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.
ECC arts across the agesElgin Community College's Arts Center is celebrating its 20th anniversary season this year. It kicks off Sept. 18 with guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel. Here are some of the big names who have crossed the ECC stage since the Arts Center opened:
Joe Bonamassa, blues rock guitarist
David Sedaris, writer
Under the Streetlamp, vocal group
Two Cellos, Croatian cello duo
Victor Wooten, Grammy award winning bass player
Shawn Colvin, Grammy award winning singer/songwriter
Mavis Staples, R&B and gospel singer
Ladysmith Black Mambazo, male choral group from South Africa who recorded the "Graceland" album with Paul Simon
Ed Asner, Emmy Award winning actor
John Astin, actor from "The Addams Family"
Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops, "Whose Line"improv pros
Marcus Roberts, jazz pianist
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 tickets.elgin.edu or by phone at (847) 622-0300. Some shows are offered for as little as $6 per ticket. For the full season schedule, visit elgin.edu/arts.