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  • Cyber Monday
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    Cyber Monday

    $5.00 OFF MAIN SERIES SHOWS!

    Cyber Monday Special – Get $5 OFF Unforgettable: Falling in Love with Nat King Cole or Mokoomba. Simply, fill out the form below and our box office will call you back to process your order with the best seats available.

    Unforgettable: Falling in Love with Nat King Cole

    Friday, February 2, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.
    Tickets $30 – Cyber Monday $25

    Mokoomba

    Friday, March 16, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.
    Tickets $25 – Cyber Monday $20

    Check out our season schedule to view all the shows coming to Freedom Hall in 2018.

     

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    Cyber Monday

     

     

     

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  • Toronzo Cannon Blues Concert at Freedom Hall
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    toronzo-cannonToronzo Cannon Blues concert at Freedom Hall on November 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online or by calling our box office at 708.747.0580.

    Blues Concert with Toronzo Cannon

    Since the release of The Chicago Way, contemporary blues guitarist/vocalist/songwriter (and Chicago Transit Authority bus driver) Toronzo Cannon has become one of Chicago’s most acclaimed next-generation bluesmen. He’s earned his fame through the overwhelming response to his album, the sheer force of his music, his original songs, and his live charisma.
    Cannon’s unofficial launch from local hero to national star took place at the Chicago Blues Festival, where Toronzo Cannon performed as a festival headliner.

    Powerhouse television station WGN won a local Emmy Award for their six-minute feature story on the hometown bluesman. Public Television’s WTTW interviewed Cannon on multiple occasions, and local CBS, FOX and ABC affiliates all featured him and his band. The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine ran in-depth stories on Toronzo. CNN filmed Cannon leading a tour of Chicago blues clubs and then broadcast the piece around the world. England’s MOJO magazine declared The Chicago Way the #1 Best Blues Album Of 2016, as did the readers of Living Blues magazine in their annual poll. The album and Cannon were also nominated for four Blues Music Awards (the Grammy of the blues) in 2017. And the world champion Chicago Cubs invited Cannon to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the September 13, 2017 game.

    The Chicago Way contains nothing but Cannon originals and is powered by his blazing guitar and soul-baring vocals. His songwriting is inspired by his deep, homegrown Chicago roots, his years observing the public while working as a city bus driver on the West Side, and his own battles and triumphs. From searing blues anthems to swinging shuffles to soulful ballads to roof-raising rockers, the songs tell timeless stories of common experiences in uncommon ways. He writes about shared experiences with a keen eye for detail. “Blues is truth-telling music,” he says, “and I want my audience to relate to my stories.”

    Cannon began his rise in the intensely competitive proving ground of the local club scene, where only the best musicians rise to the top. Iconic blues artists from Muddy Waters to Howlin’ Wolf to Koko Taylor to Hound Dog Taylor to Luther Allison all paid their dues in the Chicago blues bars before making their mark on the world. The same holds true today, as newcomers look to living legends like Buddy Guy, Eddy Clearwater and Lil’ Ed Williams for inspiration in taking their music from Chicago to fans across the globe.

    Toronzo Cannon was born in Chicago on February 14, 1968, and grew up in the shadows of the notoriously tough Robert Taylor Homes. Theresa’s Lounge, one of the city’s most famous South Side blues clubs, was nearby. As a child, Cannon would stand on the sidewalk outside the door, soaking up the live blues pouring out while trying to sneak a glance inside at larger-than-life bluesmen like Junior Wells and Buddy Guy. He also heard plenty of blues growing up in his grandfather’s home, and listened to soul, R&B and contemporary rock on the radio.

