That's Entertainment: Spotlighting events around the area

That's Entertainment: Spotlighting events around the area

Music scene

Moultrie-Douglas County Fair acts

Wayne "The Train" Hancock, known as the king of juke joint swing, will play a free concert from 9 p.m. to midnight Friday at the beer tent at the 86th Moultrie-Douglas County Fair.

Hancock, who made his debut with "Thunderstorms and Neon Signs" in 1995, performs a mix of honky-tonk, Western swing, blues, Texas rockabilly and big band. He's a national touring act who is played daily on Sirius XM Radio's Outlaw Country channel.

An writer wrote: "Hancock, who tosses out a roots mix of old country, roadhouse blues, Western dance swing, boogie bop and straight-up rockabilly, takes what was once old and makes it seem like it's always been and always will be."

And according to Slug magazine: "The country music scene could do with a lot more characters like Wayne, who push the music's limits while staying truer to its roots than any well-known names associated with the genre today."

The fair runs from today through Saturday at the fairgrounds in Jurgens Park behind the high school on Illinois 133 in Arthur. Other musical entertainment at the fair:


— 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Vineyard Church Band, opening for the Carrollton Band, a Christian rock group from Louisville, Ky. The Wednesday gospel night is free.

— 7 p.m. Friday, Confederate Railroad, a country/Southern rock band founded in 1987 in Marietta, Ga. General admission: $15

— 7 p.m. Saturday, Aaron Tippin, an American country music artist and record producer. He was a songwriter for Acuff-Rose Music who landed a recording contract in 1990 with RCA Nashville. General admission: $15

Beer tent (free):

— 9 p.m. Thursday, Melvin JR Band, a country rock group from Sullivan.

— 9 p.m. Friday, Wayne "the Train" Hancock.

— 9 p.m. Saturday, Matt Poss Band, an Effingham group that mixes elements of country, bluegrass, rock and blues.

Sugar Creek Opera performance

Now in its 14th season, Sugar Creek Opera will present on Saturday "The Grapes of Wrath" by Ricky Ian Gordon, with a cast of professional opera singers backed by musicians from throughout Illinois.

The opera, to be sung and spoken in English and based on the novel by John Steinbeck, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in Clifton Central High School's Jean and Harold Miner Auditorium. The director and producer is Helen Todd, a soprano and co-founder of Sugar Creek Opera.

Returning to Sugar Creek Opera and starring as the family matriarch, Ma Joad, is Julie Miller. John Allen Nelson takes on the role of Pa Joad, a poor tenant farmer.

Tom Joad, their son, is played by Cairan Ryan. The Joad's daughter, Rosasharn, is played by Jessica Jane Jacobs, another returning graduate of Sugar Creek Opera's Danis Wilson Apprentice Program. The role of Uncle John, Pa's brother, is played by Ricardo Rivera.

Unique to the production: Historical photographs of Iroquois County farms and other sites will be projected during the performance and will be on display in the lobby.

Tickets are $20 for students ages 5 to 18 and $25 for college students. Tickets for adults range from $40 to $75. Tickets may be purchased at or by calling the Sugar Creek Opera Box Office at 815-432-3830.

The non-profit Sugar Creek Opera, based in Watseka, is the only professional opera company outside Chicago.

Gospel quartet visiting Danville

The Southern gospel Tribute Quartet, based in Hendersonville, Tenn., will make their first appearance in central Illinois, performing at 6 p.m. Saturday at CrossRoads Christian Church, 3613 N. Vermilion St., Danville.

Over the past seven years, the male quartet has become nationally known, performing throughout the U.S. as well as several other countries. The group has received several industry awards.

General admission is $15, and VIP tickets are $20 in advance. Children 9 and younger are admitted free in the general admission section. Kids 10 to 16 years old are $5 for the general admission section. Tickets at the door will be $16 general admission and $22 for VIP.

For advance tickets, contact Les Schluter at 841-3132.

Jazz festival fundraiser

Ragtime pianist Faye Ballard of Champaign and the Champaign-Urbana based Prairie Dogs will perform at the Juvae Jazz Society's 2016 Mini Jazz Fest next Sunday at the Decatur Conference Center & Hotel, 4191 U.S. 36 W.

The event from 2 to 7 p.m. also will feature live music by Michael Scherer, Kristin Moore, Zach Garrett and The Barb City Stompers. The event is a fundraiser for the Central Illinois Jazz Festival on Feb. 10-12.

Tickets for the July 17 event are $35 and include a buffet. For more information, call Phyllis at 877-4527 or Sandie at 546-1363. For more on the society, visit

UI grad to play at Iron Post

Pianist Lara Driscoll, a graduate of the UI Jazz Studies program, will return here to perform at 8 p.m. Thursday at The Iron Post with UI music faculty members Larry Gray on bass and Joel Spencer on drums.

Driscoll, also a composer, moved to Chicago after completing her master's degree in jazz performance at McGill University in Montreal, where she performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, recorded an album of her original trio compositions and taught at McGill as a lecturer of jazz piano, theory and history.

She's now on the music faculty at Harold Washington College (Chicago City College) and Loyola University Chicago, where she teaches courses in piano, jazz, world music and humanities.

Shakespeare in Bloomington

Baritone saxophonist Glenn Wilson, a former UI adjunct professor of music, will perform with other jazz musicians, some from Champaign-Urbana, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Friday through Aug. 15 at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival in Bloomington.

