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Datebook: MIOpera Offers A Tasty Valentine

If music be the food of love, play on... 

There’s music, food and love in abundance at MIOpera’s latest event: Musical DelightsonTap. Hosted by Destihl Brewery in Normal, the event takes place Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. The evening features live music from MIOpera performers, along with a specially crafted dining experience, said Tracy Koch, one of the founders of MIOpera. Koch added that the event is aimed at raising awareness of MIOpera as it brings the singers into a non-traditional setting. 

“It makes it more accessible to everybody. And who doesn’t like beer?” she said with a laugh. “Beer and great food and fun!” 

“MIOpera is more than just opera now,” Koch revealed. “We’re expanding out into new works, we’re doing musical theater. And a concert like this with Destihl, we’re actually performing a lot of selections from classic Broadway and pop music.

"I want the community to see that MIOpera is not just an opera company; It's immersive storytelling through song.”

Credit Laura Kennedy / WGLT
Kenzie Ahlman (l) and Jessica Bella practice their number for "Musical Delights on Tap."

Koch’s music selections reflect the high romance of the Broadway stage and world of pop music. “Love songs are just timeless,” she declared. “It’s just nice to go out with your loved one and experience beautiful music.” 

The chef of Destihl took his inspiration from the songs MIOpera is performing in order to plan the menu for the evening, said Koch. Those attending can enjoy a buffet with Dijon chicken, meatloaf with hefeweisen gravy and more. There’s also rich desserts to cap the meal. 

“So, it’s going to be a lot of the great Destihl standards, with a MIOpera twist,”Koch promised. 

The acapella group, Beauties and the Beat, will also perform at the concert, said Koch. 

“For $10, you can pay to have your loved one serenaded on the Couch of Lo-o-ove. We’re going to have a list of songs, pop songs, jazz standards, just your favorite hits. Let’s say your loved one liked 'Titanic.' Our group will sing 'My Heart Will Go On' in four-part harmony.” 

The serenadee on the Couch of Lo-o-ove will receive a card with the lyrics of the selected song on it, along with a rose. 

“It’s a way to express your love to your loved one,” Koch twinkled with a knowing smile. 

While the event serves as a vehicle for bringing cozy couples even closer, Koch thinks the performance can show the community just how arts-rich Bloomington-Normal is. 

“People need to know that arts organizations here are providing entertainment. You don’t have to go to Chicago to enjoy a concert or a dinner experience with singers.  You can do that right here in your own backyard.” 

Future plans for MIOpera include a spring performance of the new opera, “Ruth,” by local composer David Getz. This summer, MIOpera is producing “The Sound of Music,” as well as Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” (which is a good starter opera, according to Koch), and rounding out the season will be “Susannah.” 

In addition, MIOpera is moving. Koch revealed their summer season will be staged at Heartland Community College’s Astroth Community Education Center Auditorium.


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Reporter, content producer and former All Things Considered host, Laura Kennedy is a native of the Midwest who occasionally affects an English accent just for the heck of it. Related to two U.S. presidents, Kennedy appalled her family by going into show business.