Summer may be drawing to a close, but the music scene in central Illinois is as vibrant as ever. From cutting-edge electronica to old-time a capella, Springfield and other central Illinois cities offer a variety of sounds within a short drive.
Sangamon Auditorium www.uis.edu/sangamonauditorium
Sept. 21, 8 p.m. - Michael W. Smith Christian singer-songwriter Michael W. Smith continues his long career, which includes numerous albums, books, Dove Awards and Grammy Awards, with his latest Wonder, Worship & Glory Tour at Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium.
Oct. 6, 8 p.m. - William Fitzsimmons Blending raw emotion and floating melodies, multi-instrumentalist William Fitzsimmons creates a poetic tapestry exploring loss and troubled relationships. The music of this Jacksonville-based artist has been featured on several prime-time TV dramas like “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m. - Jackson Browne With 17 million albums sold and more than 40 years of recording and touring, Jackson Browne is still putting out honest, heartfelt songs. Catch him with supporting act Sara Watkins in Springfield.
Nov. 4, 6 p.m. - Matthew West Christian singer-songwriter Matthew West writes songs based on real-life stories of love, mercy and grace in his previous album, The Story of Your Life. Look for songs from that album and his latest one – Forgiveness – when he visits Springfield.
Nov. 9, 8 p.m. - Stanley Jordan As guitar virtuoso and pianist Stanley Jordan brings his daring, free-flowing jazz sounds to Springfield, watch for his incredible talent of playing two guitars at once.
Nov. 16, 8 p.m. - A Night in Tremé A rotating roster of acclaimed jazz artists presents the story of the New Orleans neighborhood of Tremé (pronounced tre-MAY), which is still rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Prairie Capital Convention Center www.springfieldpccc.com
Sept. 15, 8 p.m. - Robert Cray Band The wailing guitar and soulful vocals of the Robert Cray Band give the blues new life, bringing a bit of humor and swing to even the heaviest song material.
Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m. - Kansas Iconic rockers Kansas bring their famous guitar hooks and thoughtful lyrics to Springfield for their “Point of Know Return” tour.
Sept. 21, 8 p.m. - Chris Young When Chris Young won the Nashville Star TV competition in 2006, he made a name for himself with a knack for new country that sounds like old country.
Sept. 22, 7 p.m. - Francesca Battistelli New York-based Christian singer-songwriter Francesca Battistelli plays everything from upbeat folksy pop to slow piano ballads, all the while injecting thought-provoking, introspective lyrics.
Nov. 10, 7 p.m. - Alan Jackson Country legend Alan Jackson may have shaved his mustache, but he hasn’t lost the honky-tonk sound that made him famous. Singing of love and loss, his clever lyrics and bouncy guitar riffs will have even non-country fans tapping their toes.
Dec. 12, 7 p.m. - Martina McBride It’s a country Christmas as Martina McBride sings a mix of her hits and her favorite Christmas songs.
Hoogland Center for the Arts www.hcfta.org
Sept. 9, 7 p.m. - Ernie Haase & Signature Sound Gospel enthusiasts won’t want to miss Ernie Hass & Signature Sound, the Dove Award-winning four-part harmonists bringing an updated sound to the old gospel classics.
Sept. 15, 7 p.m. - Sound Celebration Chorus This all-female chorus creates a rich a capella experience as they sing the songs that motivated and comforted U.S. troops abroad during the 1940s with their USO Tribute “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
Pygmalion Music Festival www.pygmalionmusicfestival.com
Break out your skinny jeans and ironic T-shirts. The Pygmalion Music Festival turns Champaign-Urbana into a hipster paradise from Sept. 27 through 29, bringing indie bands big and small to stages across the conjoined cities. Dinosaur Jr., the distortion heavy rock trio from Massachusetts, is just one of at least 60 bands scheduled to play.
UIUC Assembly Hall www.uofiassemblyhall.com
Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m. - Mercy Me Christian band Mercy Me sings of being humbled and awestruck as they tour in support of their latest album, “The Hurt & The Healer.”
U.S. Cellular Coliseum www.uscellularcoliseum.com
Oct. 4, 7 p.m. - Bassnectar Close your eyes and let the thick, warbling bass carry you away into a completely different dimension. Bassnectar rocks the Coliseum with fellow electronic musician Gramatik.
