To introduce its stellar faculty to downtown Evanston workers and residents and welcome them to its new campus, the Music Institute of Chicago is offering free lunchtime concerts and conversation one Wednesday per month from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at its new home, 1702 Sherman Ave.
The series began last month, with jazz and classical pianist Ron Surace, director/pianist of the “In Full Swing” jazz orchestra, performing some of his favorite jazz standards and original compositions.
The second concert, on Oct. 23, was also the occasion for the grand opening of the campus and Sherman Theater, its 150-seat capacity black box theater. Soprano Rae-Myra Hilliard, and soprano and pianist Louise Chan performed excerpts from “Seasons Change: Music written by Black American Composers.”
A ribbon-cutting for the new campus preceded the concert.
“We have received such a warm welcome from the community since relocating our headquarters to downtown Evanston this summer,” said Music Institute President and CEO Mark George. “Our Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA) and musical theater program are already serving segments of the Evanston community. ... These informal performances will feature our spectacular artist faculty.
“Evanston is an arts-friendly city. I am truly appreciative of the assistance we received from the City of Evanston’s Economic Development Division. The Music Institute of Chicago plans to be in Evanston for a very long time.”
Dr. George said the black-box Sherman Theater will be the “home of our music theater program. It will be a lab-type theater, iwth emphasis on process.” He noted that Nichols Concert Hall, where many MIC concerts are held, is “just down the street,” (1490 Chicago Ave.).
Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said, “On behalf of the City of Evanston, I would like to say how excited we are. ... As you know, we have wanted live theater in downtown Evanston and you have made it happen.”
“I am proud to be here to let everyone see this wonderful space,” said Evanston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Elaine Kemna-Irish. Earlier she said to former Mayor Lorraine Morton, under whose tenure MIC came to Evanston, “It’s great to see your vision realized.”
The Nov. 13 concert will feature brass chamber music with Michael Buckwalter playing French horn, Chelsea French playing trombone, Amy Larsen playing trumpet, and Dr. George on piano.