The Parkland College Blog

Staerkel Planetarium to Present Kaler Lecture on Evolution

"The Evolution of Family Life: A Case Study in Small Fish," December 3 at 6:30 p.m.

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This December's James B. Kaler Science Lecture at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium will be about evolution, through the lens of fish.

Friday, December 3 at 6:30 p.m., University of Illinois professor Dr. Alison Bell will present "The Evolution of Family Life: A Case Study in Small Fish." Tickets for Kaler Lectures cost $2 or are free for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.

Bell, who teaches in the UIUC Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, researches the various ways families are organized in nature. Her lab focuses on the threespined stickleback, a type of fish whose family structure places the father as the sole provider of parental care. However, there are populations within the species which offer no parental care. Data from Bell's lab offers clues to this variance in social behavior.

Bell earned a bachelor's degree in history, philosophy, and social studies of science and medicine at the University of Chicago, and a doctorate in population biology at the University of California at Davis. Before joining the University of Illinois, she performed postdoctoral research at UC-Davis and at the University of Glasgow. In 2020, she was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The seating capacity in the planetarium is currently limited to 60 people. The Kaler Science Lectures are filmed by Parkland College TV. After the talk, the seats will be cleaned before the 8 p.m. showing of Season of Light, a program about the cultural traditions and astronomy of the winter solstice. Admission to fulldome shows are $6 for adults and $5 for children, students, and seniors. For a show schedule or booking information, please call 217/351-2446 or visit

Winter Ensembles at Parkland College Offer Free Concerts

Parkland Music Ensembles to Offer Free Winter Concerts Dec. 5 and Dec. 12

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Parkland College's concert season continues with December performances by several ensembles. Performances will be livestreamed on Parkland's YouTube channel.

Sunday, December 5 at 3 p.m.
"A Seasonal Delight" A Concert by the Chamber Singers and the Concert Band
. The Parkland Concert Band, directed by Dr. Matthew Dixon, will perform "Mayflower Overture" by Ron Nelson; "Suite from the Nutcracker" by P.I. Tchaikovsky, arranged by James Curnow; "Jingle Bells" by J.S. Pierpoint; and "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson, in addition to others.

The Parkland Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Franklin Gallo, will perform "The Gift to Sing" by Marianne Forman; "The Great Clear Twilight" by Austin Schend; and "Tshotsholoza," a traditional South African song, adapted by Jeffrey Ames, among others.

Sunday, October 12 at 3 p.m.
"December Celebrations" A Joint Concert by the Parkland Orchestra, Wind, and Guitar Ensembles.
The Parkland Orchestra, directed by Dr. Rodney Mueller, will perform "La Belle Helene Overture" by Jacques Offenbach; "Dance of the Tumblers" from The Snow Maiden by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; "Symphony No. 5" fourth movement by Ludwig van Beethoven; "Frosty the Snowman" arranged by John Moss; and "German Carol Festival" arranged by James Christensen.

Parkland's Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Jonathan Beckett, will present "Christmas Music for Winds" arranged by John Cacavas; "Fantaisie on a French Christmas Carol" arranged by Warren Barker, based on Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfin; and "A Winter's Carol" arranged by Mark Williams, based on O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, among others.

Director Dr. Young Kim will lead the Guitar Ensemble in performing "Sheep May Safely Graze" by J.S. Bach; "O Tannenbaum" and "Angels We Have Heard on High" arranged by Alan Hirsch, and more.

Giertz Gallery to Host "Coffee & Tea: Cups & Dessert" Benefit

Giertz Gallery Presents "Cups & Dessert" Fundraiser, Dec. 9

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Enjoy music, desserts, and fine art at Giertz Gallery's "Coffee & Tea: Cups & Dessert" benefit on Thursday, December 9 from 4 to 7 p.m.

During Giertz Gallery's biennial fundraiser, ticketholders may select from among a stunning array of handcrafted ceramic cups donated by the Parkland College Ceramics program faculty and students and enjoy desserts to go from Nothing Bundt Cakes, along with hot tea or freshly-brewed coffee. Guido Sanchez-Portuguez will accompany the event with live classical guitar.
A silent auction of items perfect for holiday gifts rounds out the event’s festivities. Vases, bowls, teapots, pitchers, jewelry, and scarves, donated by Art and Design program faculty and students, are included in the auction. View items ahead of time to place your bids or buy items available outright at during the event.

Tickets to the gallery benefit are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, with advanced purchase recommended; attendees will have the option of attending from 4:00-5:30 p.m. or 5:30-7:00 p.m. A new selection of cups will be available for each time period and will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis. To purchase tickets online, please visit, or call the Giertz Gallery office at 217/351-2485. All proceeds will support the Giertz Gallery.

In compliance with state pandemic mandates, Parkland College has restricted access entryways and door checkers stationed at entrances. For Giertz Gallery, we suggest using the M1 parking lot on the north corner of campus. Enter through the M1 door and follow the gallery signage. The gallery is located in the north side of the X-wing and overlooks the outdoor fountain area.

Giertz Gallery acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution; for accommodation, call 217/351-2505.

For more information about the invitational, the fundraiser, or the gallery, please visit or call the gallery office at 217/351-2485.

Parkland Theatre to Hold Auditions for "10 out of 12"

Auditions for "10 out of 12" start Saturday, December 4

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Parkland College Theatre will hold auditions for its spring production of "10 out of 12" on Saturday, December 4 at the Parkland theatre.

Auditions will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; registration will take place in the theatre lobby. A monologue will be provided to each auditioner as a cold read. No sign up is required, but audition forms and participation waivers can be completed ahead of time and are available for download.

Callbacks will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 5. Production staff will contact those who are needed for callbacks via phone call on Saturday afternoon or evening.

"10 out of 12" director BJ Gailey is casting 14 performers, with no restrictions on age or gender.

Performances for "10 out of 12" will run in Parkland Theatre's Second Stage from February 17 to 27.

All members of the community as well as Parkland and University of Illinois students are invited to audition; Parkland Theatre encourages diversity. Additional questions should be addressed to For more information about the Parkland Theatre, visit

Spanish-Language, Sensory-Friendly Shows at Staerkel Planetarium

Planetarium's Winter Shows Include Spanish, Sensory-Friendly Options

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Sensory-friendly and Spanish-language shows will be returning to the Staerkel Planetarium as part of their winter lineup.

One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure will premiere on Saturday, December 4 at 1 p.m. Following a 30-minute break to clean seats, Cosmic Colors will start at 2:30 p.m. These sensory-friendly shows will feature "lights up, sound down" settings to provide a relaxed, move-around-as-needed atmosphere for guests with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities, or young children. Sensory supports and social stories are available for all visitors. Presenter Tania Swigart is a preschool teacher who works with children with special needs.

The planetarium is also offering more Spanish-language shows with Un cielo, un mundo: La aventura de Big Bird and Astronomía a gran escala on November 20 and December 18. Un cielo, un mundo: La aventura de Big Bird, which offers an introduction to the night sky over Sesame Street and China as Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu take a trip to the moon, begins at 1 p.m.

Astronomía a gran escala will start at 2:30 p.m. after a 30-minute break to sanitize seats between shows. This fulldome video shows why Chile is home to many world-class observatories and highlights the people who work on these instruments. Presenter Ricardo Covarrubias Carreno, Ph.D., teaches astronomy at Parkland College and offers tours of the night sky over his native Chile.

The seating capacity in the planetarium is currently limited to 60 people. Admission to fulldome shows start at $5. For a show schedule or booking information, please call 217/351-2446 or visit