News & Events

  • Win FREE Tickets to Mucca Pazza
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    Win FREE Tickets to Mucca PazzaFill out the form below to win 2 FREE tickets to Mucca Pazza!

    Mucca Pazza is a marching band that thinks it’s a rock and roll band! Mucca Pazza assembled itself in a steel mill parking lot along the Chicago river. Combining marching band traditions and street theater experience with rock band sensibilities, Mucca Pazza quickly found a home for its 30-odd members in the thriving Chicago underground music scene. Their eccentric, frenetic visual presence, and genre-bending original compositions earned them critical praise and a loyal local following. Before long, with their live show’s reputation preceding them, Mucca Pazza began to branch out nationally, appearing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and performing at numerous national music festivals like Lollapalooza, Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors and the Montreal Jazz Fest.

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    What the Press has to say about Mucca Pazza

    “Clowning constantly but playing precisely, Mucca Pazza’s compositions invoke a world of brass bands and marching bands, from American high-school style to zigzagging Balkan tunes to something akin to a Fellini soundtrack – fun in a relentless way.”
    – The New York Times

    “Chicago’s Mucca Pazza splits the difference between Balkan gypsy brass bands and American football-game-style halftime marching bands with a brilliantly calculated mondo-bizarro dementia, and liberal amounts of humor.”
    – The Wall Street Journal

    “Wearing mismatched, thrift-shop marching-band getups and sporting a full range of brass, drums, violin, accordion and electric guitar — plus a gaggle of nerdy cheerleaders (“I Heart A Scientist,” proclaimed one’s T-shirt) — Mucca Pazza wreaks visual havoc onstage. But here’s the surprise: It also puts on an incredibly tight performance, with music that’s an irresistible blend of punk DIY aesthetics, a Balkan brass lilt and the irrepressible energy of good old-fashioned American high-school marching bands.”
    – NPR Music

    “Seeing this irresistible band of horns and violins, guitars and accordion all parade in and eventually take the stage is infectious, chaotic fun. But it’s also an incredibly coordinated and choreographed performance full of cheers and bursting with energy that is easy to get caught up in.” – WNYC

    “John Philip Sousa would not be amused.”
    – Chicago Tribune



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  • The Gatlin Brothers Perform at Freedom Hall on October 17
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    I want to thank you for choosing to attend the performance by Larry Gatlin on October 17 which opens our 2017 series. Regrettably, on Friday, September 29, I was contacted by the agent for Larry Gatlin with the news that Larry was undergoing surgery and would have to cancel all his performances until mid-November. We will be replacing Larry’s performance with his brothers Steve & Rudy of The Gatlin Brothers. The official notification follows –


    Larry Gatlin to Undergo Vocal Cord and Back Surgery 

    The Gatlin Brothers Perform at Freedom Hall on October 17Nashville, Tenn. (September 29, 2017) — Legendary country music singer/songwriter Larry Gatlin has been put on immediate vocal rest in advance of mandatory vocal cord surgery. The procedure is scheduled for October 11 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and will be performed by world-renowned otolaryngologist, Dr. Robert Ossoff.

    In addition, Larry will undergo two minor back surgeries, scheduled for October 2. Larry is expected to make a complete and full recovery and will resume personal appearances and performances beginning Wednesday, November 15 in Branson, MO.

    Since my first concern was for Larry’s health, I was glad to learn that his surgery was something from which he would quickly recover. But on the other hand, we were in a position to find a replacement show on the caliber of having Larry Gatlin on our stage. I am happy to let you know that a few guys with the last name of Gatlin have stepped up and will be at Freedom Hall on October 17 for an 11 a.m. performance. Steve and Rudy Gatlin (plus one more musician) were gracious enough to cover Larry’s shows while he is healing and I am honored and looking forward to having them here. Of course this is not the show you had purchased tickets for so if you opted to not attend, you are welcome to contact our box office for refund or exchange information.

