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Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009 12:53 pm

Beyond the bars

Hanser-McClellan guitar duo performs Sat., Nov. 7. at First Presbyterian Church.

Looking over recent Now Playings I noticed we’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time in the bars and at booze-related venues lately. It’s true our libation-selling nightclubs consistently host live music on a nearly nightly basis, but perhaps we should review a few other music-producing institutions outside of the tavern scene, if for nothing else than to lay off the sauce for awhile.

Truly a shining light of our local live music events, the Springfield Classical Guitar Society concerts held at First Presbyterian Church were originated and sustained by our very own classical guitarist guru Russel Brazzel and are vigorously supported by other area enthusiasts of the craft. The group is now into a 12th season of presenting world-class performers at a reasonable price in a beautiful location. The St. Louis-based Hanser-McClellan guitar duo debut the 2009-2010 series this Sat., Nov. 7, followed by Angelo Favis on Jan. 23, John Johns on March 20 and the Millikin University Guitar Ensemble on May 1.

I’m sure Hanser-McClellan pick, pluck and strum beautifully on those compositions by composers I’ve never heard of listed in the program notes such as Bellinati, Scarlatti, Mollberg, Machado and Morel. For a lovely juxtaposition of electronica and acousticity, use your computer to go to YouTube and listen to Undersea, a solo guitar work by Roger Hudson, arranged for two guitars by the composer and performed in 2007 by Hanser-McClellan. Then make immediate plans to go see them on Saturday night at 8 p.m. Call 217-726-8991 for more information.

In furthering our search of live music outside the domain of Mr. Miller and Mr. Busch let’s head to our local repositories of higher learning, not to say there isn’t much to be learned inside the dark halls of the Dew Drop Inn, but remember we’re off for something other than a hoot and a holler with a bottle and a shot. At University of Illinois Springfield, known to one and all as UIS (except for those of us who still slip up and say Sangamon State now and then), more and more music shows happen all the time.

Last Monday Kinsey Sicks, an a cappella, over-the-top, drag show soaked in satire and song, did their shtick and last month Anne Feeney and David Rovics, two of folk music’s finest activist performers, played the Brookens Auditorium. This Sat., Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. a young, modern R & B singer from Hartford, Conn., calling himself Javier, plays an acoustic show at the Student Center at UIS (coincidentally located on the original SSU campus area). This is the first in a series of coffeehouse events to be continued throughout the 2010 school year. Be sure to regularly check the UIS event calendar at to stay abreast of upcoming shows since they are usually open to the public but not necessarily advertised as such.

Kevin Locke, an award-winning and world famous Native American flute player, song singer and dancer plays the Sangamon Auditorium on Nov. 10. Again, previews are available on YouTube. And again, here’s hoping that preview entices you to head out, this time for the comfortable red seats. Don’t forget as well, the amazing performances by the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and its various configurations at this wonderful facility.

We missed the annual Multicultural Fest that happens at the end of September, but live music at the Lincoln Land Community College occurs frequently, including a once-a-month LLCC Recital Series. A quick look on the music department page shows Winds in Motion Quintessential Winds Woodwind Quintet appearing this Sun., Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. in the Trutter Center. Several more diverse concerts are scheduled for the series in 2010, including performances featuring local virtuoso musicians Russel Brazzel, Joe Caladrino, Theresa O’Hare, Maria Horvath and others.

The point being, of course, that going out to see live music doesn’t require going to a juke joint and there are lots of performances happening all over town. Now all you got to do is go.

Contact Tom Irwin at
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