Founded in 1884, the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center is among the oldest community music organizations in the U.S., inviting patrons into its halls year after year to support and experience the excitement of live music. The center is home to the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, which won the 2011 award for Best Chamber Orchestra from the Illinois Council of Orchestras. The group of in-residence musicians keep fans of classical music thoroughly entertained with concerts throughout the year and tag-team wrestling matches between the string and brass sections.
Madison's experiential comedy show takes place at the eastside Glass Nickel Pizza Company on Atwood Avenue and begins at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.). The Monkey Business Institute features no sets, props, or scripts, which allows the hilarious ensemble to craft improv hilarity off the spur of their cufflinks. With decades of improvisational cosmonaut experience and interactive audience participation, each show is distinct and spontaneous. This simian comedy collective features improvisers such as Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda, who have received more than 70 million YouTube hits for viral video sensations such as "Chad Vader." Keep a third eye peeled for other local favorites Brad Knight, Jason Stephens, Sheila Robertson, and more.
Budding artists of all ages can begin to imprint their creative legacies in two-hour printmaking workshops that consist of stamp-making and hands-on card-making with cards on colored paper stocks. Professional artist Aliza Rand draws on more than 10 years of teaching experience to guide small groups of students through the creative process, demonstrating how to whittle stamps with finesse and strap them securely to feet before using monkey bars to cross gooey fields of ink. Holiday-themed workshops spread the season’s cheer with step-by-step instructions for fashioning festive Christmas cards or stamps in the shapes of fir trees to remind Santa of home during his circumnavigational blimp ride.
Groundbreaking Canadian chanteuse K.D. Lang has always been ahead of her time. During the late '80s, while country music was busy trying on rock 'n' roll britches, K.D. moseyed in with a voice as pure as a Mountie's heart, giving honky-tonk purity back to the airwaves while curing the cowgirl blues. Her striking stage presence and ability to lasso Patsy Cline’s poltergeist with her herculean larynx led to multiple Grammy awards, and her sound branched out into lush pop territories in hits such as “Constant Craving” and “Miss Chatelaine.” With the support of her first backing band in 23 years, Siss Boom Bang, K.D. yowls and purrs with grace and intensity through a live set of twangy barnburners and heart-tugging torch songs in support of her latest album, Sing it Loud. From comfy and wide lumbar-supported seats, fans savor the majesty and opulence of Overture Hall, where the exemplary acoustics allow K.D.’s unmistakable voice to reverberate like whale calls through the Grand Canyon.
Tim and Bobbi Paul deploy decades of tune savvy to helm Piano Trends, which was voted best music store and instruction studio in the Northwest Herald's Best of the Fox in 2011. The family team wrangles more than 20 voice and music instructors to bolster musicality in local schools, with established performance groups and one former American Idol finalist. In classes for every skill level from novice to megawizard, instructors teach piano, guitar, violin, and a variety of brass and woodwind instruments, and voice lessons range from Broadway training to avant-garde birdcalls. Lessons for children under the age of 6 are available, based on the child's attention span, maturity level, and desired instrument; interested customers should call ahead for more information. Piano Trends can also cater to musical needs with instrument rentals and repairs.
For the students of To The Pointe Performing Arts, no dance step is just a dance step. Because the school follows a holistic approach to learning dance, every step comes with a bounty of knowledge—its place in the style, its cultural origin, the muscle movements it requires, and the discipline required to master it. Whether they're 6-year-olds encountering their first tap shoes or high-school students refining their skills in Russian ballet technique, the team of experienced dance instructors make it their business to forge not only great dancers but educated citizens of the world. In addition to youth classes, the studio also offers DanceFit and tap classes for adult students.