Delightful children's opera emerged from terrible time

Once upon a fairy tale, two children had a sick mother who needed milk to make her healthy.

The children went to town to buy some, but could not afford it. They sang for money, but no one could hear their little voices in the crowd.

Meanwhile, an evil organ grinder named Brundibar grew jealous of the children and tried to stop them from singing. But three animals came to their rescue with a plan. They recruited all the children in the town to sing with the two siblings, defeating the organ grinder and emerging victorious.

Once upon a horror, Jewish children in the Terezin concentration camp sang "Brundibar," a children's opera about banding together to fight a bully and, allegorically, to fight the big bully: Adolf Hitler.

On April 19, the Central Illinois Children's Chorus will bring "Brundibar" to Champaign as part of Sinai Temple's service for Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, a memorial by Jews around the world for the 6 million killed in the Holocaust, said the Champaign temple's rabbi, Norman Klein.

Restaurateur to speak at Japan House's open house

URBANA – The owner of a Japanese restaurant in Milwaukee will be the featured presenter at the spring open house on Saturday of Japan House on the University of Illinois campus.

Richard Kaiser, owner of Na-nakusa, will speak about Japanese cuisine at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The open house at Japan House, 2000 S. Lincoln Ave., U, is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public.

Mattoon native traces film career to love of 'toons

Do you want to become a famous Hollywood script writer?

Then follow the advice of Mattoon native Craig Titley, who wrote the upcoming "Percy Jackson" film, along with "Scooby-Doo" and "Cheaper By The Dozen."

Titley's plan doesn't involved any deep study or heavy lifting. But you have to start young.

N-G writer's list of family-friendly films full of favorites

Up front, I have to disclose that my knowledge is based almost entirely on my own family's preferences. It's a bit heavy on Disney movies (my apologies to you Disney-haters). There are several I haven't seen that could probably be on here – "The Princess Bride" and "Akeelah and the Bee" to name two – and I could have filled half the list with Pixar favorites ("Monsters Inc.," "Cars," "The Incredibles," etc.)

But here goes:

Runners, wheelers hit the streets today in marathon events

When does it start?

7:55 a.m.: Wheelchair half marathon.

Composition of Urbana police review board under study

URBANA – Whether or not ex-felons should be part of a Citizen Police Review Board in Urbana could be an issue as the city council decides whether to continue the program.

The Urbana council will meet as a committee of the whole for a study session at 7 p.m. Monday at the city building, 400 S. Vine St.

Plans for music, water projects earn highest honors

CHAMPAIGN – A Web site to enable collaborative song-writing and a venture to provide access to safe drinking water took top honors in the V. Dale Cozad New Venture Competition this week.

Expect delays on Douglas County's Arthur-Atwood Road

ARTHUR – Douglas County motorists can expect delays over the next several months on the Atwood-Arthur Road.

Illinois Department of Transportation spokeswoman Marisa Kollias said crews will begin widening, patching and resurfacing 4.7 miles of the road Monday. The work is to continue through October.

Delivery takes its sweet time - 23 years

CHAMPAIGN – Brice Hutchcraft admits he was "suspicious" of a white square box sealed in a plastic bag that arrived at Regions Bank this week.

But the branch manager was more surprised than anything when the box turned out to contain a yellowing plaster-of-Paris model of someone's teeth.

AMBUCS First Citizen serious about child's play

DANVILLE – Bill E. Fulton's name may be synonymous with two AMBUCS playgrounds and a new "sprayground" in Danville.