Oct. 13, 7 p.m. - Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson Capitalizing on their oft-maligned shock rock reputations, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson join forces on their “Twins of Evil” tour. Catch them with supporting act J Devil – also known as Jonathan Davis of Korn – as he plays what he describes as “chaotic electro-metal.”
Peoria Civic Center www.peoriaciviccenter.com
Sept. 19, 7 p.m. - Journey with Pat Benatar and Loverboy Big hair and even bigger guitar riffs never go out of style. The hits of the ’80s live on as Journey joins Pat Benatar and Loverboy for a superstar-studded tour.
Sept. 20, 8 p.m. - Gordon Lightfoot Folk-rock artist Gordon Lightfoot is known for storytelling, and the self-taught 73-year-old singer-songwriter is sure to deliver when he heads through Peoria.
Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m. - Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen Long ago, Chris Hillman was the bassist for The Byrds, but he has grown into an artist all his own. For this tour, he joins guitarist and banjo player Herb Pedersen, a solid studio musician who previously backed artists like Jerry Garcia.
Nov. 16, 8 p.m. - George Jones Country star George Jones still plays the old-style country that propelled him to the top of the charts in the late ’50s. Now that he’s in his 80s, Jones has decided to retire, so this may be your last chance to see him perform.
Kirkland Fine Arts Center www.millikin.edu/kirkland
Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m. - Hotel California Their name says it all. This Eagles tribute band faithfully reproduces the sound of the source, bringing hit after Eagles hit to Decatur.
Illinois Symphony Orchestra
Maestro Alistair Willis makes his debut this season as the new musical director for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. To start the 20th season, Willis leads the orchestra in “Fantastic Friendships” – a concert of friends-themed compositions, one of which will be the world premier of a new piece.
Patrick David Clark, a composer who last year completed his doctorate at the University of Missouri School of Music, wrote a currently untitled piece on commission to honor Willis’ appointment as musical director. Clark’s piece will be played for the first time in public at 8 p.m. on Oct. 20 in Sangamon Auditorium. The concert will also feature pianist William Wolfram playing Gershwin’s “Piano Concerto in F,” followed by the orchestra’s rendition of Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations.”
The orchestra repeats its performance at 3 p.m. on Oct. 21 at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.
To prepare for the most festive time of the year, the orchestra plans its “Holidays in the Heartland” concert, featuring Broadway star Christiane Noll. That show starts at 8 p.m. on Nov. 16 at BCPA and comes to Sangamon Auditorium at 8 p.m. on Nov. 17.
The orchestra also plays a handful of less formal venues throughout the season. On Sept. 1, catch the orchestra at 6 p.m. in the Old State Capitol for “Symphony in the Square,” a free concert with a Labor Day theme. The orchestra repeats its performance in Mattoon’s Peterson Park Pavilion at 6 p.m. on Sept. 2, then once more 6 p.m. on Sept. 3 at The Corn Crib in Normal. For more information, visit www.ilsymphony.org.
Springfield Chorale Society and Orchestra
The grandeur of Baroque music is perfectly captured in G.F. Handel’s famous “Messiah,” which begins with an emphatic chorus of “hallelujahs.” Marion van der Loo of the Springfield Choral Society says her group’s performance of “Messiah” during the 2011-2012 season was so popular that they had to turn people away, and they’ve decided to add a second performance this season. The dates this year are Dec. 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Springfield’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 524 E. Lawrence Ave. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door. For more information, visit www.springfieldchoralsociety.org.
Springfield Classical Guitar Society
With intricate, dynamic melodies and fast fingers flying across frets, classical guitar is stimulating for both the ears and the eyes. The Springfield Classical Guitar Society offers two concerts this fall.
On Sept. 29, Kirk Hanser and John McClellan join forces for the St. Louis-based Hanser-McClellan Guitar Duo, a mesmerizing journey of original classical guitar compositions.
On Nov. 10, Illinois native Philip Hemmo comes home from teaching classical guitar in Arizona to display his eclectic and passionate playing style.
Both concerts start at 8 p.m. at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2313 Whittier Ave. For more information, call 217-726-8991.
Contact Patrick Yeagle at email@example.com.