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  • JAM Session for all musicians in Park Forest
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    JAM Session for all musicians in Park ForestOn Sunday, March 26 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., the Village of Park Forest will host a jam session for all musicians and creative types. This cool event will be at Dining on the Green, 319 Main Street in Park Forest, IL. The event is free and the public is invited to participate or observe.

    A JAM session is a relatively informal musical event, a gathering of musicians and artists improvising together. To “jam” is to improvise without extensive preparation or predefined arrangements except for when the group is playing well-known standards or covers of existing popular songs. The jam session will be led by Park Forest resident and Prairie State music professor, Valerie Nicholson.

    If you play an instrument, rhyme, paint, draw, produce body performance art or if you just enjoy being around good old-fashioned creative folks, come be a part of the first ever Intergalactic JAM Experience! The JAM stands for Jazz (and other genres), Art, and Mayhem (controlled of course!). Our goal is to allow positive creative energy to flow!

    If you would like more information about the jam session, please call Chuck Sabey at 708-747-0580 or e-mail Chuck at

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  • Award winning Tom Sharpe Ensemble in concert at Freedom Hall
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    Tom Sharpe Ensemble in concert at Freedom HallOn Friday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m., the 2017 Freedom Hall Series will present the Tom Sharpe Ensemble.

    Tom Sharpe is an internationally recognized, award-winning composer, performer, and recording artist. He is a sought out clinician and performer of his own works, and the artistic director and principal performer of the Tom Sharpe Ensemble. Along with his own music, Tom is the drummer for the widely popular, Grammy award winning group, MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER. Over his career, Tom has performed live as a solo artist, with his ensemble, with Mannheim Steamroller, and with Dennis DeYoung of the famed rock group Styx, as well as guest appearances with Lenny Kravitz, Martha Davis of the Motels, Martina McBride, American Idol favorite David Archuletta, and select US tour dates with singing supergroup IL DIVO.

    Tom Sharpe’s music is a percussive symphony – a sonic and visual feast for the senses. A classically trained musician, Tom has dramatically blended his orchestral background with world music instrumentation to create an experience that invites the listener into the heart of the musical moment. His music could be described as wildly emotional and technically precise, with a gutsy edge of percussive frenzy and tribal ritual. He is accompanied by his ensemble featuring Amanda Nelson (electric cello), Jeff Elbel (fretless bass), Theresa Brooks (bassoon), and Kelly Langenberg (horn).

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  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo Concert at Freedom Hall
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    Ladysmith Black Mambazo Concert at Freedom HallOn Sunday, February 12 at 3 p.m., the 2017 Freedom Hall Series will present the internationally acclaimed a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo concert.

    Ladysmith Black Mambazo has been nominated for a GRAMMY® Award in the “Best World Music Album” category for their first studio recording in five years: Walking In The Footsteps Of Our Fathers. The new collection of 15 songs illuminates Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s awe-inspiring talents as the world’s most beloved vocal ensemble. In celebration of the album’s release, Ladysmith Black Mambazo embarks on a 41-city North American Tour, including a performance at Freedom Hall.

    Designated as “South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors to the World” by the late great South African President Nelson Mandela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been on a mission to spread peace, love and harmony all around the world through song. Walking In The Footsteps Of Our Fathers is dedicated to the founding members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo as well as the many people who have helped South Africa find its way to the better country it is becoming.

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  • Freedom Hall Celebrates 40th Anniversary
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    Freedom Hall Celebrates 40th AnniversaryThe 40th year of the Freedom Hall Series is well underway, opening in late September with comedian Tom Dreesen playing to a sold-out house. And since that show we have hosted Blues vocalist Shemekia Copeland, Musicians Hall of Fame Inductee Booker T., a Johnny Cash Tribute show, and for something from across the ocean, the Massenkoff Russian Folk Festival. Additionally, Freedom Hall hosted the Village of Park Forest’s Veterans Day program featuring numerous dignitaries speaking and a concert by the 144th Army Band. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the array of gifted artists who have performed here and being able to interact with so many wonderful patrons who attend our shows!

