There’s so much to do in our region! Here’s a look at what’s coming up this season at some of the many arts venues near you.
A Shining Night of Barber
Nov. 1, pre-concert lecture 6:30 p.m., concert 7:30 p.m. Regional musicians perform compositions by American composer Samuel Barber, showcasing the breadth of his work. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Mendelssohn Hall, 406 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Mo Pitney & Bradley Walker
Nov. 1, 7 p.m. The annual Perry Pitney Memorial Concert, featuring country music performers Mo Pitney and Bradley Walker, with a special opening by Perry’s son, Luke. Rockford Rescue Mission, 715 E. State. St., Rockford, (815) 965-5332, rockfordrescuemission.org.
Janesville Fall Festival
Nov. 2, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. More than 90 vendors come together to help you get a head start on holiday
shopping. The Pontiac Convention Center, 2809 N. Pontiac Dr., Janesville, (608) 931-7095, pontiaccc.com.
Pam Tillis Acoustic Trio
Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m. Country music star Tillis plays her biggest hits, including “Maybe it was Memphis,” “Spilled Perfume” and “Mi Vida Loca.” Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, 930 W. Main St., Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m. The legendary escape artist and illusionist presents an evening of grand illusions, dangerous escapes, inspiring stories and Bengal tigers up close. Coronado Performing Arts Center (PAC), 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Nov. 3, 3-5 p.m. A frequent performer at the Butterfly Club and the Stockholm Inn, Mike Williamson entertains with songs from his repertoire, including his new CD, “Now You’re Here.” Spring Creek United Church of Christ, 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m. Winner of eight Tony Awards, “Once” tells the tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m. George Orwell’s science fiction classic, where Big Brother is watching everything and everyone. Aquila Theatre Company, Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
Andrew & His Sisters
Nov. 6-7, see website for times. Enjoy a 1940s-era show with Andrews Sisters-style tunes and choreography; featuring favorites such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “In the Mood” and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.” White Pines Resort, 6712 W. Pines Road, Mt. Morris, Ill., (815) 946-3817, whitepinesinn.com.
Laughs for Literacy
Nov. 8, 6 p.m. An evening of comedy and music, featuring The Human Jukebox, a 50/50 raffle and prize drawings; hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine bar, and desserts. The Literacy Council, University of Illinois College of Medicine-Rockford, 1601 Parkview Ave., Rockford, (815) 963-7323, theliteracycouncil.org.
Nov. 8-10, Fri. 7 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m., 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. Anna and Elsa star in this Disney classic. Children’s Theater Project, The Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main St., Rockford. Info: rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
Nov. 8-10 & 15-17, check website for times. New Yorker Tommy Albright unexpectedly arrives in the mysterious Scottish highland village of Brigadoon, which appears for one day every 100 years. Shall he stay with Fiona, a beautiful villager, or return to his old life? Main Street Players, Community Building Complex of Boone County, 111 W. 1st St., Belvidere, (800) 741-2963, mainstreetplayersofboonecounty.com.
Nov. 9, 11 a.m. Family concert featuring Ken Lonnquist and Doug Brown, who celebrate all things Wisconsin, including its folklore, natural places, the Packers and cheese. Monroe Arts Center (MAC), 1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
Chip Messiner Tribute Show
Nov. 9, 7 p.m. Back for his fourth appearance, Messiner’s vocals are a remarkable match for the legendary John Denver. Spring Creek United Church of Christ, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
Nov. 9, 7 p.m. At Selina Trepp’s participatory art installation, “I Work With What I Have,” Rockford-area musicians translate the movements and gestures in her three wall-sized silent animations into music. Using a variety of instruments, they concentrate on rhythm, melody and harmony. New Genres Art Space at Nordlof Center, (815) 721-9120, newgenresartspace.com.
RSO: Mozart’s Requiem & His Final Year
Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. The symphony performs Mozart’s “Overture to the Magic Flute,” “Clarinet Concerto in A major” and “Requiem” (Levin edition), with featured clarinetist Darleen Carl-Beck. RSO, Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
BJSO: Faure Requiem
Nov 10, 2 p.m. Featuring Beloit College Choirs and Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra. Beloit College Eaton Chapel, 700 College St., Beloit, (608) 363-2755, beloit.edu.
Judy Moody & Stink
Nov. 15, 7 p.m. Judy Moody is in a swivel; after seeing her classmate’s picture in the newspaper, she sets off to find fame and happiness, while brother Stink and his foul-smelling sneakers are vying for the coveted Golden Clothespin Award. Fun, mystery, sibling rivalry and friendship. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
The Piano Guys
Nov. 15, 8 p.m. Entertaining with an original blend of classical music and pop, the Piano Guys have performed on The Tonight Show and the Today Show. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Wisconsin Brass Quintet
Nov. 17, 2 p.m. The acclaimed quintet has maintained a position at the forefront of brass chamber music since the group’s founding in 1972. MAC, Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
Anton Natwich Trio
Nov. 17, 3 p.m. A Chicago-based group specializing in jazz and improvised music, playing compositions inspired by Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Sun Ra and Steve Lacy. MPAC, Starr Center, 415 N. Church St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
The Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel
Nov. 20-21, see website for times. Enjoy an evening of the iconic music of the famous duo, including “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “The Sound of Silence” and “Scarborough Fair.” White Pines, Mt. Morris, Ill., (815) 946-3817, whitepinesinn.com.
