The Norris Fund for the Arts was created by the Dellora A. & Lester J. Norris Foundation to support their philanthropic objective.
Greet the New Decade at a New Venue
Now Presenting Events at The Norris …and… the Baker Community Center
As we begin the 2020s, The Norris begins presenting events at a second historic St. Charles venue – the Baker Community Center at 101 S. Second St. Now equipped with theatrical lighting and sound systems (designed and installed by The Norris as a gift to the community), the rejuvenated Baker Community Center provides a vibrant, versatile performing arts venue in the heart of downtown St. Charles.
Join us at the Baker Community Center on Saturday nights for a 4-concert series and on Wednesday afternoons for a 4-event series. And don’t forget our sixth season of Sunday afternoon gallery events at The Norris, now called “Music – and More – in the Gallery” to represent the variety of performances.
Special thanks to our season sponsor, Meyers & Flowers Trial Attoreys, now in their fifth consecutive season of providing generous support to all Norris Cultural Arts Center events. And thanks to Colonial Café for generously sponsoring our first season of “Wednesdays @ One” events at the Baker Community Center.
Saturday Night Lights
The Norris launches the first season of events at the Baker Community Center with a series of four Saturday evening concerts, each representing a major category of music.
Tickets purchased in advance are just $20. Tickets purchased on the day of the concert are $25. Each ticket holder will receive two complimentary drink coupons.
Love You Madly: A Valentines’s Day Concert
with the Alyssa Allgood Quartet
February 15, 2020
7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Chicago’s rising star in jazz vocals, Alyssa Allgood, opens our season of Saturday night concerts at the Baker Community Center. Joining Alyssa for this concert are Ben Waltzer on the piano, Dennis Carroll on bass, and Dana Hall on drums.
The Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich calls Alyssa “a fast-rising Chicago singer …(who) combines an unpretentious stage manner with a sophisticated jazz sensibility.” Recently named “Best Jazz Entertainer” in the 2019 Chicago Music Awards, Alyssa has performed in top jazz venues including the world-famous Birdland Jazz Club in New York City, the Green Mill, the Jazz Showcase and the Chicago Jazz Festival in Chicago, and the Jazz Estate in Milwaukee.
Alyssa’s debut album, “Out of the Blue,” received widespread critical acclaim including a 4-star review from DownBeat Magazine. It was named a “Best Release of 2016” by seven different magazines, and was described as “the vocal record of the year” by the Chicago Jazz Magazine.
The Ragged Rascals – St. Paddy’s Preview
March 7, 2020
7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Our favorite Irish pub band – the Ragged Rascals – gets you ready for St. Patrick’s Day as our Saturday night concert series at the Baker Community Center continues.
The Ragged Rascals are one of the Chicago area’s most popular and longest-established Irish pub bands, performing authentic Irish folk songs, street ballads, rebel and drinking songs, sea shanties and other traditional music in the style of the Clancy Brothers, the Dubliners, the Chieftans and the Irish Rovers. Prepare for a rousing evening of Irish-inspired entertainment.
Dan Buck and “One of the Boyzz”
April 4, 2020 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Enjoy an evening of classic rock from legendary Boyzz from Illinoizz founder Dirty Dan Buck and his band, One of the Boyzz.
Dan Buck’s rough-hewn exterior recalls the neighborhood rebel of the late 1970s who fronted the Boyzz from Illinoizz through the recording of two successful albums for CBS/Epic Records and concert tours with the likes of Aerosmith, the J. Geils Band, Meatloaf, Cheap Trick, and REO Speedwagon. Now playing as One of the Boyzz, Buck’s bandmates include Buddy Wiegelman on guitar, Joe Gagliardo on bass, Jimmi Perrino on keyboards, Scot Kelly on drums and Dave Haines on sax and harmonica. Together, they pay homage to the rock ‘n’ roll greats of every era, along with some originals of their own.
