Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer


Date Night with Spontaneous Music

Date night on UIS campus coming on April 14 | Photo credit: UIS

Looking for something fun, different, or romantic to do with a plus one? Check out Date Night at UIS. “Spontaneous Music,” a UIS date night event, will take place on April 14 in the UIS studio theatre at 6:30 p.m. The night will feature Freedom Therapy, a jazz creative music trio formed on the UIS campus with percussionist Richard Gilman-Opalsky, guitarist Adam Larison and saxophonist Brian Stark.

The event is part of a recurring series on campus. “The series was born out of an idea that it would be great to feature more expert local artists at UIS,” said Jen Tibbs, Coordinator of Public Information & Marketing at UIS Performing Arts Services. All three members of this upcoming performance trio are professors or instructors at UIS. “Some of the Date Night events are presented in partnership with UIS Music, with music faculty featured; other events are performed by local artists without UIS affiliation. Artists are paid for their performances,” said Tibbs.

The event will take place in the studio theater on the UIS campus. The theatre is on level one of the Public Affairs Center, below Sangamon Auditorium, and is managed by the UIS Performing Arts Center. The theatre is a transformable black box space that, in its standard configuration, seats 124, making it ideal for intimate performances. The theatre serves as the home for the UIS Theatre academic program. The UIS Music department also presents many solo and small ensemble performances in the space. “After a 2019 partial remodel of the UIS Studio Theatre, the UIS Performing Arts Center staff hoped to develop more programming and host more events in this space,” said Tibbs. “The pandemic caused some priorities to shift, but starting winter semester 2023, we have been pleased to be moving forward with additional event programming for this space, including the Date Night series.”

What can you expect from this upcoming performance? “Spontaneous Music is just what it sounds like,” said Brian Stark, who plays saxophone in the trio, “music created with minimal planning ahead of time. As such, we do not have any pieces selected ahead of time, but we generate pieces together based on our feelings in the moment, our perception of the audience’s reactions to our music, and the organic direction the music moves over the course of the evening.” This means that the audience can expect a one-of-a-kind experience. “The trio’s music is composed in real-time collective improvisation, which means we assemble musical forms and structures, but that those forms and structures emerge out of the music and do not direct the music in advance,” said Richard Gilman-Opalsky, the percussionist for the trio.

Story continues below advertisement

Despite its unplanned structure, it is clear that the artists have a thorough vision for the performance and even have suggestions for the audience planning to attend. “Listeners might approach the trio as engaged in ‘sound painting’ or ‘sound sculpting,’ thinking about our music more in terms of colors and space than in terms of repetition and time,” said Stark. As you might expect from college professors, they even provide an assignment as tips for things to listen for which may help audience members appreciate the performance. These include:

1) the sound of each instrument

2) the dialogue created by the interaction of the instruments in any given moment

3) the call and response of the musicians

4) diversity of tones, rhythms, and textures

5) non-verbal communication.

The performance will last about 75 minutes. Dress is casual, and there will be refreshments (including alcoholic beverages) available at the entrance to the theater. So don’t be bashful – grab a date and come expecting an unexpected experience. See you on date night!

More to Discover