Ask 'Mimi' June 22, 2014
Kevin Kelly mentioned on air this past week that this was his final week at WILL-FM. What's up?
On June 30, Kelly will move to Elgin, where his wife landed a job. He and Ayano Sakai, a Japanese-born scientist, married in September. "We met on the tennis court," Kelly told me.
The loss will be felt: Besides working at WILL, Kelly founded and directs The Prairie Ensemble, a chamber orchestra, and conducts the East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra. He just finished his 21st season with the youth group; he will continue to lead it.
But The Prairie Ensemble will disband — its July 19 concert is its last. To help cover it and other costs, a cabaret will take place July 2 at the home of Geoff and Ann Poor. (Look for details in a music roundup on G-4.)
Other notable Kelly gigs: For 17 years, he was choirmaster at Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church, Champaign; for three years, he directed the Illini Statesmen Barbershop Chorus. Also, he was the orchestra or music director for numerous Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company productions.
An 18-year employee of WILL, he hosted classical music the first 121/2 years before producing and hosting "Live and Local," now on hiatus, to be filled by Afternoon Classics music. WILL intends to reinstate a local arts program and hire a successor to Kelly.
I heard improv-theater artist Matt Fear is leaving town, too. Is that true?
Yes, he says on Facebook he's bidding farewell to move to Boston. To celebrate his birthday and his last days here, he will host a party starting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mike N Molly's in Champaign. Admission is $5. The lineup: The Abe Froman Project at 7 p.m.; A Going Away Roast of Fear Matt Fear, 8 p.m.; and performances by local theater and music artists, 9 p.m. After midnight, the party will continue with tunes spun by Mike Ingram.
Fear has been active with CUTC.
Is the Champaign Park District introducing a new festival this summer?
Yes, indeed — the Mariposa Music Festival on July 12 in downtown Champaign. The district is calling it a signature event; it will feature national as well as local acts on two stages, from 6 p.m. to midnight.
The headliner: Braid, an emo rock group that originated in Champaign and will release, just days before Mariposa, its first album in 16 years. Another big act: Cornmeal, a roots band. The other acts: Phox, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Moonrise Nation, Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound, Common Loon and The Curses. The event is free.