Blend to bring its a cappella sounds to Marion Cultural and Civic Center for farewell tour

Blend to bring its a cappella sounds to Marion  Cultural and Civic Center for farewell tour
Blend to bring its a cappella sounds to Marion  Cultural and Civic Center for farewell tour

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The Little Egypt Arts Association is excited to host a cappella performers, Blend,
Tara Janowick

The Little Egypt Arts Association is excited to host a cappella performers, Blend, in a kick off the band’s Farewell Tour.

The show starts at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3, at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to help Little Egypt Arts Association.

With its inception at John A. Logan College eleven years ago, Blend has become a regional favorite for many who appreciate the sound and style of classic 1950s “doo wop” songs. Consisting of four members, founder and frontman Johnathan Estes describes their performance as a “fun, entertaining experience where you’ll hear the old 50s stuff, some country songs, all with a gospel feel to it.”

Estes says he was originally inspired by the music of Huey Lewis in the movie “Back to the Future” as a trope for evoking the sound, look and feel of that classic decade.

As the group and the band began to develop, they enjoyed professional acclaim. From 2011-2012, they performed regularly in Hot Springs, AR at the Vienna Theater. In 2014, they began performing daily at Five Star Dinner Theater in Hot Springs.

Having toured from Florida to Minnesota, the band loves to perform for all ages, at venues ranging from State Fairs and outdoor festivals, to community centers and performing art centers. The group consists of Nik Berry, Bass, of Metropolis, Edwin Linson, Tenor, of Carterville, Johnathan Estes, Lead, of Marion, and as special guest on the Farewell tour — they feature Andrew Smith, Tenor, of Chester.

This particular performance is important to the band, as well as to The Little Egypt Arts Association. Jane Morgan, President of Little Egypt Arts Association, describes LEAA as “a co-op of professional and amateur artists who network together to support the arts as well as grow and refine their own art interests”. A 501c3 not for profit organization, LEAA is supported exclusively through fundraising, donations, affordable memberships, and gallery sales.

Morgan says that Blend has been very helpful in putting together this event, and in supporting LEAA. “Blend is based in Marion and most of the Little Egypt Arts Association members have been to a Blend Concert at some time or another somewhere in the Southern Illinois region and enjoyed high level of professionalism and talent that Blend always had,” Morgan said. “Some of the LEAA members are close personal friends of Blend and we were thrilled when Blend offered to help the LEAA. Since the group is … retiring soon they wanted to help by sharing a portion of the ticket sales with us from the November 3 Farewell Concert. This kind of generosity is very much appreciated. It’s their way of giving back to their own community.”

The Little Egypt Arts Association is a crucial asset to Southern Illinois. Morgan explains that the space, located at 601 Tower Square in Marion, features a gallery and gift shop with numerous items for sale such as jewelry, paintings, fiber art, sculptures, photography and books written by members. Additionally, the gallery hosts display and shows which rotate throughout the year, including group shows, solo artist shows and open competitions. All exhibits are open to the public during gallery hours at the art center. Various classes are offered at Little Egypt Arts Association with children classes offered in the summer.

Blend is delighted to perform for LEAA once again, and to help the important cause of supporting local arts. As a group born in Southern Illinois, there is no better way to kick off their farewell tour than by entertaining at the Marion Cultural Civic Center to benefit LEAA.

With a sound that evokes the feel of the 1950s soda shop, whereas Estes says “folks were dipping their fries in their milkshakes and jitterbugging in the aisles”, this show is sure to delight a wide range of audience.

Tickets range from $12-15, and can be purchased at: http://marionccc.com/blend17/