Harper to host free summer concert series

Outdoor Pavilion Free Concert Series Schedule:

June 10: Jeff Hedberg & C11

June 17: PanGo Steel Band 

June 24: Peter Aglinskas

July 1: Harper Jazz Faculty Octet

July 8: Harper Jazz Lab Band

July 15: The Continental String Ensemble

July 22: Harper Guitar Legacy Concert

July 29: Harper Jazz Ensemble

All shows begin at 7:30 p.m.

Live music is returning to Harper College. 

Following the pandemic-forced drought of in-person performances, an array of musicians will retake the Drs. Kenneth and Catherine Ender Pavilion stage on Thursday summer evenings. 

“It’s been a long 15 months,” said Jeff Hedberg, adjunct faculty member, jazz musician and band director. “It’s great to remind the community about the fantastic artists we have on faculty and the groups they arrange.” 

The Outdoor Pavilion Free Concert Series kicks off 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 10, with a set by Hedberg and C11, a 12-piece jazz group dedicated to playing Marty Paich’s “dek-tette” arrangements, once performed with Mel Tormé, Ella Fitzgerald and Sammy Davis Jr. 

The series, which runs through July 29, features additional jazz performances by Harper’s Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Lab Band and Jazz Faculty Octet, as well as concerts by the PanGo Steel Band, solo guitarist Pete Aglinskas, the Continental String Ensemble and a legacy of Harper guitarists. 

When Harper built the outdoor pavilion in 2016 for commencement ceremonies, Music Department Chair Gregory Clemons also saw potential for a performance venue. He said the summer concert series offers multiple benefits, including showcasing talented Harper faculty and students, supporting Harper-connected musicians who are part of the “gig economy,” and encouraging the community to enjoy live music in a beautiful setting. 

“The music department is a perfect department to engage the community,” said Clemons, who’s also a music professor and the director of bands, the wind symphony and chamber winds. He described the summer concert series as a “mini Ravinia.” 

Jeff Hedberg and C11Clemons and the music department piloted the series with a handful of concerts in 2019. Based on the positive response, they were planning a larger slate in 2020 when COVID-19 intervened. He thinks this summer series is a great reason for folks to return to campus and enjoy a performance while being appropriately distanced on the lawn. All attendees need to bring is a blanket or chairs and their picnic basket if desired. 

“It’s a good time to start,” Clemons said. “There’s enough room to do this safely.” 

Fans of live music may be excited at the prospect, and so are the performers. Hedberg, who directs the Faculty Octet and Jazz Ensemble in addition to singing with C11, said he’s never had an easier time lining up 12 musicians for a gig. 

“It was, instantly, ‘Yes! Yes! Please! Let’s play some music!” he laughed. “For most of the group, it’s their first live booking” since March 2020.  

Clemons said he hopes that kind of excitement will continue to make the series an annual fixture on Harper’s campus. He’d like to add concessions in future years and build a summer music tradition.   

The Outdoor Pavilion Free Concert Series at Harper College will take place 7:30 p.m. Thursdays from June 10 through July 29 at the outdoor pavilion. Admission is free and open to the public. Attendees are advised to bring their own blankets or lawn chairs and park in lot 14 off the Roselle Road entrance due to sidewalk maintenance and pavement work on the north side of campus. Restrooms are available in nearby campus buildings. In case of bad weather, concerts will be moved to the J Theatre, J143. For more information, call the Harper Box Office at 847.925.6100 or visit events.harpercollege.edu. 

Individuals with disabilities who would like to request an accommodation or who have questions about physical access may email ads@harpercollege.edu or call 847.925.6266 at least two weeks in advance of the event date.

Last Updated: 8/20/21