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Arts and Entertainment

Sycamore is a community that values and actively supports the arts – from the visual arts to rock, choral and symphonic music, to live theater, dance, and even aerial arts.

The wealth of opportunities to appreciate the arts in and near Sycamore is truly astounding for a town of its size. They include, but certainly are not limited to:

Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Lifelong fans, those just learning about classical music, and budding musicians can find a great local source for live music in the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra (KSO).

Founded in 1976, the nonprofit community orchestra consists of approximately 70 talented professional, dedicated amateur, and student musicians, according to Amanda Nelson, general manager for the orchestra.

The KSO performs seven concerts each year, including a free concert each summer at Hopkins Park, a free Halloween concert at NIU’s Boutell Memorial Concert Hall (where their regular season concerts are held), and an annual concert just for school kids and families at the historical Egyptian Theatre. The KSO’s music director and conductor, Linc Smelser, plans concerts that teach, entertain and thrill concertgoers year after year, making live orchestral music accessible to the community.

For more information, visit www.kishorchestra.org.

Kishwaukee Valley Art League

Founded in 1972, the Kishwaukee Valley Art League (KVAL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging the practice and appreciation of the arts and providing art education opportunities for the residents of Sycamore and surrounding communities. Members meet monthly in the HyVee Food Store community room, 2700 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, to see art demonstrations and share their own artistic creations.

In addition to the monthly meetings, the 62 adult and family members have the opportunity to participate in group work sessions and plein air sessions at picturesque area locations and to exhibit their artwork at various venues and shows throughout the year, explained Tamara Shriver, program director. Those exhibiting opportunities include local libraries, The Northern Illinois Art Show held each June and The Holiday Arts & Crafts Market held each November. Members’ artwork is also exhibited on the KVAL website (www.kval.us).

Live Music Venues

Rock bands, country bands and other contemporary music groups often play live throughout our community. P.J.’s Courthouse Tavern, 202 W. State St., for instance, has live entertainment semi-regularly all year-round and features live music on their outdoor patio every Thursday night during the summer. Recently, such bands as The Rock Barn Band, Hudson-McCoy and Red Woody have all performed there. In addition, P.J.’s holds a street dance every June in honor of its anniversary; a Mardi Gras/Crawfish Fest, the Saturday before Fat Tuesday; an Oktoberfest celebration; and a New Year’s Eve Afternoon party.

Cabana Charley’s, 1470 S. Peace Rd., also features live music many weekends, including such bands as Rebel Soul Revival and Destination Unknown.

Egyptian Theatre, (815) 758-1215, Egyptiantheatre.org

Joker’s Bar & Grill, 530 N. Main, has bands regularly. Their recent offerings have included Stoker Red, Whisky Romance and Snap Shot.

Performing Arts Academy, LLC

Encouraging children to appreciate the arts and teaching them the discipline to dance and perform is important if we want to ensure that the arts continue to be valued in the future, according to Jodi Riley, founder, artistic director and co-owner with Christa McGrath of the Performing Arts Academy, LLC, with locations in Sycamore and Rochelle. Their Sycamore studio is located at 212 W. State St.

“We encourage all students to start with ballet because it is the foundation for dance technique. Although we are very ballet-based, we offer hip hop jazz, lyrical, contemporary and aerial silks to children. We have Pilates equipment classes and Pilates Barre classes available to adults,” Riley explained.

Between the two locations they have six dance teachers who each week instruct approximately 150 children between the ages of two and 18. They also have between 20 and 30 adult Pilates students. For more information, call (815) 901-7653 or visit www.sycamoreballet.com.

Stage Coach Players

Those who wish to participate in theatrical endeavors, as well as those who want to enjoy good theater without traveling great distances to do so, have undoubtedly praised the day in 1947 when the Stage Coach Players were formed, holding their first performances in the loft of a barn.

Now in their fourth home at 126 S. 5th St., DeKalb, the Stage Coach Players do eight to 10 performances per year. Recent shows they have produced have included “Nine-to-Five,” Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “The Graduate.” Most shows run on two consecutive weekends for a total of seven or eight performances, according to Todd Toles, past president.

For more information, call (815) 758-1940 or visit www.stagecoachers.com.

Sycamore Park District

Concerts in the Park
This will be the 11th year for the Sycamore Park District’s free summer “Concerts in the Park” series, held on eight Thursday evenings throughout the summer near the Good Tymes Shelter at the Sports Complex (north end of Airport Road, south of the baseball diamonds).

More than 300 people generally attend each concert with their blankets, folding chairs and dinners, libations and snacks, settle back and enjoy music ranging from country to Hispanic Mambo to Motown and 50s and 60s rock ‘n roll, according to Bart Desch, the Sycamore Park District’s Superintendent of Recreation.

“Every year is different. We always include at least one children’s show and are proud to bring back favorites like The Neverly Brothers and The Lisa Rene Band on an almost annual basis. But there is lots of variety, from folk to Cajun Zydeco and beyond. We try not to book local bands that people can hear elsewhere nearby. We try to bring in sounds they wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy.”

To see this year’s concert schedule, visit www.sycamoreparkdistrict.com and click on “What’s New” or call (815) 895-3202.

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