NORMAL — Illinois State University's Concerts on the Quad are back for five performances from 7 to 8:15 p.m. each Monday in July, taking music lovers from bluegrass to Broadway.
“The tastes of the community are very diverse. We try to cater to that,” said Angelo Favis, an ISU music professor.
The free series begins July 2 with bluegrass singer-songwriter Ashley Lewis, known for her fiery mandolin and sparkling vocals. Lewis performed on the quad in 2012.
July 9 will feature Creole Stomp, a cajun-zydeco band from Louisiana. Informally known as “the Grateful Dead of Creole music,” Creole Stomp also performed in 2011 and 2014 as part of the ISU series.
On July 16, Switchback, the Chicago-based duo of Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack, returns with their blend of American roots music and Celtic soul, performed on mandolin, guitar and bass. Switchback also appeared on the quad and at the B-N Jaycees Bruegala in 2014.
July 23's Evening of Jazz will spotlight The BraziLionaires, a Latin jazz group formed in 2012 and making their series debut. Their music is a blend of jazz, pop and rock with a Latin flavor.
The series concludes July 30 with “Singing Under the Stars,” during which members of the ISU faculty and guests will sing favorite selections from operas and Broadway shows.
Parking is available at the Bone Student Center and the visitors parking lot off University Street, south of State Farm Hall.
The concert series started at Ewing Manor on the “dark” night for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival when no plays were performed. Eventually it moved to the campus quad in 1993 but it stuck with Monday nights so it did not conflict with Illinois Shakespeare Festival performances.
The concerts take place on the east side of Cook Hall, also known as “the castle.” Bring your own lawn chairs or blankets.
In the event of rain, the concerts will be moved to the concert hall at the ISU Center for the Performing Arts on the southeast corner of the quad.
Favis said, “We have a dedicated following and we're happy to provide this service to the community.”
About 200 to 500 people typically attend the concerts depending on the weather and who is performing, he said.
Sponsors include the Mirza Fund of the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, Fell Trust and the Town of Normal Harmon Arts Grant Program.