News Column

Music takes over Normal

June 22, 2014

By Pat Shaver, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.



June 22--NORMAL -- Acoustic rock tunes, ukulele jams and jazz music filled the air throughout Normal Saturday.

The first-ever Make Music Normal festival featured more than 20 free performances at five locations in Normal all day, with musicians playing all day. Similar festivals rocked about 800 cities around the world.

Trumpeter Simon Burke and pianist Tom Becker, both of Bloomington, played as the Aduki Duo, performing a mix of folk, jazz and blues on a stage between Uptown Station and the Children's Discovery Museum.

The two have performed in other groups, but never together, Burke said.

"I don't think we have anywhere near enough live music in the area," said Burke, who started playing publicly as a street performer in Liverpool, England.

Laurel Kutash lives near uptown Normal and walked there to check out the music.

"I like going to anything that is close to me that I can walk to," she said. "There is quite a bit of variety with the music."

Kutash hopes the music festival becomes an annual event, which is the hope of town officials.

"This is happening right here in your own backyard," Kutash said, as an acoustic act played near the intersection of Broadway and North Street.

Eric "Bones" Bach of Bloomington played classic cover songs and original music on the CDM stage in a solo act that featured acoustic guitar, a neck-strap harmonica and kazoo.

"I think music is what makes the world go round. It keeps people young," Bach said as he prepared to go on stage. "Music is a universal language."

Performances also took place at Connie Link Amphitheatre, Rosa Park Commons and outside the Normal Public Library.

Amy Trimble of Bloomington was especially interested in seeing the ukulele performances.

"I just like music in general. Anything that is about promoting local and live music, I'm all about it," she said. "This is a great event and I hope it grows."

Such events are good ways to expose children to live music, she said.

"Local musicians are real; the stuff you hear on the radio is not personable," Trimble said. "This is the kind of stuff that needs to be going on in our area."

Jim Callahan of Bloomington, who performed Irish tunes on the ukulele, playing solo in the morning and joining the Normal Ukulele Fun Jam in the afternoon.

"With live music, it's always difficult to provide venues for people to play. This is a great opportunity to support musicians," he said. "This keeps music alive and keeps people interested in live music."

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(c)2014 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.)

Visit The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.) at www.pantagraph.com

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Source: Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL)


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