    We approach the holiday season with Masters of Soul visiting Freedom Hall on December 2 (SOLD OUT) for their 4th year in our series. The Masters of Soul pay tribute to the Motown era and do an outstanding job capturing the sound and choreography of the groups like the Temptations, Four Tops, Diana Ross, and Gladys Knight just to name a few who put out so many great hits during the 1960’s and ‘70’s.

    On Tuesday, December 6 at 11 a.m. as part of our matinee series, we will present a new artist to Freedom Hall, Cheryse McLeod Lewis. Her show is called Then Sings My Soul Christmas: Songs and Spirituals from the American Experience.

    About Cheryse – Commended for her “stunning vocal power” (Asheville Citizen Times) and “rich lyric mezzo sound” (Opera News Online), Cheryse McLeod Lewis sings a beautiful program that celebrates the rich musical history of America. Ms. Lewis brings to life stunning spirituals, popular Broadway favorites, beloved jazz standards and holiday classics.

    Cheryse McLeod Lewis is an award-winning performing artist who has created a uniquely diverse performance career in opera, Broadway, and concert. Trained as a classical singer, Ms. Lewis has performed with opera companies and symphonies across the United States. She has also performed on the 1st National Broadway Tour of The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess (2013-2014) as understudy for Bess. She appeared in the title role (Bess) numerous times to critical acclaim.

    Tickets for Cheryse McLeod Lewis are $15 and can be purchased at Freedom Hall or by calling the box office at 708/747-0580. Freedom Hall is located at 410 Lakewood Boulevard in Park Forest, IL.

    After the holidays to start the New Year, we look forward to presenting Ladysmith Black Mambazo on February 12.  And we are thrilled to have Tom Sharpe perform on Friday, March 10, 2017. Please check out all the shows in our lineup and contact soon if you are interested in attending one or more, several are already approaching sold-out status. Though our patrons tell us that all seats are good seats in the Nathan Manilow Theatre, if you reserve your ticket earlier there is better chance to get seats in the location you prefer!

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  • Memories of Meeting Booker T.
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    Booker T. at Freedom Hall November 5One of the many pleasures of “working” at Freedom Hall is meeting the artists we present. Occasionally in our lineup are artists who have attained a status of legend, their body of work prolific and fresh over time, influencing many others in their careers. Booker T. is one gentleman I would consider a legend and we have the honor of bringing him back to Freedom Hall on November 5. Booker T. is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Musicians Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and arguably the most famous Hammond B3 player in history.

    He performed here last year and I was pleasantly surprised by his set list and how he introduced his selections. His show was something of a retrospective on his life and career. For example, Booker T. shared how when he was young he and his buddies loved the blues and would hop a train to Chicago to go see let’s say, Albert King. Then Booker played Albert King’s Pretty Woman! He reminisced about being at the Monterey Pop Festival and listening to Jimi Hendrix play Hey Joe, then Booker and his band launched into a ripping version of the song. Booker mentioned meeting Prince at an awards ceremony hearing him play Purple Rain, then they played that song in tribute to the great artist.

    Booker T. Jones performs Green Onions
    at “Live from Daryl’s House”.

    Of course Booker T. played his hits like Green Onions, Time is Tight and Hang “Em High. But he also stepped away from the Hammond B3 organ and picked up a guitar, playing quite well! As I have learned more about Booker T., playing many instruments is something he is quite deft at. Beyond the wonderful show he and his band put on at Freedom Hall, just looking at his history is to know I was in the presence of music royalty. As leader of the legendary Booker T and the MG’s, this pillar of soul music collaborated with Otis Redding, Albert King, Eddie Floyd and Sam and Dave during his tenure at the renowned Stax Records label. Since then, Booker has lent his trademark keyboard chops to artists as diverse as Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Neil Young and produced classic albums such as Willie Nelson’s triple platinum hit “Stardust” and Bill Withers’ “Just As I Am” featuring the hit song “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Booker’s 2009 solo release, “Potato Hole” won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album in 2009.


