2016 Sweet Corn Festival “One Community Together” Programming Kicks off August 26th and 27th

The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music is again working with the Urbana Business Association, University of Illinois, Champaign County Museums Network, and the Urbana and Champaign High School Marching Bands to lead the music and children’s programming on the One Community Together (OCT) stage for the 2016 Urbana Sweet Corn Festival that is scheduled for August 26th and 27th.  As in years past we will highlight many of the community’s exceptional local musicians, dance artists, special collections, museums, and our three wonderful high school marching bands as well as the William M. Staerkel Planetarium, Anita Purves Nature Center, and the University of Illinois Japan House.  A complete listing of OCT performances and children’s activities is below.  For further information about the One Community Together programming contact the Sousa Archives at either 217-333-4577 or email schwrtzs@illinois.edu, and for rest of the festival’s other exciting music programs please visit the Sweet Corn Festival Facebook page.


(6-6:45) Noah I Brown & Company

Noah I Brown & Company kicks off this year’s OCT programming with rich vocal performances of traditional gospel that stress love, self-empowerment, and personal encouragement through melody and words.  Their music is a wonderful way to start Friday evening’s exploration of the spirituality of America’s blues traditions.

(7-7:45) Killer Bee Honey

Lon Ray on guitar, Aaron Burnett on drums, Josh Dodson on bass, and Cathy Means and Bryce Johnson on vocals bring a unique blend of songs by country singer Robert Earl Keen, rapper Snoop Dog, and the indie-folk pop group Of Monster’s and Men, as well as their own spirited creations to the stage to highlight the diversity of America’s popular music scene.

(8-8:45) The Painkillers Blues Band

The Painkillers Blues Band plays a steady mix of traditional straight-ahead and sassy Chicago and Southern Blues as well as a variety of original tunes that will keep the evening’s audience howling for more as they pull every work-a-day stiff from their slow-burning funk to kick off the weekend.

(9-10:30) Bruiser and the Virtues

Bruiser and the Virtues’s driving performance will continue the evening’s Blues tradition with selections of original and classic jump blues tunes by such American icons as Louis Jordan and T-Bone Walker which are guaranteed to get the crowd off their butts and onto the dance floor.


(12-1:00) Bow-Dacious String Band and BBL Fine Arts Jazz Ensemble

The Community Center for the Arts’ Bow-Dacious String Band consists of children ages 6 through 18 who perform popular music from around the world on violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, mandolin, banjo and other stringed instruments. The Banks Bridgewater Lewis Fine Arts Academy Jazz Ensemble offers local middle school and high school students opportunities to perform America’s great jazz for in both big band and small combo ensembles. Both music groups emphasize improvisation, developing strong ensemble skills, and learning applied music theory, and they come together to highlight the tremendous artistic talent and diversity of our communities’ youth.

(1:15-1:45) CUperStars

Meet again the winners of this summer’s CUperStar adventure, an American Idol-style competition that has been produced for the past ten years by the Champaign-Urbana Area Project.  This year they invited young performers, ages 10 to 19, from our local community to compete in a variety of musical genres.

(1:45-2:00) Classy Combinations

Classy Combinations will continue to charm audiences both young and old with their elegant and spirited performances of Middle Eastern fusion dance set to the melodies of “Runaway,” “Fever,” “Chickie,” and Halikarnas.  The troupe will invite members of the audience to join them for their final dance in coins scarves to experience the energy and fun of traditional Middle Eastern dance.

(2:15-3:00) Bali Lantari

Bali Lantari, under the leadership of I Ketut Gede Asnawa, will perform traditional music selections for the gamelan ensemble and Balinese dance under the direction of Putu Oka Mardiani Asnawa, to highlight the beautiful music and culture of Bali.

(3:15-4:00) Mara Giri West African Dance Ensemble

The Mara Giri Dance Ensemble, under the direction of Djibril Camara, performs high energy dances accompanied by live drumming to recognize and celebrate West Africans’ rich dance heritage which continues to be used to honor births, harvests, and deaths within their community.

(4:15-4:45) Sato Michiyoshi and the Japanese Tsugaru-jamisen

Sato Michiyoshi is a performer of Tsugaru-jamisen, a banjo-like Japanese lute that is played in a highly energetic, percussive, and improvisatory manner.  As the son of shamisen master Sato Michihiro, Michiyoshi’s music illustrates the dynamic tensions between “traditional” and “innovative” performance practice through his original music compositions for Tsugaru-jamisen that mixes Japanese and western instrumentation, pop Japonism aesthetic, historical allusion, comedy, costumes, and cross-dressing as part of his concerts.  He has performed in Russia, Eastern Europe, France, Germany, Australia, and this past February gave his US debut tour of seven major colleges and universities to universally enthusiastic reviews.

(5:00-6:15) Urbana/Central/Centennial High School Marching Bands

Our communities’ three outstanding high school marching bands return to this year’s Sweet Corn Festival to perform exciting music selections from their three new field shows that they have been working on over the summer. Their performance is guaranteed to highlight the tremendous artistic talent these young musicians and their directors bring to the community.  The University of Illinois director of University Bands, Stephen Peterson, will then lead the high school bands in their finale performance of Steve Barnett’s exciting music arrangement, “Sousa.”


(6-9:00pm) The University of Illinois on Film and Children’s Coloring Books

(6-10:30pm) Gazing the Rings of Saturn and Mars’ Canals

(6-10:30pm) Touch a Historic Illinois Farm Tractor


(12-7:00pm) Touch a Historic Illinois Farm Tractor (1949 McCormick 0-4 Deering Orchard Tractor)

(12-6:00pm) Historic Popcorn Demonstration and Tasting

(12-5:00pm) Instrument Petting Zoo

(12-2:00pm) Nature’s Play Table

12-2:00pm) 19th Century Children’s Games of the Prairie 

(1:45-4:45) Lego Painted Indian Corn

(2-4:00pm) Digeridoo Making with Sam Gingher

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