To introduce its faculty to downtown Evanston workers and residents, the Music Institute of Chicago is offering free lunchtime concerts and conversation one Wednesday each month.

The concerts will be held in the institute’s new home at 1702 Sherman Ave. Lunch is available for purchase from the Pret A Manger Kiosk, and free coffee will be served.

Kicking off the series Wednesday, Sept. 25, is jazz and classical pianist Ron Surace, who will perform jazz standards and some of his original compositions.

He has performed extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. He is narrator/pianist with the Concertani di Chicago Orchestra, Atlanta Pops Orchestra, and the Huntsville Symphony and has performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra (Ray McKinley), Bob Crosby, Ralph Marteri, Si Zentner, and the Bob Hope and Steve Allen road show orchestras. He is director/pianist of the “In Full Swing” jazz orchestra.

“We have received such a warm welcome from the community since relocating our headquarters to downtown Evanston this summer,” Music Institute President and CEO Mark George said in a statement.

“Our Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA) and Musical Theater program are already serving segments of the Evanston community. We are now pleased to present a free lunchtime concert series for the entire community, particularly our new neighbors in downtown Evanston. These informal performances will feature our spectacular artist faculty.”

“Evanston is an arts-friendly city. I am truly appreciative of the assistance we received from the City of Evanston’s Economic Development Division,” George added. The Music Institute of Chicago plans to be in Evanston for a very long time.”

Other free lunchtime concerts include:

  • Oct. 23: Rae-Myra Hilliard, Soprano and Louise Chan, Piano. Excerpts from “Seasons Change: Music written by Black American Composers”
  • Nov. 13: Michael Buckwalter, French horn, Chelsea French, trombone, Amy Larsen, trumpet, and Mark George, piano. Brass Chamber Music.
  • Dec. 11: Aimee Biasiello, viola, Kathy Lee, piano, and Ellen McSweeney, violin. Chamber Music.
  • Jan. 22: Mark George, piano and Almita Vamos, violin. Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op 80.
  • Feb. 12: Mary Drews, piano and Shigetoshi Yamada, violin. Fritz Kreisler compositions and arrangements.
  • March 19: Fred Simon, jazz piano with Music Institute guests. Program TBD.
  • April 23: Winds Chamber Music.
  • May 21: Eric Sutz, jazz piano.
  • June 11: Alexander Djordjevic, piano. Schubert’s Impromptus.

Top: The Music Institute’s new headquarters are on the lower level of the Evanston Galleria building at 1702 Sherman Ave.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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