Joan Ellison in “Love Finds Judy Garland”
May 16, 2020
7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Joan Ellison, with pianist Shane Schag, takes you on a musical roller coaster ride through the life of America’s greatest entertainer, Judy Garland. It’s a personal and spirited valentine filled with Judy’s greatest songs from her first Decca demo to her glorious concert years, including The Trolley Song, Just in Time, Chicago, The Palace Medley, The Man That Got Away, and Get Happy.
Joan has been described by Cabaret Scenes Magazine as “Judy-esque in appearance and…a near voice double for her idol.” As the restorer of Judy’s original orchestral arrangements with Michael Feinstein (for the Judy Garland Heirs Trust), she brings musical authenticity and a life-long love for Judy to the stage.
Joan’s intimate understanding of retro musical styles of the 1920s to the 1960s comes from transcribing over 250 song arrangements note-for-note from original recordings, bringing distinct freshness and authenticity to her interpretations of classic American standards. In addition to performing, Joan serves as teacher of popular voice at The Cleveland Institute of Music. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Wednesdays @ One
Enjoy a diverse series of afternoon events at the Baker Community Center. All “Wednesdays @ One” events are presented free of charge, thanks to the generous support of Colonial Cafe.
Beethoven @ 250, with Andrew Lewis
February 19, 2020
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
2020 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, widely regarded as the most influential composer of Western music. He inherited the Viennese classical style of Haydn and Mozart and infused its forms and genres with new and breathtaking innovations, which profoundly impacted the musicians of his time all of the generations that followed.
In “Beethoven @ 250,” Andrew Lewis offers a lecture and listening session that explores what made Beethoven so great, and he examines how and why Beethoven’s influence still resonates across the centuries to the present day.
Andrew Lewis is Artistic Director of Bella Voce and the Bella Voce Sinfonia, Music Director of the Elgin Master Chorale, Choirmaster at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, artistic director of Opus 327 NFP, a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and assistant conductor of the Chicago Symphony Chorus.
The Making of “My Fair Lady,” with Charles Troy
March 18, 2020
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Theater historian and storyteller Charles Troy documents the story behind the creation of one of the world’s most beloved musicals, Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady.” Follow a creative path beginning with George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” in 1912, a theatrical comedy that was produced as a motion picture in 1938. Then discover how Lerner and Loewe turned this complex material – an intellectual drawing-room comedy – into a stunning musical theater achievement.
Charles Troy’s unique presentations employ a seamless blend of recorded songs (with lyrics projected on screen), original graphics, vintage photos, historic video, and an extensively researched, scripted narrative to dramatize the stories behind the great creations of the American musical theater.
Music to Commemorate the Titanic, with Phil Passen
April 15, 2020
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Early on the morning of April 15, 1912, the passenger liner Titanic sank in the North Atlantic. Of the 2,224 passengers on board, 1,514 died. Orchestras in first and second class on the Titanic that night played popular songs of the day. Irish musicians in third class played rousing jigs and reels.
Folk singer, hammered dulcimer player and storyteller Phil Passen shares songs and stories of the time on the 108th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Popular songs such as The Blue Danube, Maple Leaf Rag, and Alexander’s Ragtime Band are included in this program along with energetic Irish tunes and songs about the sinking of the great ship. An informative and enjoyable program of popular music from a bygone era.
Schubert: Man of Melody and Mystery, with Janna Williamson
May 20, 2020
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Pianist and educator Janna Williamson reflects upon the well-loved, mysterious and misunderstood Franz Schubert and his compositions. Janna’s presentation will explore questions of meaning in the composer’s music and how known biographical information and historical context can inform our understanding. She will look to texts of Schubert’s most beloved songs and discuss how trends in his music set to poetry can give listeners clues to what significance might be found in his instrumental works, particularly those for solo piano.
Janna Williamson holds piano performance degrees from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and Wheaton College Conservatory of Music (both summa cum laude) where she studied with Winston Choi and Karin Redekopp Edwards, respectively. She performs regularly in the Chicago area and has been featured multiple times on the Shepley Concert Series at Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, Missouri.
Music – and More – in the Gallery
The Norris presents its sixth season of events in the intimate, beautiful Norris Gallery.