    Booker T. Performs at Freedom Hall on November 5

    Booker T will be performing again at Freedom Hall on Saturday, November 5. If you don’t have any plans that evening, I encourage you to check out this masterful concert. Tickets are $35 and available online, or by calling the box office at 708.747.0580. Freedom Hall is located at 410 Lakewood Boulevard in Park Forest, IL.


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  • Freedom Hall Concerts for the 2016 Season
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    Freedom Hall ConcertsThe Freedom Hall concerts for the 2016 season is off to a great start! We kicked off the season with Grammy nominee, Shemekia Copeland. Shemekia played to an almost sold-out crowd at Freedom Hall on January 22. Our senior series kicked off in February with one of the greatest bands of all time – The Glenn Miller Orchestra. The audience was in awe of the band. And our children’s theatre production in February was Chicken Dance by the ArtsPower National Touring Theatre.

    Freedom Hall Concerts in March

    On March 11th, Shining Star, an Earth, Wind and Fire Tribute will be performing at Freedom Hall. This show SOLD OUT months ago. Eleven talented vocalists and musicians will join forces to present A Tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire, celebrating four decades of one of the most successful musical stories ever told. This amazing tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire’s music is based on the 1970’s thru 1980’s. The show’s playlist has been hailed as the definitive collection of Earth, Wind & Fire’s top charting hits, including the best loved songs such as “After The Love Is Gone”, “Sing A Song”, “September”, “Shining Star”, along with disco tracks, “Boogie Wonderland”, and “Let’s Groove Tonight”.

    On March 15, we will present the SOLD OUT show, A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline. A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline appeals to all ages. It blends theatre and music into a magical day that audiences of all ages will enjoy. The popularity of Patsy Cline’s music is witnessed by the fact that she is the number one juke-box play in the world. Twenty of her best-known songs, played by a live band, make this show a treat for the young and old alike.

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  • Blues Singer Shemekia Copeland in Concert at Freedom Hall
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    Blues Singer Shemekia CopelandOn Friday, January 22 at 7:30 p.m., the Freedom Hall Series will feature Blues/soul/roots singing sensation Shemekia Copeland. Shemekia’s recently released CD, Outskirts Of Love, received a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Blues Album category from the Recording Academy. Winners will be announced in Los Angeles on February 15, 2016. This is Copeland’s third Grammy nomination. Copeland, the reigning “Queen Of The Blues,” also appears on Muddy Waters 100, a various artists tribute album also nominated for Best Blues Album.

    Whether she’s belting out a raucous blues-rocker, firing up a blistering soul-shouter, bringing the spirit to a gospel-fueled R&B rave-up or digging deep down into a subtle, country-tinged ballad, Shemekia Copeland sounds like no one else. With a voice that is alternately sultry, assertive and roaring, Shemekia’s wide-open vision of contemporary blues, roots and soul music showcases the evolution of a passionate artist with a modern musical and lyrical approach. The Chicago Tribune says Copeland delivers “gale force singing and power” with a “unique, gutsy style, vibrant emotional palette and intuitive grasp of the music.” NPR Music calls her “fiercely expressive”.

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  • Freedom Hall 2016 Season Begins with Shemekia Copeland
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    Freedom Hall 2016 SeasonFreedom Hall 2016 Season is sure to be a hit! Dubbed as the new “Queen of the Blues,” Shemekia Copeland will kick off our season on Friday, January 22, 2016. Shemekia is a headliner at the Chicago Blues Festival, she has opened for the Rolling Stones, shared the stage with Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton. And she just received her third Grammy nomination in the Best Blues Album category. The winners will be announced in Los Angeles on February 15, 2016. If you like blues music, you’ll love Shemekia Copeland. Tickets are $30 and available online or by calling our box office at 708.747.0580.

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