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URBANA – Tamra Gingold's violin is at her shoulder, and she's playing skillfully as two high schoolers follow along, watching her lead as they keep the rhythm on their own violins.
Gingold's violin – inherited from her grandfather – is named Dvorak, after her favorite composer, and the moment itself feels a little classical, a little like a Hallmark card of a perfect teaching moment.
Except Gingold is playing "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix, the music rocking off the walls of her little office at Urbana High School.
When you're a student of Gingold's, playing a string instrument can mean learning classical music – sophomore Laura Orozco's favorite – or it can mean playing the latest Alicia Keys song, as freshman Kamiya Gable practiced on Tuesday. Even hip-hop is in the Gingold violin vocabulary.
"She likes to open our minds up to a lot of different kinds of music," Orozco said.
"She brings fun to it. It's not just boring and strict," Gable said. "She has a creative mind, and that's what I love. ... She's one of the teachers who's there to help. She wants you to get better."
Perhaps that's why Urbana's string program has grown in leaps and bows ... er, bounds. In fifth grade alone, about 75 students are taking lessons during school, Gingold said.
MONTICELLO – It was the end of the 1964 school year, and a couple of Monticello 13-year-olds, Georgia Cooper and Leslie Munster, had been flirting in the hallways for months.
She'd tease her 6-foot-tall future beau by calling him "Tiny." He'd call her "Princess" and "Bright Eyes."
Nearly 200 dancers from Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Iowa are expected at the 20th annual Dancing Illini Intercollegiate Dance Competition on Saturday at the Illini Union in Urbana.
Students from Indiana University, Iowa State University, Knox College, Notre Dame University, Purdue University, the University of Missouri, Valparaiso University and the University of Illinois will face off in the all-day ballroom, Latin and nightclub dance competition.
CHAMPAIGN – The legendary Harlem Globetrotters will bring their 2009 "Spinning the Globe" world tour to the University of Illinois Assembly Hall on Jan. 9, 2009.
Tickets are on sale now. They are $55, $27, $23 and $16, with a $5 discount for UI students and a $7 discount on each ticket for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available at the Assembly Hall Box Office, Ticket Central in the Illini Union and all Ticketmaster locations or Ticketmaster.com. Call Rose Munds at 333-5404 for information on group discounts.
Nearly eight of 10 Americans will participate in at least one Halloween activity, and the top two are giving out candy to trick-or-treaters and eating it.
That report comes from the NPD Group, a market research company based in Chicago. Its Halloween Holiday Profile Report tells us:
– Candy has a nearly exclusive hold on the type of treat handed out.
– 82 percent of givers hand out mini or bite-sized candy bars; 45 percent give multiple types of treats.
– Only 20 percent of people let trick-or treaters pick out their own treat from what is being offered.
– More than 40 percent shop for treats within days of the holiday. About 25 percent run out of treats. Those who run out respond by turning off the porch light, buying more, handing out other snacks on hand, giving out coins and giving away treats their kids have collected.
BEMENT – At Bement High School, helping the community isn't only academic.
All students take part in the school's service learning program, a requirement for graduation. Starting with the Class of 2010, each student must do at least 10 service hours, completing some each year. Students choose their project; however, helping family members or doing paid work don't count.
WESTVILLE – The Westville High School arts department will present the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Cinderella" at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 and 3 p.m. Nov. 9 in the Old Gym at the high school, 918 N. State St.
Tickets are available at the high school office or by calling Teresa Ross at 267-2183, ext. 471.
Teen REACH of Vermilion is seeking youths, ages 8 to 17, for its after-school program.
The Teen REACH program expands the range of choices and opportunities to empower and encourage young people to achieve positive growth and development, improve expectations and possibilities for future success and avoid or reduce risk-taking behavior.
URBANA – The Illini Union Board will present three performances of the musical "Jekyll & Hyde," at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, at Foellinger Auditorium on the south end of the University of Illinois Quadrangle.
A costume contest will take place at the performance Friday evening, which is Halloween. Anyone arriving in costume will receive $1 off his or her ticket purchased at the door, as well as be entered in a costume contest with the chance to win a prize at intermission.
CHAMPAIGN – Garry Harrison and the New Mules, who specialize in the traditional music of Illinois, will offer fiddle and banjo and clogging workshops on Saturday at Techline and the Phillips Recreation Center.
The day will end with a concert at 8 p.m. at Techline, 24 E. Green St., C.