The Parkland College Blog

Parkland Jazz Combo Concert Nov. 25

Hear tunes by Frank Foster, Pat Metheny, Charlie Christian, more

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

"Peter and the Starcatcher" at Parkland Theatre Nov. 14–24

Family-friendly introduction to young orphan who would become Peter Pan

The family-friendly show "Peter and the Starcatcher" comes to Parkland College's Harold and Jean Miner Theatre Nov. 14–24.  
Adapted by Rick Elice from the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson,"Peter and the Starcatcher" introduces audiences to the young orphan who would become Peter Pan as well as to some dastardly pirates, some lost boys, and a  brave girl named Molly.

A small group of actors will portray a hundred characters in sea battles, jungle adventures, and other exciting escapades. It's a wildly theatrical journey into the imagination for kids, grownups, and those who will never grow up. Mathew Green directs a cast that includes, Jace Jamison, Emaline Johnson, Jess Schlipf, Rachel Hejmanowski, Lincoln Machula, Zoë Dunn, Tommy Howie, Parker Evans, Thom Billam, Laura Alcantara, Stephanie Swearingen, Sam Gegg, and Wesley Bennett.
The Parkland Theatre will hold a talkback immediately following the Nov. 14 show; Green and members of the cast and crew will be on hand to discuss the show and answer audience questions.  
Performances take place in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre Nov. 14, 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 17 and 24 at 3 p.m. **The Nov. 17 show will be a sensory-safe performance.**

Tickets are $20 for Adult, $18 for Student/Youth/Senior/Veteran and $16 each for reserved groups of 10 or more. Opening night is half-price night. To make reservations, visit or call the show hotline at 217/351-2528.  
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.

Use Solar Telescopes to See Last Transit Until 2049

Safely watch Mercury pass directly between Earth and the Sun, Nov. 11

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium will host a viewing of the transit of Mercury, the rare occasion where Mercury appears to move in front of the Sun, on Monday, Nov. 11.
The planetarium will join the Champaign–Urbana Astronomical Society (CUAS) in setting up telescopes for the public throughout the morning. weather permitting; the transit will be visible from just after sunrise until 12:07 p.m.
Transits occur when planets pass directly between Earth and the Sun. This can only happen with the planets closer to the Sun, Mercury and Venus. Since the Sun is much larger than either of them and they are much farther than the Moon, they make a small silhouette on the Sun's disk instead of eclipsing our star. Transits of Venus are very rare; two occurred in 2004 and 2012, but the next one will happen in 2117.

Since Mercury is closer to the Sun, transits are a little more common. A transit of Mercury was visible in Champaign in 2006 and in 2016. However, the next one we can see from Illinois will be in 2049, so this Veterans Day will be the last chance to see such an event for a while.
Please note that this is a solar observing event, not a planetarium show. Observing the Sun requires special filters, and Mercury is too small to see the disk without a telescope. The planetarium and the CU Astronomical Society will set up telescopes designed to observe safely. When observing the Sun, you may also see a sunspot or a prominence, but it is unlikely, since the 11-year cycle of sunspot activity has reached a minimum.
The planetarium offers ample parking and a lobby where residents can warm up if the morning temperatures are cold. Participants should park in the M1 parking lot and dress in layers. Call the planetarium at 217/351-2567 for updates to the viewing if the weather seems uncertain.

[image from]

Biennial "State of the Art" Ceramics Invitational

Ceramic works by US, Canadian artists at Giertz Gallery through Feb. 1

"Masters of Material" curated by Heidi Preuss Grew
Exhibit: Monday, November 11, 2019–Saturday, February 1, 2020, Giertz Gallery
Reception: Thursday, November 14, 5:30–7:30 p.m., with curatorial talk at 6:30 p.m. and music by the Parkland Guitar Ensemble
Gallery Closed: November 27 (5 p.m.)–December 1 for Thanksgiving; December 20– January 12 for Holiday Break; and January 20 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Ceramic works by nationally recognized US and Canadian artists will feature in a Giertz Gallery at Parkland College exhibition next month.

Artist and educator Heidi Preuss Grew of Salem, Oregon, curates the 2019 State of the Art: Ceramics Invitational. The exhibit, with its "Masters of Material" theme, opens Nov. 11 and will run through Feb. 1, 2020.