Tickets for the January 19, February 23 and April 19 events are just $10 when purchased in advance, or $15 at the door. Tickets for the March 29 concert are $20 when purchased in advance, or $25 at the door.
A Tale of Beatrix Potter
January 19, 2020
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Norris gallery favorite, Debra Miller, returns with a family-friendly portrayal of beloved children’s author and illustrator, Beatrix Potter, whose legacy goes far beyond Peter Rabbit and his friends. Born in London in 1866, Beatrix Potter produced and copyrighted stuffed toys, developed board games, coloring pages and wallpaper; and her drawings of fungi are still used in instruction and identification texts. A generous supporter of England’s National Trust, she helped to preserve the landscape and culture of the Lake District and raised award winning Herdwick Sheep.
Debra Miller portrays Beatrix, as she tells her own story through letters and her diary, which was written in a code so complex it took 5 years to break. A question and answer session with Ms. Miller will follow her performance.
March of the Women: Music for the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage
February 23, 2020
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Folk singer, hammered dulcimer player and storyteller Phil Passen celebrates the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage with songs and stories of the time. 2020 marks 100 years since ratification by the states of the 19th amendment, forbidding states to deny the right to vote on the basis of sex.
This program consists of songs about women’s suffrage from as early as the mid-nineteenth century through 1920. It begins with “Winning the Vote,” a humorous but pointed song written in 1912 as a conversation between men and women about women’s suffrage, and ends with “Bread and Roses,” the anthemic song of women workers inspired by the 1912 Lawrence textile strike. This is an entertaining and informative look at the fight for women’s right to vote and the continuing fight for women’s rights.
Beethoven @250: Violin and Piano Sonatas
with Dmitri Makhtin and Julia Siciliano
March 29, 2020
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
International stars – violinist Dmitri Makhtin and pianist Julia Siciliano – perform three enduring sonatas for violin and piano to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.
Born in St Petersburg in 1975, Dmitri Makhtin started his musical education at the age of four. In 1989 he won first prize at the Russian violinists’ competition. He has performed with virtually all of the world’s top orchestras and in concert halls around the world. Winner of the 2019 Sicily International Piano Competition, pianist Julia Siciliano has performed throughout the US, Europe and Asia as a recitalist, chamber musician and concertist with orchestras. Julia’s debut solo album “Dream Catchers” received acclaim from Gramophone and Fanfare magazines, among others.
Advanced piano students of Janna Williamson will provide a prelude recital to this exciting concert.
Images of “The Roaring Twenties,” with Jeff Mishur
April 19, 2020
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Art historian Jeff Mishur brings to life one of the most exciting time periods in American history – the 1920s – remembered for scandalous fashions, revolutionary jazz music and amazing new freedoms for women.
Jeff Mishur and his wife, Dr. Michelle Paluch-Mishur, own and operate Art Excursions, which provides tours for individuals, groups, museums, businesses, organizations and associations with an interest in world famous art, architecture, and gardens in addition to natural and cultural treasures. The Wall Street Journal referenced the Mishurs as “experts…armed with advanced degrees…equipped to give the most veteran aesthete the thrill of a new perspective.“
Art in the Gallery
The Norris Gallery is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is always free.
January 11 – February 16, 2020
The Visual Harmony exhibit features original works in all media depicting patterns in nature, design, construction or wherever visual harmony is seen in our world. The public is invited to a free reception and awards ceremony, Sunday, January 26, 2 to 4 p.m.
February 22 – April 11, 2020
The popular annual exhibit returns to the Norris Gallery, featuring original works in water-based media. A free, public reception and awards presentation will be held on Sunday, March 15, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Fox Valley Concert Band
The Norris welcomes the Fox Valley Concert Band for its ninth season “in residence” at the Norris Theater. Concerts are presented free of charge, but free will contributions are accepted. The band’s two Spring 2020 concert dates are March 1 and May 3.
Years of Hope, Years of Courage:
A Concert for National Women’s History Month
Sunday, March 1, 2020, 3:00 p.m.
The Personal Touch
Sunday, May 3, 2020, 3:00 pm