The concerts are in the Ewing Manor courtyard. People are welcome to bring their own picnics or purchase food from food trucks there. All of the concerts are free and open to the public. Tickets to the Shakespeare Festival plays are not required for the jazz concerts.

Art scene

Teacher's works on display

The city of Urbana invites the public to see the latest Artist of the Corridor exhibition, "Mini Masterpainters," featuring work by Judy Lee, a graphic designer and preschool art teacher.

The exhibition remains on view through Sept. 12 in the City Building, 400 S. Vine St., and at the Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green St. The opening reception will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the City Building. Refreshments will be served, and all are welcome.

After graduating from art school, Lee briefly worked as a graphic designer before becoming a preschool art teacher, where she rediscovered her love for art and stories. She is working on a picture-book series about artists, along with other creative projects.

Theater scene

Mentors sought for production

The Champaign Urbana Theatre Company is looking for mentors age 10 to 21 for its Penguin Project production of Disney's "Aladdin Jr."

The unique production brings to the stage youths with developmental disabilities with peer mentors — youths of the same age without disabilities — to work side-by-side through four months of rehearsals, leading to the show Oct. 14-16 at the Orpheum Theatre, Champaign.

All roles are filled by the youths with developmental disabilities with their peer mentors responsible for knowing everything their partner does — songs, dances, blocking, entrances and exits. All the mentors will appear on stage alongside their partners.

Rehearsals will be two times a week for 75 minutes each at the beginning and will be increased to up to two additional times a week for those with leading roles. Mentors are expected to be at each rehearsal with their partners.

There will be an informational meeting for potential mentors at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at SoDo Theatre, 111 S. Walnut St., C. For more information or to RSVP for the meeting, contact Kelly Nowlin at More information also is available at

Theater camp for young actors

Country Theatre Workshop will host a Youth Theatre Camp from Monday through Friday at its theater 2 miles north of Cissna Park on Illinois 49.

The participants will learn the basics of stage acting via improvisational games, small-group skits and monologues. There will be a short presentation for parents at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Registration is $20, payable on the first day of camp. The camp is for students entering grades five through nine this fall. The camp will be taught by Rebecca Johnson, a veteran Iroquois County educator and actress. For more information, go to

Check out tribute to Patsy Cline

The Conklin Players' next show at Five Points Washington is a revival of its 2012 sellout, "An Evening with Patsy Cline," starring Julie Seeley as Cline.

It will be presented at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. next Sunday at the Caterpillar Performing Arts Theater at Five Points Washington in Washington near Peoria.

Seeley has appeared at the Conklin Barn in the musicals "The Taffetas" and two sold-out engagements of "G.I. Jukebox."

Seeley has performed as Cline since 2003. In "An Evening with Patsy Cline," she sings the legend's hits and tells anecdotes from the star's life. Seeley will be backed by a six-piece band.

The show was conceived, written and directed by Carol Davis, a founding member and artistic director of the former Public Theatre in Peoria.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $8 for children and students through college. Reservations may be made in person at the Five Points Washington facility, 306 N. Wilmor Road, or via To order by phone, call 309-444-8222 or 309-444-8600.

History scene

Activities at Bryant Cottage

The Bryant Cottage State Historic Site will host next week its 30th annual Heritage Sunday.

Visitors are invited to gather on the cottage lawn at 4 p.m. to enjoy period music by High Cotton, a local bluegrass band. People may bring blankets or lawn chairs.

Ice cream will be served to the audience when the band takes a break. The afternoon will end with a second set from High Cotton.

The site also will show off its gardens, including a front garden with a new picket fence. Maintained by Piatt County's University of Illinois Master Gardeners, the gardens feature flowers or herbs that would have been found in Bement 150 years ago. A Master Gardener will be on site to discuss the gardens and answer questions about gardening.

Heritage Sunday festivities will be canceled in case of bad weather.

The Bryant Cottage State Historic Site, 146 E. Wilson St., is the 1856 home of early Bement businessman Francis E. Bryant, a friend of Stephen A. Douglas. Abraham Lincoln and Douglas met there to discuss their famed debates for the 1858 Senate race.

For more information, call 678-8184 or visit

Home research information

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield will present on Saturday the "My Old House" tea event featuring three courses, served in the presidential library.

Librarian Gwenith Podeschi will explain the history behind old homes and how anyone can research their own houses.

She will tell of her experiences researching her own home, built according to plans from Sears nearly 100 years ago, and explain the resources available to help dig up a home's past.

The event will begin at 12:30 p.m. and last until about 3 p.m. Tickets are $35 each and may be purchased at by clicking on "special event reservations."

Parks scene

Allerton hosting mansion tours

The Allerton Park & Retreat Center in Monticello will offer Mansion Public Tours from 1 to 5 p.m. today. The cost is $5 per person, with children 2 and younger admitted free.

The tour will include information about the history of Robert Allerton, how he created his estate and later bequeathed it to the UI.

The tours will include the first and second floors and start at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Each tour is 45 to 60 minutes and limited to 20 people.

Reservations are recommended. Call the front desk at 333-3287. Walk-ins will be welcome if space allows.

Also at Allerton Park this week: The Third Saturday Garden Tour will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday and will happen through October.

The garden tours start in the visitor center and typically last 45 to 60 minutes. All ages are welcome. No registration is required. Donations are appreciated.

For more information, contact Mindy Brand at or call 333-3287.