An opening reception for the participating artists will take place Thursday, Nov. 14 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will feature a curatorial talk by Grew at 6:30 p.m. and music by the Parkland Guitar Ensemble. Grew will also provide a lecture about her artwork earlier that day at 11 a.m. in Room L111, just down the hall from the gallery.
"It was a pleasure to curate this exhibition with works from artists I respect for their distinctive creative output and their mastery of the material," said Grew, who teaches drawing and sculpture at Chemeketa Community College. "Each forwards their artistic vision using ceramics in a manner that acknowledges the versatility and tactile physicality of the material. There is a dominance of material in some cases and subservience of material in others; in the end, I aimed to curate a show where each piece reveals a specific and tangible presence."
Exhibit participants comprise artists and faculty from the US and Canada including Mary Barringer of Shelburne, Mass.; Thaddeus Erdahl of St. Petersburg, Fla; Robert Harrison of Helena, Mont.; Lindsay Montgomery of Toronto, Canada; Lisa Orr of Austin, Tex.; Dirk Staschke of Portland, Ore.; Shalene Valenzuela of Missoula, Mont., and Adero Willard of Chicopee, Mass. 
Cups Fundraiser. In tandem with the Ceramics Biennial exhibition, Giertz Gallery will host its biennial fundraiser, "Coffee & Tea: Cups & Dessert," on Thursday, Dec. 5, 4 to 7 p.m. in the gallery lounge. Ticket includes a ceramic cup by Parkland College Ceramics faculty and students. Delicious desserts, tea, coffee, live music and a silent auction are part of the event’s festivities; the auction items make perfect holiday gifts. Tickets are $30 each or two for $50, with advanced purchase recommended; guests will choose cups on a first-come, first-serve basis. For tickets, contact the Giertz Gallery office at 217/351-2485, go to, or email us at Tickets are limited, and proceeds will support Giertz Gallery at Parkland College. 
Giertz Gallery fall hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. The gallery will be closed from 5 p.m. Nov. 27 through Dec. 1 for Thanksgiving Break; Dec. 20 through Jan. 12 for Winter Break; and Jan. 20 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
To find the gallery when classes are in session, we suggest using the M6 parking lot on the north corner of the campus. Enter through any door and follow the ramps uphill to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. The gallery windows overlook the outdoor fountain area.
Programs at the gallery are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution; for accommodation, call 217/353-2337 or email
For more information on the invitational, please call the gallery office at 217/351-2485 or visit

[Image: Robert Harrison; Goose House; combination of handmade clay and vintage manufactured ceramic pieces, glaze and decals; 2017; 9” x 10” x 6”]

Small Satellites Subject of November Kaler Science Lecture

UI's Michael Lambeck to discuss designing CubeSats for LASSI

When Sputnik launched and shocked the world in 1957, many claimed to be able to see the basketball-sized satellite in orbit. Over the decades, satellites grew ever larger and can now be visible in the night sky, but engineers such as Dr. Michael Lembeck are making strides with satellites scaled back to Sputnik's size. He will present his work along with a history of satellite designs for the James Kaler Science Lecture Series at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium.

Dr. Lembeck, director of the Laboratory for Advanced Space Systems at Illinois (LASSI), will give a talk titled, "What goes 'round, comes 'round…the story of how small satellites are making big news" on Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge.

Dr. Lembeck's work with LASSI includes designing and assembling spacecraft the size of a breadbox called CubeSats. Since most weigh less than 10 pounds, several can included as a secondary mission in rocket launches. Their size allows them to be built by universities, military, commercial, and amateur organizations. Over 1000 CubeSats have been launched in the last 20 years, including two to Mars.

Dr. Lembeck has led or worked on multiple government and commercial spaceflight programs, including JPL’s Galileo Jupiter Orbiter, Space Industries, Inc.’s Wake Shield Facility, Orbital Sciences’ OrbView/Warfighter commercial remote sensing program, and the Northrop/Boeing CEV and Boeing commercial crew programs. As the Requirements Division Director for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Dr. Lembeck participated in the formulation of President George W. Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration and managed the original development of requirements for the Constellation/Orion program. Dr. Lembeck is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and a Professor of Practice in the University of Illinois’ Aerospace Engineering Department.

After the presentation by Dr. Lembeck, the Staerkel Planetarium will show the full-dome feature, "Dark Matter Mystery" at 8 p.m. The 2019 premiere of "Santa's Secret Star" begins on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 7 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.