    Cannon bought his first guitar at age 22, and his natural talent enabled him to quickly master the instrument. Although his initial focus was reggae, he found himself increasingly drawn to the blues. “It was dormant in me. But when I started playing the blues, I found my voice and the blues came pouring out.” He absorbed sounds, styles and licks from Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Hound Dog Taylor, B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Al Green, Jimi Hendrix, J.B. Hutto, Lil’ Ed and others. Although influenced by many, Cannon’s biting, singing guitar sound is all his own.
    From 1996 through 2002, Cannon played as a sideman for Tommy McCracken, Wayne Baker Brooks, L.V. Banks and Joanna Connor. But he was determined to prove himself. In 2001, while continuing to work as a hired-gun guitarist, he formed his own band, The Cannonball Express. By 2003, he was working exclusively as a band leader. Cannon’s first three albums — 2007’s My Woman (self-released), 2011’s Leaving Mood (Delmark) and 2013’s Blues Music Award-nominated John The Conqueror Root (Delmark) — document his rise from promising up-and-comer to star-in-the-making.

    Cannon has played the Chicago Blues Festival on nine separate occasions, either as a sideman, a special guest, a band leader or, more recently, as a main stage headliner. When he’s home, Cannon drives a Chicago Transit Authority bus by day and performs by night. Using every vacation day and day off and working four ten-hour shifts a week, Cannon arranges his schedule to gig out of town as much as possible. He’s performed in a number of U.S. and European cities and continues to build his audience one roof-raising show at a time. It isn’t easy, but, like all of the Chicago greats who have come before him, blues is his calling. “I am proud to be part of a movement,” he says, anxious to hit the road and bring his music to new fans in new places. “I’m proud to be standing on the shoulders of every great Chicago blues musician who came before me.”

    Toronzo Cannon battled his way to the top of the Windy City blues scene, has already played multiple tours of Europe and delivered roof-raising festival performances around the U.S.A. He’s earned his place through charismatic talent, long hours, hard work, and his burning desire to succeed. That’s his way, that’s the only way he knows. That’s the Chicago way.

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  • Our Halloween Blues Treat for You
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    Enter to Win 2 Free Tickets to Toronzo Cannon on November 10 ($60 Value)

    Our Halloween Blues Treat for You - Toronza Cannon

    Electrifying blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Toronzo Cannon, will perform at Freedom Hall on Friday, November 10. Cannon has become one of Chicago’s most recognized and most popular bluesmen through the sheer force of his music, his songs, and his live charisma. MOJO magazine declared THE CHICAGO WAY the #1 Best Blues Album Of 2016. Cannon’s battled his way to the top of the ultra-competitive Windy City blues scene, has already played multiple tours of Europe and continues to deliver roof-raising performances around the U.S.A. Cannon won both the 2017 Living Blues Readers’ and Critics’ Awards for Blues Album Of the Year for THE CHICAGO WAY.

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    What the Press has to Say about Toronzo Cannon

    “Deep, contemporary Chicago blues…razor-sharp guitar and compelling, forceful singing”
    –The Chicago Tribune

    “An adventurous spirit that draws from many genres, including his first love, reggae.”
    — Chicago Tribune

    “One of Chicago’s new greats”
    –The Chicago Sun-Times

    “THE CHICAGO WAY the #1 Best Blues Album Of 2016”
    –MOJO Magazine

    Cannon has become one of Chicago’s most recognized and most popular bluesmen through the sheer force of his music, his songs, his live charisma, and maybe most impressively, his passion for what he is doing. He’s played the Chicago Blues Festival on nine separate occasions, either as a sideman, a special guest, a band leader or, most recently, as a main stage headliner. When he’s home, Cannon drives a Chicago Transit Authority bus by day and performs by night. Using every vacation day and day off and working four ten-hour shifts a week, Cannon arranges his schedule to gig out of town as much as possible. He’s performed in a number of U.S. and European cities and continues to build his audience one roof-raising show at a time. It isn’t easy, but, like all of the Chicago greats who have come before him, blues is his calling. “I am proud to be part of a movement,” he says, anxious to hit the road and bring his music to new fans in new places. “I’m proud to be standing on the shoulders of every great Chicago blues musician who came before me.”

     

     

    Freedom Hall Nathan Manilow Theatre is located in the southern suburbs of Chicago. 410 Lakewood Boulevard in Park Forest, Illinois. We’re just minutes away from Route 30 (Lincoln Highway) and I-57.

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  • 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 csabey@vopf.com

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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
410 Lakewood Boulevard
Park Forest, IL 60466
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708.747.0580

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