The sixth annual Fall/Winter Concert Series is back in Morton.
The series, sponsored by the Morton Fine Arts Association, will feature five different concerts this year, starting with the Mickey Finn Show on Monday.
“Mickey Finn is an incredible piano player,” Morton Fine Arts Association President Phil Kuhl said. “His wife, Cathy, she was a Miss America runner-up. She actually won the talent competition playing the banjo. I’m a banjo player personally, and Cathy is the best female banjo player in the country, bar none.”
Following the show on Nov. 26 is The Diamonds.
“The Diamonds back in the ’60s did songs like ‘Little Darling,’” Kuhl said. “They were a quartet group that were real popular.”
Dailey and Vincent, a Statler Bros. Tribute Band, will be in Morton on Dec. 10. The group was picked to do a CD about the Statler Bros. for Cracker Barrel. Kuhl said that tickets for that show have already been selling.
Kicking off the new year will be Miss America runner-up Jade Simmons who will be playing the piano. Simmons plays the previous night with the Peoria Symphony and is staying over to play for the association.
Ending the series will be New Odyssey, a trio that plays 30 instruments in a variety of genres. The group has played in Morton before.
“Our passion is to try and bring live, first-rung entertainment to this community,” Kuhl said. “We have a great venue for it at the Bertha Frank.”
One thing Kuhl said they always try and get groups to do is something additional with the high school students.
He said a few years ago, they had a Spanish guitar group come that put on a special concert for all the Spanish students at the high school.
Shows run from 7-9 p.m. at the Bertha Frank Fine Arts Center at Morton High School. Tickets are $75 for the season, or $25 for a show, and can be bought at Kuhl and Co. or online at www.MortonFineArts.org.
The show doesn’t just feature performing arts, though.
“We felt the need to do something with visual arts as well as performing arts,” Kuhl said. “So, there’s a lady on our board, Rose Hubbard, who’s an artist. What she does is, every week we have one of these shows, she arranges for an artist to display their work in the entrance of the Bertha Frank. So, when they come to the show the first thing they get to do is see an art show. That art stays up for the whole month. So, anyone that uses the Bertha Frank gets to enjoy it.”
The artist changes each month, and are all local artists.
Another way the association tries to get local talent involved is the opening act, called the Cameo Spot.
“The Cameo Spot is normally an eight-10 minute spot that gives some local artist a chance to perform in front of a local crowd,” he said. “Most of the time they’re young people from the high school or could be someone from Bradley. They’ve always been really, really good.”
Besides letting local talent have a venue, the association also lets area groups make a bit of money as well.
“We don’t do the concessions,” Kuhl said. “Instead, in the opportunity to give other service clubs in the area to benefit and be involved, each week, a different service club gets the opportunity to run the stand and make some money off of that.”
Profits from the series go towards the operating funds of the volunteer-based association.
“This series has given rise to our endowment and Arts in the Park program,” he said.
The association may not have to worry about trying to find individual acts in the future, though.
Kuhl said he recently met with Allied Concert Service, a booking service that has a variety of programs, including groups that would also perform additional concerts for the high school students.
“We’re probably going to use this service, it was really great,” he said.