Gem of the Ocean is a play written by August Wilson that was performed at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday night. The characters of Aunt Ester, Black Mary, Citizen, and Eli entertained the audience and the set gave the story an almost eerie mood.
Jennifer Monson shares her insight on how movement of the body can change the experience of art.
written by Allison Spillane
This experience was a new one. Previous shows that this class had scheduled I had some semblance of expectation, but I went into Jennifer Monson’s dance workshop having no preconceptions of what we would be doing. Having absolutely no background knowledge of dance, I must admit I was somewhat apprehensive about the activities she had in store. However, despite my fears, I found the movement in this event quite refreshing. The lense of dance really changed the way that I experienced the art.
In Colwell Playhouse at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Geoff Sobelle’s Homecaptivated the audience on Friday night. The play brought together theater, illusions, and some impressive engineering for the set that was used. The performance pressed the audience to consider the true meaning of a home as we watched the lives of several characters play out in one space.
Geoff Sobelle brings his interpretation of home for the people of Champaign-Urbana
Written by Edward Huang
On a chilly Friday evening, guests gathered at Colwell Playhouse in Krannert Center for the Performing arts, eager to see what “Home” by Geoff Sobelle had in store for them. The stage was set with a display of mystery. There were bright lights glaring at the audience, preventing them from seeing anything in the dark backstage. I felt that this built up the interest of the crowd. When an actor from the audience walked onto the stage, the crowd waited in silence, all with piqued curiosity for what was to come.
Chris Botti showcases his talent as a trumpeter and performer alongside his company of musicians from across the globe.
On Saturday, September 14 Chris Botti and company performed at the Krannert Center of Performing Arts, demonstrating just the many reasons as to why he is so distinguished from other trumpeters. The award-winning musician and composer made his appearance on stage along with a variety of other instrumentalists, including a guitarist, violinist, pianist, and many more.
The majority of the performance was instrumental based, which was different from all the other concerts I have previously been to. However, as a piano accompanist I would say that it was pleasant surprise to see a performance where the instrumentalists are the center of attention. And they definitely deserved the attention too; the musicianship of all the players on stage was absolutely insane. Each of their solos really allowed them to show off just how much control they had over their instrument, and how extensive their experience was in regards to performing.
Although I enjoyed listening to all the instrumentalists, I feel as though the singer gave the band a refreshing sound at the end of the first half of the performance. There was a new type of energy when singer and songwriter Sy Smith joined the company of musicians, and her funky soul-voice definitely livened up the crowd. I think she blended well with the jazzy instrumentals that was previously being played, and ultimately gave the song an edge.
I think my favorite part of the performance was Lee Pearson’s drum solo midway through the first half of the performance. His short showcase exhibited so much emotion and energy that people were constantly clapping and cheering. I found that the fast and complicated rhythms that he was able to complete were mesmerizing, and his overall showmanship was exciting to watch. I also liked the way he was able to entertain the audience with little tricks such as playing with the sticks behind his back, or throwing up the sticks in the air as he plays. Most importantly though, it was obvious that Pearson’s energy was genuine; you could see how much heart he put into this performance.
Overall, the Chris Botti performance was a refreshing change from the previous concerts I have attended. I greatly enjoyed the music and the energy of the show, and would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who is interested in instrumental music.
On Saturday the 14th, Chris Botti came to perform in the Krannert Center for Performing Arts, and along with him he brought an equally talented Violinist, Pianist, Drummer, and even a Saxophone player. These weren’t just background performers, however. I feel as if Chris Botti did an amazing job as highlighting them as individual artists that went along with his own trumpet playing.
I feel as my favorite part of Chris Botti’s performance was how incredibly powerful he sounded as a trumpet player. It felt as if every note he played echoed throughout the auditorium as we watched him lean into every breath he took through his instrument. His interaction with the crowd was equally amazing. I feel as if the audience had a sort of “moment” when he stepped down to talk to us. It gave the whole interaction a much more personal feel, something I haven’t experienced in concert.
Overall, Chris Botti had great complementary artists, greater sound, and an enthusiastic crowd. You could tell how invested we were from our constant applause, and I feel like Chris Botti delivered a performance worthy of such. There is a stereotype that trumpet players are very prideful, yet Chris Botti has shown us that is simply not true.
On September 14th, Chris Botti performed at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts with a group of talented jazz musicians. The powerful music filled Tryon Festival Center and took a variety of tempos, tones, and styles to transform this performance into something special.
Legendary blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy wows the crowd at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Written by Danielle Herrera
On September 7th, 2019 I had the opportunity to attend the performance of Buddy Guy, I man who (after a quick google search) I learned was a famous blues artist. I’ve never listened to any of Guy’s albums or songs, but I’ve always loved live performances so I was excited regardless. Little did I know, this performance would open me up to new perspectives of music.
First off, let me just start by saying that I am a huge R&B fan. I love the emotional aspect of music and listening to beats that amplify the mood of the song, whether it be pain, lust, or joy. As expected, Buddy Guy’s musicianship was extremely impressive and the overall instrumentals of his songs were catchy and upbeat. However, the aspect that really threw me off guard was his singing. Buddy Guy’s voice has a raspy, deep sound that is both nostalgic and unique to now. You can physically hear the amount of wisdom and experience this man has just through his vocals, making it perfect for the historic genre of blues.
Although Buddy Guy is a renown singer and musician, he made sure that the spotlight was not always on him; lengthy showcases of the guitarist’s runs or the pianist’s swift improvisations shined a light on the rest of the instrumentalists’ insane talent. I personally was in awe of Buddy Guy’s pianist; having played in a number of different concerts and performances, I know how difficult it can be to improvise blues/jazz on the spot in front of such a large group of people.
In addition, there were a number of quirky acts performed by Buddy Guy that showcased not only his sense of humor, but also his skills as a musician. At some points Guy would be playing the guitar by hitting it against his chest, or by smacking it with a towel. Either way, these moments kept the audience lighthearted and waiting for more.
The greatest aspect of this performance, I think, is the way Buddy Guy interacted with the crowd. Like other artists, he encouraged audience members to sing along with his more famous songs in a call-and-response manner. However, he also did something that I’ve never seen before: mid-concert, Buddy Guy calls for the auditorium lights to turn onto the audience. In that sense, Guy forcibly moves the attention from him to us. This was something I’ve never seen before, and it made me feel like it was our turn now to perform. Buddy guy then proceeded to walk into the audience, singing and interacting with all of us. This act provided a sense of togetherness that I have never felt before when attending a performance; it was like we were all finally on the same level, just enjoying the song and rhythm. Audience members were dancing and singing, and almost everyone was on their feet. It was a scene that could never be replicated exactly the same ever again.
Overall, Buddy Guy’s performance is something that in my mind could never be replicated ever again. The musicality, emotion and sound were one of a kind, and if I had the chance I would for sure relive the experience once again.
An introductory experience to UIUC’s beloved performing arts center via the Ellnora Festival.
Extra Credit by Allison Spillane
I was very excited to be invited by my FAA 110 professors to this event. To get a lay of such a wonderful performance venue brimming with passion is always a fun experience. The turnout for the opening of the Guitar Fest truly shows how many people out there truly support the arts!