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Midwest Classic event showcases state's choral talent

DANVILLE – The Midwest Classic isn't an ordinary school music event. What makes it different is the nearly around-the-clock volunteer efforts.

The Danville High School choral music department will host its 14th Classic on Feb. 5-6 at the high school, 202 E. Fairchild St.

In addition to all the preparation work, every year members of the choral music department and their parents and other volunteers work from Friday afternoon to late Friday night and start again before daylight through after midnight Saturday to make the classic a success.


Rantoul Theatre Group sets auditions for two plays

RANTOUL – The Rantoul Theatre Group will have open auditions this week for its 2010 Studio Theatre performances of two one-act plays: "She's Driving Me Crazy" and "High School Reunion."

The auditions will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Grissom Hall Theatre, 914 Arends Blvd. on the former Chanute Air Base. Director Blake Quinlan seeks seven male and seven female actors, ages 13 to adult. Those who audition will read from the scripts.


A cappella concert to feature college, Unity High groups

TOLONO – The Unity Music Boosters' fifth annual a cappella concert featuring collegiate and Unity groups is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in the Unity High School auditorium.

"A Cappella V on 5" will showcase three groups from the University of Illinois: The XTension Chords, The Rip Chords and No Comment. Also appearing will be Elmhurst College's Four Feet Long. Making their debut at the concert will be Unity High's men, women and mixed groups.


Studio Visit: Ann Coddington Rast, 46, of Champaign

Q: How did you feel when you saw the photograph of your piece in The New York Times (on Jan. 10)?

A: I was really shocked and glad. I wasn't expecting it because the show was outside New York – it was in New Jersey. I was really glad the show got that much press.


Jeremy Camp concert at Assembly Hall canceled

CHAMPAIGN – The Jeremy Camp concert at the University of Illinois Assembly Hall in Champaign that had been rescheduled for April 30, 2010 has been cancelled because of routing issues. It will not be rescheduled.

Ticket refunds on paid tickets are available at the point of purchase. If you have any questions, please call the Assembly Hall Box Office at 333-5000.


Jeremy Camp concert canceled, won't be rescheduled

CHAMPAIGN – The Jeremy Camp concert at the University of Illinois Assembly Hall in Champaign that had been rescheduled for April 30, 2010 has been canceled because of routing issues. It will not be rescheduled.

Ticket refunds on paid tickets are available at the point of purchase. If you have any questions, please call the Assembly Hall Box Office at 333-5000.


Christian rockers tobyMac, Skillet to play C-U

CHAMPAIGN – TobyMac and Skillet are coming to the University of Illinois Assembly Hall in March.

The show is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 11. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday. They're available at the Assembly Hall box office, ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at 333-5000.


Group's planned benefit will aid local food bank, Haiti

CHAMPAIGN – If you've ever fantasized about making an attorney pay, you have a chance Wednesday.

The Young Attorneys of Champaign County have organized a benefit to raise money for relief efforts in Haiti along with donations to the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.


UI researchers use gamers' brains to analyze learning

URBANA – Maybe practice makes perfect when it comes to baking a loaf of bread. But it's your brain size that counts a lot when it comes to scoring high on a video game, researchers have found.

A study conducted at the University of Illinois looked at MRI brain scans of men and women trained on "Space Fortress," an approximately 30-year-old video game developed at the UI, and discovered that how well gamers performed could be predicted by the size of certain regions of their brains.


Manzella's marks 50 years of keeping food in family

CHAMPAIGN – The kids have been dropped off at their schools, the pizza dough is rising in the kitchen and there are three hours yet before customers start coming through the doors.

As it does for many, the Manzellas' day begins over cups of hot coffee.

Joe and Nickie Manzella, John and Cindy Manzella, Mary Manzella, and sometimes Frank and his wife, Ellen, gather around the tables or booths of their Italian restaurant.


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