“35MM: A Musical Exhibition”
Nov. 21-24, Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what about a song? Can a picture inspire a song? In 35mm, a multimedia musical, each photo creates a unique song, moments frozen in time, a glimpse of something happening. This intricately woven collection of stories told through song re-imagines what the modern American musical can be. Maddox Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.
Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m. Four women musicians and educators, using traditional and non-traditional instruments from each of their different countries, produce Latin American music with a modern twist. Charlotte’s Web, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Third Eye Blind
Nov. 22, 8 p.m. Rocking for more than two decades, this group is fresh off the release of its seventh full-length album, “Screamer.” Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!”
Nov. 22-Dec. 8, Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 & 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. A couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is challenged with casting the Herdman kids, leading to mayhem and fun. Pec Playhouse Theatre, 314 Main St., Pecatonica, Ill, (815) 239-1210, pecplayhouse.org.
Dueling Pianos: Piano Fondue
Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m. Two entertainers play your requests for an evening of lively entertainment. Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 408 S. Main St., Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Four Guyz in Dinner Jackets
Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m. Relive the doo-wop, pop, rock and bubble gum that was American music from the ’50s through the ’70s in this performance of “Now in Technicolor.” MAC, Monroe, (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
Broadway: “The Jersey Boys”
Nov. 23, 8 p.m. The story of how four blue-collar kids formed The Four Seasons and became one of the greatest successes in pop music history; with hits such as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Nov. 23-24, 10 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. When the Trolls’ Hug Time is put at risk, Poppy, Branch and friends put on a super party to save it. BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
Avalon String Quartet
Nov. 24, 3 p.m. Back for their ninth season, the quartet celebrates Beethoven’s 250th birthday by performing his string quartets with some newly composed transitions between the works. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Brew & View
Nov. 27, 8-10 p.m. Kick back and relax while watching throwback movies and enjoying craft beer and popcorn. Rock County Brewing Company, JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
“Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus”
Nov. 29-Dec. 8, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Inspired by a poignant letter written over 100 years ago by an 8-year-old girl named Virginia, to the editor of the New York Sun, and its response. Byron Civic Theater, Byron Middle School, 850 N. Colfax St., Byron, Ill., (815) 312-3000, bctmagic.com.
Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 3 p.m. A Rockford tradition for more than 70 years, the Rockford Choral Union presents Handel’s classic song about the life of Jesus Christ. Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 920 3rd Ave., Rockford, rockfordchoralunion.com.
Music on Main: Lydia Bruhn
Dec. 2, 5:30 p.m. Ms. Bruhn holds degrees in horn performance and has performed with many area orchestras and symphonies. MPAC, Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
“Every Brilliant Thing”
Dec. 5-15, Thu.-Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 4 & 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. A small boy is worried about his sad mom, so he starts a list to remind her of every brilliant thing in life, such as ice cream and rollercoasters. As he grows, so does the list, taking on a life of its own, until it changes everything. Artists’ Ensemble (AE), Cheek Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
Alpine Carol Sing & Tree Lighting
Dec. 6, 7 p.m. Help light 100 candles on a freshly cut Christmas tree, sing carols and enjoy holiday treats. Turner Hall of Monroe, 1217 17th Ave. Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-3461, turnerhallofmonroe.com.
Winter Concert: Silent Night, Holy Night
Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m. Join the choirs of Rockford University and Rock Valley College for a program of songs about night, featuring holiday and non-holiday music, including Rheinberger’s “Abendlied” and Lauridsen’s “Sure on this Shining Night” as well as beautiful arrangements of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “Stille Nacht” and “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Maddox Theatre, Rockford University, Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.
Dec. 6-8, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. A show filled with holiday spirit and fun. Mighty Richland Players, 203 W. High St., Orangeville, Ill., (815) 819-1310, mightyrichlandplayers.org.
“It’s a Wonderful Life”
Dec. 6-8 & 20-21, see website for times. Clarence, Angel Second Class, is sent to Bedford Falls to help George Bailey, who is at the end of his rope and needs a miracle. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Christmas on the Creek
Dec. 7, 7 p.m. Back by popular demand, Rockford’s barbershop singers, the Second City Chorus, celebrate with an evening of harmony and humor. Concerts on the Creek, Spring Creek UCC, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
RSO: The Nutcracker Ballet
Dec. 7-8, Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. The Rockford Dance Company performs this holiday classic, with professional lead dancers, to the music of Tchaikovsky, performed by the symphony. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
Kenny & Dolly Christmas Tribute
Dec. 10-11, 11:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Enjoy the top songs and humor of the famous duo, with Christmas music sprinkled in. Buffet available. Tickets online. Starved Rock Lodge, 2688 E. 873rd Road, Oglesby, Ill., (815) 220-7386, starvedrocklodge.com.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m. See Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Abominable Snow Monster, Yukon Cornelius, and your other favorite characters from the TV classic, as they show that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Dec. 13 & 15, Fri. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. This traditional family concert warms your heart with music of the holiday season. Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra (KSO), Boutell Concert Hall, 550 Lucinda Ave., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 756-3728, kishorchestra.org.
