A musical weekend in Evanston, March 4-7

With a bit of a thaw in the air, residents looking for a musical interlude from the steady stream of governmental and political news can take advantage of a multitude of offerings in the area this weekend. Besides the dance marathon at NU, there are options from classical to jazz, from musicals to bluegrass, and even some gospel and rock. Click on any of the links below for more info.

Thurs., March 4

Classical:  The Baroque Music Ensemble performs intricate and delightful selections from George Frideric Handel’s Op. 3 and Op. 6 Concerti Grossi, featuring flute, oboe, and string soloists, at Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place, at 7:30 pm tonight. These works rival Bach's Brandenburg concerti in the pantheon of baroque composition. Stephen Alltop conducts. Tickets are $7 for the general public, $5 for seniors and Northwestern faculty and staff, and $4 for students.

Folk:  At S.P.A.C.E., 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston. www.evanstonspace.com, Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek will perform her haunting brand of bluegrass/folk tonight. Click the link or call (847) 492-8860. Show is at 8 pm., tickets are $15/$20.

Friday, March 5

Musical comedy:  The Woman's Club of Evanston kicks off its 2010 benefit show, which runs through March 13, with The Age of Hilarious, at 1702 Chicago Avenue. This year's beneficiary is the Center for Independent Futures. The show, a collection of original parodies targeting "topical issues and personalities," typically raises $30,000 for charity. Showtime is at 8 pm. Tickets are $30. For info: http://www.wcofe.org 847-475-3800
Musical comedy:  McGaw YMCA on Friday also begins the run of its 59th Brillianteen production, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the 1982 hit by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Joseph is played by Josh Hamburg.
Classical:  Those disinclined toward musical comedy can check out the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra's Student Showcase at 7:30 PM in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. 
The evening's performance features the winners of the Northwestern Concerto Competition, Charles Asch (cello) and Miki Sawada ( piano). If you know the calibre of NU student musucians, you know that the winners of their music contest are pretty talented. Victor Yampolsky and Sandra Gebram will conduct.
The evening's program: Otto Nicolai, The Merry Wives of Windsor Overture;  Peter Tchaikovsky, Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor; Antonín Dvorák, Cello Concerto in B Minor.
Tickets: $9 (general public), $7 (seniors and Northwestern faculty and staff), and $5 (students).
Jazz/funk: S.P.A.C.E., 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, www.evanstonspace.com, (847) 492-8860. features Liquid Soul at 8 pm.
Jazz:  Check out the Barry Winograd Trio, C.J. Arthur's, 1168 Wilmette Avenue, Wilmette. The well-known host of WXRT's "Jazz Transfusion" leads a jazz trio featuring Nick Tountas on bass & Zvonimir Tot on guitar. 8:30 - 11:30 p.m. Call 847.256.8870. Reservations accepted only for parties of ten or more.
Saturday, March 6
Pop/rock:  Robyn Hitchcock (rock) plays a WXRT show at S.P.A.C.E., 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston. (847) 492-8860. 8 p.m.: $22/$25. Currently this show is SOLD OUT but tickets may possibly be had if you snoop around.
Bluegrass: The Special Consensus bluegrass band, Evanston-based for over 30 years, plays at the American Legion Music Hall, 1030 Central St., Evanston, as part of the Bluegrass Legends Concert series organized by Evanston bluegrass impresario Chip Covington. Improvisational pianist David Drazin will warm up. These shows used to be kind of a quiet secret but now regularly sell out. Doors open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Admission: $20; $15 for senior citizens and children. (847) 573-0443

Sunday, March 7 
Classical/modern:  At 3:00 PM, Amy G. Weller conducts the University Singers in a "green" concert: University Singers Goes Green at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Dr. The “sustainable” concert features a "repertoire that highlights humanity’s relationship with nature" with compositions by Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Effinger, and Conte." The last piece of the evening is Kirke Mechem’s Island in Space, using texts by  poet Archibald MacLeish and astronaut Russell Schweickart, who in the 1960s became "the first American to float untethered in space." Many Evanstonians can no doubt relate.
Tickets are $7 for the general public, $5 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty/staff, and $4 for students.

Classical:  From 4:00pm - 6:00pmon Sunday, Mostly Music Chicago presents Trio Voce, i.e., Jasmine Lin on violin, Marina Hoover on cello, and Patricia Tao, piano. The trio will perform at an undisclosed location in Evanston, to be revealed after you purchase tickets.
The program: Trio in E minor, Hob. XV: 12 (Haydn); Trio op. 24 (1945) by Mieczyslaw Weinberg; and Trio in D minor (Mendelssohn). Price: $25.00. For tickets, call 312.287.5761
Gospel/multicultural:  At Cahn Auditorium at Northwestern University, 600 Emerson, Evanston, at 6:30 p.m., the Northwestern Community Ensemble will present its winter concert, "The Greatness of God," in tribute to the revival of the campus group's alumni anthem, "Great God A'Mighty." Performers include a guest gospel recording artist and the NCE, "a multicultural student ensemble that sings anthems, spirituals, hymn arrangements and traditional and contemporary gospel, praise and worship songs." Tickets are free, and will be distributed at the door on the night of the performance.

With so many choices, there's no excuse for not being entertained in the next few days.