Anthony Zilis

Anthony Zilis

Student turned pit director puts music to Central-Centennial production of 'Shrek'

CHAMPAIGN — Normally, Patrick Duncker's gaze is directed away from the stage during Champaign Central's musicals. The all-state oboe player rarely misses a show as a member of the pit, which faces the audience.

But Central and Centennial's collaboration of "Shrek" this week didn't call for an oboe player. So instead, the Maroons' marching band drum major took the next logical step.

Murphysboro prepping for Trump's quick visit Saturday

MURPHYSBORO — The small southern Illinois town of Murphysboro is best known for two things: the reported sighting of a massive, light-haired creature covered in mud, dubbed the Big Muddy Monster — and barbecue.

Each year, thousands flock to the Big Muddy Brewfest, and brisket and rib lovers from across the country are known to head to 17th Street Barbecue.

Lyric Theatre's 'La Boheme' sets things in motion

URBANA — The story of "La Boheme" revolves around four Bohemian artists.

But in the telling of the story of the Italian opera at Krannert Center, mechanics are heavily involved. Three motors power the automated sets, which move on and off the stage while the curtain is up and the audience watches a choreographed movement of actors and backdrops.

Airfields a boon for small towns, yet keeping them open can be a struggle

Cars line several rows of the parking lot at the former Chanute Air Force Base on a windy Wednesday, but only a few of them are there for the airport.

Across the way, old, decrepit military aircraft sit outside the deserted museum on the Air Force's campus, soon to be disposed of.

Luke Bryan yearns for 'heart-of-the-heartland type of feeling' in Pesotum

PESOTUM — By the time Luke Bryan goes on stage Friday in the middle of a farm field in Pesotum, there might be a bit of a nip in the air.

And for the Georgia native, that's part of what makes traveling to Midwest farms during his Farm Tour special after taking a few years off from the region.

It takes a village: Tiny Pesotum preparing for concert's huge influx

Around 15 percent of the population of Pesotum packed into a little room in the small town's village hall, exhausting the building's supply of chairs.

This Friday, an expected crowd of more than 10,000 people will flow through the village of about 550 and head to a patch of grass just outside of town for Luke Bryan's Farm Tour stop.

Trial and airwaves: Behind the scenes of an Illini radio broadcast

CHICAGO — Jason Davis was so close to Darnell Salomon that he could almost feel the wind from the South Florida receiver as he blew by the entire Illinois defensive backfield and sprinted into the Soldier Field end zone to score the go-ahead touchdown late in the Week 3 contest against Illinois.

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The Champaign Central football team trickled into Tommy Stewart Fieldhouse at McKinley Field three Saturdays ago, hours before the sun rose to the smell of breakfast burritos.

Though Miss Illinois didn't make the cut, 'she did a wonderful job'

Centennial graduate Grace Khachaturian didn't make the cut at Sunday's Miss America contest in Atlantic City, N.J.

After preliminaries, which lasted throughout the last week, the 51 contestants were cut to 15 at the outset of the 8 p.m. show, and Miss Illinois' name wasn't called.

Dr. Howard offers one last learning opportunity for Champaign firefighters

CHAMPAIGN — Firefighters bashed open a glass window on the second floor of Dr. Howard Elementary School on Wednesday, and a substance that looked like smoke billowed out.

Their comrades charged into the basement with a hose, toward the smoky film that filled a back room.

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