Jim Brickman – A Christmas Celebration
Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m. This family-friendly concert joins pianist Brickman and his special guests, who together perform holiday favorites. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. Seasonal classics and holiday tunes with an Americana twist, played by The Mascot Theory, Kerosene Kites and Lost Lakes. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. Featuring the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra, performing Humperdinck’s “Prelude to Hansel and Gretel,” Stephenson’s “Trumpet Concerto No. 3” and Tchaikovsky’s, “Symphony No. 2.” Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra, Hononegah Performing Arts Center, 307 Salem St., Rockton, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
The Ring of Kerry
Dec. 15, 2 p.m. Named after the beautiful craggy drive in southwestern County Kerry, the group entertains with energetic Irish music. Historic Turner Hall, 115 S. Bench St., Galena, Ill., (815) 777-9050, galenachamber.com.
BJSO: Holiday Pops
Dec. 15, 2 p.m. An evening of your favorite seasonal music. Beloit Janesville Symphony (BJSO), JPAC, Janesville, (608) 313-1200, beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” Radio Play
Dec. 18, 7 p.m. It’s Christmas Eve 1945 and only a handful of WVL Radio’s employees have braved the blizzard to perform the live broadcast and keep the station afloat. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
“A Christmas Carol – the Musical”
Dec. 20, 7 p.m. All ages enjoy this classic holiday tale. Children’s Theater Project, Nordlof Center, Rockford. Info: rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
AE: “It’s a Wonderful Life” Radio Play
Dec. 20-22, Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 4 & 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. It’s Christmas Eve 1945 and only a handful of WVL Radio’s employees have braved the blizzard to perform the live broadcast and keep the station afloat. Artists’ Ensemble, Rockford University, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
RSO: Holiday Pops
Dec. 21-22, Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. A family concert featuring holiday carols and seasonal arrangements performed by the symphony and chorale. RSO, Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
JPAC’s One Act Festival
Jan. 9-11, 7:30 p.m. The festival showcases a variety of short plays produced by local playwrights, directors and actors. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Jeff Dunham: Seriously!?
Jan. 11, 5 p.m. Comedian, ventriloquist and actor Dunham performs with his cast of somewhat inappropriate characters, including Peanut, Walter, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, Bubba J, and José Jalapeno. BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
Brews & Views: “Coming to America”
Jan. 15, 7:30 p.m. The Element Film Series presents retro-classic film programming tailored primarily to the tastes of film fans who grew up in the era spanning the 70s to 90s. Prairie Street Brewing Company, 200 Prairie St., Rockford, theelementrockford.com.
Dueling Pianos: Piano Fondue
Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m. Two baby grand pianos, two professional entertainers and audience-supplied requests make for an entertaining evening. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
The Elvis Tribute
Jan. 17, 8 p.m. Celebrating the King’s music, beginning with the early rock-a-billy years, moving through the military and movie years, the 1968 comeback special and the Las Vegas years. Featuring Shawn Klush, Cody Ray Slaughter and Ryan Pelton; with special guest, award-winning gospel group The Blackwood Quartet. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
RSO: C3: Frankenstein & Mozart
Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m. The program features Robbins Coleman’s “For a Beautiful Land,” H. K. Gruber’s “Frankenstein” and Mozart’s “Symphony No. 39 in E flat, K. 453.” RSO, Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
Tastes & Tunes: Willy Porter
Jan. 18, 8 p.m. Celebrate Wisconsin’s singer/songwriter community with the acoustic music and storytelling of Porter; sample craft beers from 7:30-8 p.m. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Broadway: “The Color Purple”
Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m. The 2016 Tony winner for Best Musical Revival is a joyous classic about a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American South. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
PJ Masks Live: Save The Day!
Jan. 23, 6:30 p.m. Based on eOne’s top-rated animated series airing daily on Disney Junior, the new show features preschoolers’ favorite superheroes and familiar songs from the popular show, along with brand-new music and a whole new adventure. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Orchesis & Rockford City Dance Concert
Jan. 23-25, 7:30 p.m. Produced in collaboration with various local artists, in honor of Orchesis’ founder Prof. Jayne Poor, artist and educator. Maddox Theatre, Rockford University, Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.
“Tales of Our Farms”
Jan. 24-26, Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m. This locally written play is based on true stories of life on the farm in Rock County. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
National Ballet of Odessa: Swan Lake
Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m. This full-scale production, set to Tchaikovsky’s music, and based on the German legend, follows a heroic young prince as he works to free the beautiful swan maiden from an evil spell. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Lewis Black: “It Gets Better Every Day”
Jan. 30, 8 p.m. Lewis Black’s live performances provide a cathartic release of anger and disillusionment for his audience. He’s a rare comic who can cause an audience to laugh while making compelling points about the absurdity of our world. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m. Three Grammy award-winning artists explore Emily Dickinson’s poetry through works of vocal music. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.