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updated: 8/14/2013 11:23 AM

ECC Arts Center celebrates 20 years, 4,000 acts

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  • John Lithgow will present "Stories By Heart" at ECC on Nov. 2.

    John Lithgow will present "Stories By Heart" at ECC on Nov. 2.
    Courtesy of Boneau Bryan-Brown

  • Comedian Larry Miller will appear at the ECC Arts Center on Oct. 12 with special guest Jake Johannsen.

    Comedian Larry Miller will appear at the ECC Arts Center on Oct. 12 with special guest Jake Johannsen.
    File Photo


The Elgin Community College Arts Center has gone platinum.

Not because it sold a million albums, sure, but the Arts Center has plenty to celebrate in its platinum anniversary season, marking 20 years of performances in Elgin.

Performing Arts Director Steve Duchrow said there have been more than 200 performances per year since the arts center opened, meaning more than 4,000 acts have crossed the stage. Nationally known visiting artists come each year with dozens of performances by local academic and in-residence ensembles performing Mexican folkloric dance, children's theater and adult choral arrangements.

There are jazz bands, a steel drum group, a youth symphony and a children's chorus. And many of the ensembles have won awards for their work.

What separates ECC's Arts Center from other similar facilities, according to Duchrow, is the triple focus its leaders have maintained since its inception.

People have the ability to see, learn and do art right at ECC, Duchrow said. Residents can obviously buy tickets and see top performers from all over the world, but they also can join performance ensembles to learn more about specific art forms and rent the stage space to do their own shows.

"It is the finest and most comprehensive art center I've seen in all of my travels," Duchrow said. "It comes from a communitywide effort. ... That's the real success. That everybody participates to make this work."

Duchrow came to ECC in 2006 and has almost 30 years of professional experience in the arts.

This year he helps welcome famed actor John Lithgow, guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel and comedian/actor Larry Miller, all of whom took several years of coaxing to come to Elgin.

The college will host actors, comedians, singers, musicians and dancers throughout the anniversary season, which opens Sept. 18 with Emmanuel.

While the 2013-14 year is full of big names ECC is proud to host, Duchrow said community members shouldn't be surprised to be equally excited by the Arts Center's 21st year.

"Every year we try to make a milestone year," Duchrow said.

Tickets are already on sale and can be purchased from the ECC box office, online at or by phone at (847) 622-0300. Some shows are offered for as little as $6 per ticket. For the full season schedule, visit

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