The Parkland College Blog

"A Christmas Carol" as Radio Drama Comes to Parkland Theatre

Vintage commercials, live sound effects, music part of one-of-a-kind performance

Audiences will be transported back to the Golden Age of Radio during a one-of-a-kind performance of Charles Dickens’ classic "A Christmas Carol" on Parkland Theatre's Second Stage Dec. 13–15.
A perennial family favorite and holiday tradition, "A Christmas Carol" comes to life as a 1940s live radio broadcast, complete with vintage commercials, the magic of live sound effects, and live music. A handful of actors bring dozens of characters to the stage, as the familiar story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s thrilling journey teaches him the true meaning of Christmas. This charming and unforgettable take on a radio drama will leave no one saying "Bah Humbug!"
Michael O'Brien directs a cast that includes Marcus Aviles, Madelyn Childress, Haylie Denzer, Collin Downen, Parker Evans, Thomas Fitch, Maya Hammond, Maggie O’Brien, and Kaytelin Richey and features Sean Kelly as Scrooge.  
The Parkland Theatre will hold a talkback immediately following the Dec. 13 show. O'Brien and members of the cast and crew will be on hand to discuss the show and answer audience questions.  
Performances take place in the Parkland Theatre Second Stage Dec. 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 14 and 15 at 3 p.m. All tickets for this special fundraising event are $25 and can be pre-purchased by calling 217/351-2528. Proceeds from the show will help fund future Actors’ Studio Series performances.
To request accessibility-related accommodations, please contact Accessibility Services at 217/353-2338 or email accessibilityservices@parkland.eduPlease submit all requests two weeks in advance of your participation or visit. 

Theatre Auditions: "How I Learned to Drive," "Chicago"

Dec. 7; sign up for an audition time at

Parkland Theatre will hold auditions for its spring productions Saturday, Dec. 7 at the theatre.
Auditions for the drama "How I Learned to Drive" by Paula Vogel will take place from 9 a.m. to noon. Auditionees should register for an audition slot at
"How I Learned to Drive" director J’Lyn Hope is casting four women and three men ages 16 and over, of any ethnicity. Auditionees will be asked to prepare a provided monologue. Callbacks, if needed, will be Sunday, Dec. 8, time TBD.
Auditions for the musical "Chicago," based on the book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse (music by John Kander) will take place from 9 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. and will only be extended if currently open time slots are filled. Auditionees must register for both an individual audition slot and a group dance audition slot at
"Chicago" director Abby Gailey is casting approximately 20 actors, high school-age and above, of any gender and ethnicity. Actors will be required to prepare a one-minute cut of a song that they feel showcases their range. Along with an individual audition, a group dance audition will be required. Callbacks, if needed, will be Sunday, Dec. 8 at 4:30 p.m.
Performances of "How I Learned to Drive" will run in Parkland Theatre's Second Stage Feb. 6–16. Performances of "Chicago" will be held in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre April 9–26.  
Please sign up for an audition time at All members of the community as well as Parkland and U of I students are invited to audition; Parkland Theatre encourages diversity. Those with additional questions should email productions assistant Heather Layman at

Free December Concerts by Parkland College Ensembles

Enjoy selections by Guitar Ensemble, Chamber Singers, Orchestra, more

Get into a festive spirit with the following late-fall and holiday-seasonal concerts by Parkland College music ensembles in early December. These events are free and open to the public. For more information on Parkland College music performances, please visit 
Fall Guitar Ensemble Concert
Thursday, December 5, 7 p.m.
Parkland's Second Stage Theatre
The Parkland Guitar Ensemble, directed by Dr. Young Kim, will perform "My Heart Ever Faithful" by Johann Sebastian Bach; "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" arranged by Max Zhang; "O Come All Ye Faithful" arranged by Justus Nzioki Johnstone; "Cavantina" by Stanley Myers; and "English Dance" by Ferdinando Carulli, among others.
 Noel Concert at Parkland Theatre
NOEL: A Joint Concert by the Parkland Chamber Singers and Orchestra
Saturday, December 7, 3 p.m. 
Harold and Jean Miner Theatre 
The Parkland Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Franklin Gallo, will perform "This Christmastide (Jessye's Carol)" by Donald Fraser; "And the Glory of the Lord" from "The Messiah" by G. F. Handel; "To Sit and Dream" by Rosephanye Powell, and "Kwela Kwela," Zulu and Sotho Songs arranged by the University of Pretoria Youth Chorus.
Parkland's Orchestra, directed by Dr. Rodney Mueller, will perform "Zampa Overture" by L.J. Ferdinand Hérold; "Greensleeves" a traditional arrangement by Alfred Reed; "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson; "Winter Wonderland" by Felix Bernard and Dick Smith; and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane.
Festive Yuletide Gala Concert at Parkland TheatreFestive Yuletide Gala: A Joint Concert by the Parkland Concert Band and Wind Ensemble
Sunday, December 8, 3 p.m. 
Harold and Jean Miner Theatre  
Lawrence Stoner directs the Parkland Concert Band, which will perform "Gloria" by Randol Alan Bass; "The Boutique Fantasque (The Fantastic Toy Shop)" by Gioachino Rossini; "The Bells of Christmas" arranged by Bob Krogstad; "Fantasia on Greensleeves" by Ralph Vaughn Williams; "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson; and "Christmas March" by Edwin F. Goldman.
The Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Jonathan Beckett, will perform "The Holly and the Good King" by David Mairs; "Secret Agent Santa" by Jeff Simmons; and "Scenes from 'The Nutcracker'" by Michael Story, among others.

Planetarium Turns Attention Down to Soils in December

Can humans enhance soil services before it's too late?

Everyone who has a garden knows the role soil has in growing crops and sees how farmland around central Illinois is dependent on soil conditions. Scientists such as Dr. Andrew Margenot are investigating the interdependence between human activities and soil quality; he will provide insight into his research for the James Kaler Science Lecture Series at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium next month.

Margenot, assistant professor of soil science in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois, will discuss "Soils and Human Security" on Friday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge.

Although we have it perpetually underfoot, we rarely think of the soils that underpin human society. Soils provide services essential to human well-being and survival. Moreover, because soils are responsive to human activities, our species can compromise or enhance soil services. As we dive deeper into the Anthropocene, the time period where human impact on ecosystems has become significant, how we understand and manage this nonrenewable resource is starting to shift. But will we be able to change our perspective and approach on soils before it is too late?

Margenot completed a PhD in Soils and Biogeochemistry from University of California, Davis, researching nutrient cycling in California and East African agroecosystems, after which he continued at UC Davis as a postdoctoral researcher studying copper contamination of soils. Margenot’s work addresses the literal foundation of all cropping systems: soils. He is advancing how we monitor and manage soils as natural capital. His research team evaluates how human activities can enhance or compromise soil services to human societies, with an emphasis on food security and profitability in the US Midwest and the developing tropics.

After the presentation by Margenot, the Staerkel Planetarium will kick off the winter holidays with the 2019 premiere of the full-dome feature, "Season of Light," at 8 p.m. Tickets for regular programs range from $5 to $6 per person. For a full show schedule, visit the planetarium website or call 217/351-2446.

Parkland Jazz Combo to Perform Nov. 25

Hear tunes by Frank Foster, Pat Metheny, others in free concert

The Parkland Jazz Combo will be performing Monday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. at Parkland College Theatre's Second Stage.

Led by Kevin Hart, the ensemble will perform selections from artists such as Frank Foster, Pat Metheny, Charlie Christian, Paul Desmond, and Jeff Lorber. 

This concert is free and open to the public. For more information on Parkland College music performances, visit