Arts & Craft

Terry Ludwig directs Sound of Illinois Chorus on Dec. 13, 2014, during a performance in The Sounds of Christmas at State Farm Corporate Atrium in Bloomington.

Carlos T. Miranda, Pantagraph file photo

Here's a time/date/place to reserve on your August calendar: 1 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

Now, here's the reason why: It's a rare late-summer concert performance by B-N's Sound of Illinois Chorus.

More than that, though, it could be one of the most important performances in the award-winning barbershop group's history.

The concert is billed as "Voices for Terry," on behalf of the chorus's longtime director, Terry Ludwig.

For the past decade or so, Ludwig has dealt with a neurological condition called spasmodic dysphonia, in which the brain sends errant signals to the nerves that control the vocal folds, causing them to spasm.

The net impact is to make the mere act of talking, let alone singing, difficult.  

Until now, painful Botox injections into the muscles around the vocal cords have offered temporary help.

But this October, Ludwig will undergo a rare surgical procedure at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine that involves the removal of the damaged nerves and implantation of new ones.

During the concert on Aug. 27, the men of the Sound of Illinois Chorus will employ their voices to help cover the looming expenses for the procedure that hopefully will restore the voice of their leader.

There is no admission charge, but a freewill offering will be taken.

Dinner and a Bard: The 40th anniversary season of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival concludes on Aug. 12, 'tis true.

But there's still one last anniversary hurrah in store.

That occurs six midsummer nights later, with a big anniversary fete from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 18 in the DoubleTree by Hilton ballroom in Bloomington.

In addition to dinner, the evening will feature exhibits, special guests, retrospectives and some "surprise performances."

One of the highlights will be the unveiling of a media display, "40 Seasons/40 Actors," in which notable actors who've trod the festival boards over the decades will be recognized.

Among them: Chicago-based actors Ian Barford, Tim Kane, Philip Johnson. Roderick Peeples, Craig Spidle and Frank Nall; 2009 Obie Award winner Francois Battiste, "Boardwalk Empire's" Nisi Sturgis, Milwaukee-based actress Deborah Staples and performer/playwrights The Q Brothers. 

On hand, too, will be B-N-based/IWU School of Theatre-affiliated actors Tom Quinn, who's notched 14 festivals, and David Kortemeier, with 13 under his belt.

Another festival alum, actor Gary Cole, who was there in 1978 for the first season and needs no introduction here, will address the audience via a video (it was recorded during his recent campus visit for his induction into the ISU College of Fine Arts Hall of Fame and service as spring commencement speaker).

Also on tap will be live jazz music and a cash bar.

Tickets, which are limited, are priced at $100, a major chunk of which is a tax-deductible contribution to the Illinois Shakespeare Festival itself. Go to www.illinoisshakes.com/giving/fundraisers/.

Minding our manors: Here's a reminder that the Illinois Shakespeare Festival may be winding down, but Ewing Manor remains a destination for the remainder of the summer and fall seasons.

The late-1920s home of Hazle Buck Ewing and husband Davis will continue to open its doors and three floors for public tours from 4 to 6 p.m. each Monday, through October (minus Labor Day).

The last tour departs at 5:15 p.m., with trained docents on hand for an assist. Admission is free, but a $5 donation would be more than welcome to assist in the manor's restoration and upkeep.   

Oh, and group tours are welcome, too; call 309-438-6333 to arrange one.

Dan Craft is Pantagraph entertainment editor. He can be reached at 309-829-9000, Ext. 259 or via email at dcraft@pantagraph.com 

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