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Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 12:01 am

Cornucopia of concert conundrums

Calise Hawkins comes to Donnie B’s Comedy Club Mon., Feb. 3, 7:30pm.
If anyone felt that the end of January, first of February time span would leave us Springfieldians desperate for music entertainment, just check that feeble feeling at the door. There’s plenty to do and more besides. Here are just a few.

I’m proud and honored to be part of this show so I can brag a bit here. On Sunday, Feb. 2, (that’s Super Bowl Sunday to some of you – now who’s playing again? – TVs and beer are on sale everywhere) starting at 2 p.m., the Hoogland Center for the Arts, Sangamon County Historical Society and Lincoln Land Community College present Six Degrees of Abraham Lincoln. Based on the famous “six degrees of separation” concept as applied to our hometown hero, the show comes coordinated, conceived and mostly composed by LLCC’s Judy Wagenblast. The actual performance features the fabulous Fritz Klein as Mr. Lincoln to introduce the concept and kick off the degree diversions, followed by Brian “Fox” Ellis, Jeannie Alexander, Kathryn Harris, Doug Kamholz, Don and Linda Schneider and me to continue the connections through creative interpretations. The only way to really find out how Honest Abe connects through a string of human interactions, to the late, great singer-songwriter Steve Goodman (I do that segment, singing Steve’s songs and telling his story) is to check out the show.

In another LLCC moment, music friends and fans of Illinois folk music should see Bucky Halker at the Trutter Center on Jan. 31, at 10:30 a.m. Sponsored by the Academy of Lifelong Learning as part of their Winter Celebration, Bucky is an ethnomusicologist with a Ph.D. in labor studies, who at the request and support of the Illinois Humanities Council made some great records of Illinois folk songs a few years ago, along with a sincere tribute to Woody Guthrie in 2012. Bucky is a real deal not to be missed.

On Monday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m., here comes Calise Hawkins back to Springfield (no one ever really leaves, Calise, you know that!) for a stand up comedy show at Donnie B’s Comedy Club in the Route 66 Hotel and Conference Center on South Sixth. A 1998 Southeast High School grad, Hawkins currently writes for MTV2’s “Charlamagne and Friends” and continues her live stand-up routine, such as the YouTube video for “The Town Racist.”

Whenever the delightful combination of good music for a good cause raises its lovely head, how or why would someone decline the opportunity to partake. This Sat., Feb.1 at 8 p.m., local and legendary classical guitarist Russel Brazzel performs a benefit recital for the Springfield Classical Guitar Society at Faith Lutheran Church (Whittier and Outer Park). Russel, a true Springfield treasure since moving here in 1998, teaches at LLCC, UIS and Illinois College, as well as privately. Sunday’s program, with all proceeds to benefit the SCGS and support its upcoming season of world class classical guitarists, includes material by a wide range of composers such as, Johann Sebastian Bach, Silvius Leopold Weiss, Jorge Morel, Heitor Villa-Lobos and others.

Michael Rapier, current Illinois Central Blues Club president and Facebook poster for the ICBC while all were in Memphis last week for the International Blues Challenge, left a thrilling and positive trail while following our groups at the IBC. According to his posts, everyone did good and exciting sets with tough competition all around. The duo Monica Morris and Josie Lowder made it to the semifinals on Friday, but unfortunately, neither Brooke Thomas and the Blue Suns nor Back Pack Jones got past the crowded quarterfinals. Congrats to all for work well done and well done work. It’s always a great experience … and there’s always next year!

Be sure to check out all the other very cool (!) goings-on this week.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.


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