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Music Institute to Present Tammy McCann in YES, MAHALIA! in October

Yes, Mahalia! is a homage to gospel pioneer and Chicago legend Mahalia Jackson.

Music Institute to Present Tammy McCann in YES, MAHALIA! in October

Music Institute of Chicago Artist-in-Residence and Chicago jazz favorite Tammy McCann will return to Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, on Saturday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m. with Yes, Mahalia!, a homage to gospel pioneer and Chicago legend Mahalia Jackson.

Mahalia Jackson's connection to Chicago is historic, through her link to Thomas Dorsey and his creation of the modern gospel sound. Yes, Mahalia!, which McCann created with arranger Eyal Vilner and premiered in Israel in 2019, is a fresh and soulful reimagining of Jackson's music that captures the synergy of her unique sound and pairs it with the sonic power of big-band jazz. The show celebrates not only Jackson's music, but her life experiences and her contribution to the world community.

Since 1996, McCann has traveled the world with her gospel group Tammy McCann and The Voices of Glory celebrating the music and legacy of Mahalia Jackson. "I always saw my jazz and gospel worlds as separate until a friend suggested I explore synergies between the two genres, and Yes, Mahalia! was born," she shared. "I love this quote about Mahalia's performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, which said she was 'able to take a sacred moment into the secular, thus making all moments before, after and around ring out with reverence and reverie.' My mission is for her music and legacy to 'ring out' for future generations."

McCann will be accompanied by a world-class ensemble including backing vocals under the direction of Chicago trumpeter Marques Carroll.

Named the Chicago Tribune's 2020 Person of the Year in Jazz, Tammy McCann has a powerful, sultry, and emotionally charged voice that paints pictures and tells stories by merging classical vocal technique and gospel esthetic with jazz to create a sound that is completely her own. She has performed with such luminaries as Chicago's own Ramsey Lewis and NEA Jazz Master Von Freeman, John Clayton, Branford Marsalis, Joe Locke, Charles McPherson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Carmen Bradford, and she toured as a "Raelette" with the great Ray Charles. McCann has thrilled audiences in festivals and clubs worldwide, from Thailand to Greece, as well as the nation's premier concert and jazz venues, including Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland, The Blue Note, Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, and Chicago's Jazz Showcase.


Coming up at Nichols Concert Hall:

November 5: Pianist and Music Institute faculty member Matthew Hagle presents a program inspired by the Op. 118 piano pieces of Johannes Brahms.
December 10: Duke It Out! Nutcracker pits the classical (Tchaikovsky) and jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) versions of the holiday favorite in a spectacular side-by-side showdown, curated by Dance Chicago and featuring members of Axiom Brass and Music Institute Ensemble-in Residence Quintet Attacca.


Nichols Concert Hall


Noted architect Solon S. Beman designed the architecturally and acoustically magnificent First Church of Christ, Scientist, located at 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, in 1912. In 2003, the building was sensitively restored to become Nichols Concert Hall, a state-of-the-art, 550-seat performance space and music education destination, easily accessible to numerous restaurants, on-street and metered parking, and the Davis Street CTA and Metra stations. The converted building, featuring a fully restored, 1914 E. M. Skinner pipe organ, received the Richard H. Driehaus Award for best adaptive use by the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois. Each year Nichols Concert Hall reaches approximately 15,000 people and hosts a world-class chamber music series, workshops and master classes, student recitals, and special events.

Music Institute of Chicago

The Music Institute of Chicago leads people toward a lifelong engagement with music through unparalleled teaching, exceptional performances, and valuable service initiatives that educate, inspire, and build strong, healthy communities. Since its founding in 1931, the Music Institute's commitment to innovation, access, and excellence has served as an important community resource and helps to ensure music is available to everyone. Each year, the Music Institute provides personalized music instruction to more than 1,500 students, regardless of age, level of experience, or financial means, across eight Community Music School locations in Chicago, Downers Grove, Evanston, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, and Winnetka, as well as online. In addition, the Music Institute brings music education, arts curriculum integration, professional development, and music performance and engagement opportunities to thousands in the Chicago area; offers scholarship opportunities to students in its Community School and its Academy, a nationally recognized training center for highly gifted pre-college pianists and string players; and (pre-pandemic) welcomes more than 15,000 visitors annually for performances, master classes, and special events at Nichols Concert Hall.

For information, visit musicinst.org.

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