Lectures and Concerts

Library Friends Webinar: “Spaces Speak: Sounds of Champaign-Urbana between 1968-2022,” May 30, 2024, 12-1pm, online.

A Special Presentation by Scott Schwartz and Nolan Vallier.

From spacious concert halls to packed bars, people’s homes, sidewalks, and local churches, the Champaign-Urbana community has been filled with the sound of music. For the last one hundred years, all these performance spaces have helped shape our community’s music tastes—each venue speaking in its own unique way.

C-U’s diverse performance spaces—Mabels, Huff Gym, the Red Lion, Nature’s Table, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Chances R, Parkland College, the Red Herring, Foellinger Auditorium, the Iron Post, Memorial Stadium, Smith Music Hall, the Rose Bowl, Altgeld Hall, the Canopy Club, the State Farm Center, and the Virginia Theatre—have played and continue to play a vital role defining who we are as a community.

With every artistic event, these spaces have been continually re-shaped by the performances given in them. While it is impossible to discuss every performance venue that has been used by artists to create and express their craft, our current exhibition, “Spaces Speak: The Sounds of CU’s Music Venues,” explores many of Champaign-Urbana’s well remembered venues through the lenses of the audiences and performers who performed in these unique spaces.

Our noon-time presentation will explore through photographs and audio-visual recordings the music and performers that played in many of these unique venues including Dan Fogelberg, Guido Sinclair, Adrian Belew, Marching Illini, the University of Illinois Black Chorus, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, and many others. We will also discuss Fogelberg’s 1976 performance at the Virginia Theater and his 1981 and 1993 performances at the Assembly Hall as well as the Farm Aid concerts held at Memorial Stadium in 1985.

You can find more information about this event, as well as the zoom link, here.


Celebrate International Jazz Day with “Ellington Lives! Singin’ and Swingin’ Three Generations On,” April 14, 2024, 2-3:30pm at the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures.

“Ellington Lives! Singin’ and Swingin’ Three Generations On” will feature various ensembles led by Barrington Coleman.   Performing under his leadership will be Larry Gray, professor of jazz performance, U of I jazz students Xiantian Yu, Alex Manfredo, Dexter O’Neal, Eli Naragon, Max Osawa, and Nick Young, and Henry Gengler, a talented member of the award-winning Champaign Central High School Jazz Band.

They will offer up several Ellington standards, among them “Reflections on D,” “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Mood Indigo” and “Take the A Train.”

The free event also will feature a short informational session on Ellington provided by Sam Reese and informal reflections on Ellington’s influences on each of the afternoon’s performers.

Sunday’s program is free and open to the general public. If you missed the live performance, you can enjoy a recorded version below: