Jonathan Blanchard to perform in Champaign, Danville

CHAMPAIGN — As part of his Freedom's Soul annual tour, Jonathan Blanchard & Company will perform in concert Monday in Champaign and Tuesday in Danville.

The 7 p.m. concerts are Monday at Salem Baptist Church, 500 E. Park St., C, and Tuesday at the Carter Metropolitan CME Church, 448 E. Williams St., Danville. Both are free and open to the public.

Blanchard, 36, grew up in Memphis, Tenn., where he was immersed in the city's various music styles, among them ancient Afrikan Griot. A bass, his voice has been compared to those of Al Jarreau, Bobby McFerrin and Paul Robeson.

While working on a bachelor's degree in commercial music and a master's in music education at Tennessee State University, he learned to weave the various elements of his artistic nature. They include musical theater, working as an extra in movies, voice-over work and live radio shows.

Blanchard also has presented concerts, master classes and demonstrations to grade school, high school and college students. With Opera Memphis' Educational Outreach Program — Black Roots in Opera — he toured Tennessee's major metropolitan areas to help celebrate the life of Robeson.

His local appearances are sponsored by the University of Illinois Department of African American Studies. For information, call 333-7781. For more information on Blanchard, visit http://www.jonathanblanchard.com/.

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