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GLT Datebook: Concerts On The Quad Brings Strong July Lineup

A bluegrass band performs on ISU's quad
Charlie Schlenker
The Ashley Lewis Band performed July 2 in the first ISU concert on the quad of 2018

Concerts on the Quad have been filling pleasant summer Mondays since the 1980s at Illinois State University.

Mondays in July the concerts begin at 7 p.m. outside Cook Hall. Angelo Favis has been the coordinator for the last 14 years, and in this edition of the GLT Datebook with Charlie Schlenker, Favis said this year's lineup of musical groups is one of the stronger ones.

Constructing the lineup is part art, part experiment, said Favis. He said they have to be accomplished, but can't be too well known or they won't be affordable. The series is largely grant funded with the help of the Mirza fund of the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, the Harmon Arts Grant program of the Town of Normal, Terry Lindberg, The Pantagraph, and the Fell Trust.

"Sometimes you get lucky. Two years ago I happened to be on a plane with my son. I struck up a conversation with a guy who had a guitar case. He told me he was in a duo with a bass player and was going to a gig. I asked do you have a website? He gave me a card, and it turned out the crowd here really, really liked them," said Favis.

Favis said they have brought back crowd favorites such as Creole Stomp, which is making at least their third appearance in the last 15 years.

"We don't really get to hear a lot of Creole and Cajun music in these parts. They have recorded for the Library of Congress and been honored for their work," said Favis.

Creole Stomp plays July 9.

Switchback (July 16) is a duo of guitar and banjo/mandolin. They have also been strong performers, Favis said.

"Comments we received when we first invited them included that for two people, they pack quite a punch. The energy they exude is very infectious and you forget that there are only two people on stage," said Favis.

Other acts include: July 23, Evening of Jazz with the BraziLionaires, a blend of jazz, rock, and pop; and July 30, Singing Under The Stars, Illinois State University faculty and guests singing favorites from the operatic and Broadway stages.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.