Frank's Weekend Faves, Feb. 18, 2018

Frank's Weekend Faves, Feb. 18, 2018

With its annual observances of black history, romance and presidential birthdays, February seems like the perfect month to raise one's voice — not in anger, but in song.

And I can't think of a better celebration of just such an activity than this weekend's 12th annual All Out A Cappella Concert at the Unity High School auditorium in Tolono.

A cappella music has come a long way since your great-grandparents' favorite barbershop quartet serenaded local street corners. You need only catch one or more films in the popular "Pitch Perfect" series or the latest Pentatonix video on YouTube to realize just how far. But perhaps an even better indicator of the state of a cappella today can be enjoyed Saturday, when seven area groups converge on the Tolono school's auditorium for two performances — starting at 5 and 8 p.m.

The groups performing include No Comment, Xtension Chords, Rip Chords and The Other Guys from the University of Illinois; On the Brink of Normal from Illinois State University; Blue Harmony from Millikin University; and Surreal Sound from Unity High School.

Bonnie Woolard, co-chair of the concert, tells me that it has become downstate Illinois' largest a cappella event and this year features reserved seating, rather than general admission. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and may be ordered online at or bought at the Unity High and Junior High offices. Tickets at the door (if available) are $18 for adults and $13 for students.

The show is sponsored by Unity Music Boosters, with all proceeds going toward enhancing music in Unit 7 schools. For more information, call 217-239-9995.

Vocal music is cool, but I'm a fan of instrumental music, too — particularly when it features banjos, fiddles and guitars.

If you're like me, we're both in luck, because the Iron Post in Urbana is hosting just such a hootenanny this Friday and Saturday.

Rob Krumm of the CU Folk & Roots Festival tells me that the event is the second straight year that a Folk & Roots Winter Weekend of music is happening at the Iron Post. Friday's headline act will be the Chicago acoustic blues duo Joe Filisko on harmonica and Eric Noden on guitar, hitting the stage at 9:30 p.m.

This being their first-ever performance in Champaign-Urbana, I'm relying on Krumm, who describes them as "a rock-solid act" whose music channels Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson and Sonny Terry, and "sounds like the blues from the 1920s and '30s." Sounds good to me!

Also performing Friday will be the Backyard BBQ Band, featuring Bob Watson on steel guitar, at 5 p.m., and Sharp Dirt, featuring Kenna Mae Reiss, Liz Faermark, J.P Goguen and Charlie Ford, making its debut performance at 8 p.m. (You might remember Kenna Mae being featured in this space back in October when her band Relevator kicked off last fall's C-U Folk and Roots Festival. I caught her act then and can attest: This Urbana product has a great set of pipes and a flair for songwriting!)

On Saturday, local faves the Kilborn Alley Blues Band will headline at 10:30 p.m., following a 6 p.m. performance by the Olde Music Baroque and Renaissance Ensemble and the Bowdacious String Band, both from the Community Center for the Arts, and a 9 p.m. jam by the Hobnob String Band, featuring Cody Jensen on guitar and mandolin, Charlie Harris on bass and Dan Andree on fiddle.

Admission is $5 for the happy hour (or opening) show each day, $10 for each main event and $20 for a weekend wristband. If this event doesn't get your toes tapping, you might want to check your pulse ...

More local music this week? You bet there is! And would you believe, at an art museum?

The Krannert Art Museum will host its second Art Remastered at 7 p.m. this Friday, an event intended to "break the quietness" of its art galleries and encourage visitors to interact with the artwork through music.

Six local musicians — CJ Run, Sharon Li, Teddy Lerch, N.M. Garcia, Keegan Gulick and Olivia Tasch — will perform new music they've composed in response to a piece of art at the museum. For more on this unique collaborative event, organized by the museum's education coordinator, Kamila Glowacki, check out Paul Wood's story in On The Go this Thursday.

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Topics (2):Art, Music