about about the work that goes into finding all the featured performers, and scheduling them among multiple performance stages. He also talks about some of the festival's cultural programming.

Corn Stock Theatre

This week, we talk Molly Burroughs and Sharon Reed, the co-directors of the musical "The Color Purple" at Corn Stock Theatre. The musical is an adaptation of the novel and motion picture. They talk about why they chose this production in particular, and what they saw in its story and its music. The show features an entirely African-American cast and a racially diverse crew - things they think are important in local community theatre.

Fogelberg Foundation of Peoria

This week, we're talking about the 6th Annual Dan Fogelberg Celebration Weekend, with Hugh Higgins. The event grew out of a beneift concert, organized to pay for a memorial to Fogelberg on the Peoria Riverfront. It's grown into an annual event that attracts "Dan Fans" from around the world. The highlight of the event is a tribute concert, taking place Friday night at the Gateway Building. Other activities continue through Sunday. We also talk about some of the charitable work supported by the proceeds from the celebration weekend.

Lizz Barnes / Ear in the Envelope

This week, we're talking with Lizz Barnes, from Ear in the Envelope Studios in Peoria. She's one of the artists participating in Ignite! Peoria on Saturday. Attendees will be able to visit her table in the Creation Station and try their hand at metal-stamping. She talks about the history behind her studio, which has become a venue for showcasing local artists and performers. She talks about last year's Ignite event, and its importance to local artists and creators.

This week, we're talking with Bob Streitmatter, manager of the Luthy Botanical Garden. They're hosting their annual "Rhapsody in Bloom" art festival on August 1st and 2nd. The events features local artists exhibiting their work, live music and food, all in the setting of the venue's outdoor gardens. Streitmatter talks about the origin of the event, and some of the plants in the Garden's collection.

We're talking with Kaci Osborne and Megan Pedigo about Ignite! Peoria. The event returns to the Peoria Civic Center on Saturday, August 8th. The event features individual artists, a Creation Station, fashion and a car show. We talk about some of the elements that will be new for this year's event, and about what the organizers want it to achieve - both for the artists and for the Peoria community.

Corn Stock Theatre

We're joined this week by Bart Shatto. The actor and Peoria native is back in town to appear as Archibald Craven in Corn Stock Theatre's production of "The Secret Garden." The show reunites him with director Pam Orear, who gave Shatto his first role back in the 1980s. Since then, Shatto has gone on to perform on Broadway, and with several national touring productions. "The Secret Garden" opens tonight, and runs through July 18th, at Corn Stock Theatre.

For the kid inside everyone, the Peoria Riverfront Museum welcomes 'Dinosaurs in Motion', a traveling interactive exhibition to the area on July 11th. Ann Schmidt talks about some of the 14 dinosaur sculptures that will be on display next week at the PRM. 

Peoria Symphony Orchestra

George Stelluto, Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, talks about tonight's concert by the ensemble Quartetto Gelato. The quartet is known for its embrace of multiple musical genres -- classical, jazz, folk and world music. All of those influences will be on display in tonight's program. Stelutto talks about some of the works we can expect to hear, about the quartet's repertoire, and about the unique musical environment of Paris in in the early 20th century.

Corn Stock Theatre

Lana Warner is the co-director of "The Dixie Swim Club" at Corn Stock Theatre. The play focuses on the lives of five women, former members of the same college swimming team, who reunite each summer. Warner talks about why she chose the show, about working her cast, and about what she thinks amkes this production special.

"The Dixie Swim Club" opens tonight, and continues through June 27th at Corn Stock Theatre in Peoria's Upper Bradley Park.

Central Illinois Jazz Society

This week, we're talking with Dick Marsho from the Central Illinois Jazz Society. They're co-sponsoring the River City Jazz Festival on the Peoria Riverfront, tomorrow from noon to 10:00 p.m. Marsho talks about some of the artists and bands featured in the event, which offers a range of jazz styles. He also talks about the Society's monthly events at the Landmark Recreation Center, which spotlight local jazz musicians; and about a series of Thursday-night jazz concerts, which run in July and August on the CEFCU Stage.

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