The Parkland College Blog

First Gig Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Youth

Learn from the pros June 10–14; live performance June 15

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Area youth ages 10-17 can enjoy a fun six-day summer camp designed to team kids up with professional musicians from around the area.

First Gig Rock 'n' Roll Camp runs June 10–14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a live performance by the participants taking place Saturday, June 15 in Champaign (venue and time TBA).

Students of all skill levels are invited to attend, each placed in a band led by an experienced musician. During the week, students develop a live show as they make friends and learn from over 20 professionals through conversation, practice sessions, "lunch talks," and through interaction with different types of equipment.

Their week of intensive training culminates with a live performance on stage.

First Gig students may also be a part of the Reverb Music Recording Workshop as well! Reverb gives students the opportunity to experience working with cutting-edge audio recording techniques and software to mix and record music at Parkland's Perimeter Road Sound Recordings.

First Gig began in Danville in 2012 with musicians Peter Blackmon and Michael "Guido" Esteves and is in its fifth year at Parkland College. Local and regional musicians who have partnered with First Gig bring a diverse arrangement of styles, including Motown, funk, reggae, jazz, and classic rock.

The cost of the camp is $299 per student. Lunch is provided during the week. To register a child for First Gig by June 10 or to learn more about the camp and workshop, please visit or call 217/351-2235.

Students Win Speaking Contest, Support Charities

David Jones Persuasive Speaking Contest celebrates 16th year

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Four students recently earned top honors among the 12 persuasive speakers who presented at the 16th annual David Jones Persuasive Speaking Contest. The contest spotlights the speaking styles and skills of students who have taken a communication class at Parkland College. 
The May 2 competition also gave students the opportunity to speak in support of their favorite charity. Local as well as national and international charities were represented.
Earning first-place honors in this year's competition was Michael Doehring of Savoy, whose speech supporting Ronald McDonald House earned him a $500 scholarship. Emily Eastin of Tolono came in second, with her speech for the Crisis Nursery. She will receive $250. John Nicol of Urbana was third, with a speech asking the audience to support Cunningham Children’s Home. He will receive $100. The Finalist award of $50 went to Malea Misenheimer of Mahomet, who supported C.O.P.S. Ronald McDonald House, the organization represented by the first-place speaker, will also receive a $500 donation from the Communication Program faculty. 
"This year's competition demonstrated just how much Parkland students have to offer and how motivated they are to make a difference in our world," said Julie Weishar, speech associate professor and Communication program director.

Judges for the event's final round included Aaron Eades, morning show anchor/reporter for WCIA 3 News; Kimberlie Kranich, director of community content and engagement for Illinois Public Media; Kathie Spegal, coordinator for Illinois Radio Reader Service; Hilary Valentine, associate marketing director for Parkland College; and Tracy Wahlfeldt, executive director of the Parkland College Foundation.

The contest is sponsored by the Parkland College Communication Program, Parkland's Fine and Applied Arts department and donations made to the contest scholarships. The awards come from the David Jones Persuasive Speech Contest Scholarship Fund, created in honor of Jones, former chair of the Fine and Applied Arts department from 1988 until his death from cancer in 2002. The annual speech contest honors Dr. Jones' commitment to the communication discipline and student enrichment.

[Top image: 2019 Jones Speech Contest winners, l to r, Malea Misenheimer, Michael Doehring, John Nicol, and Emily Eastin. Bottom image: Winners with Julie Weishar, l, and contest faculty coordinator Jody Littleton, r.]

Parkland Pops to Perform "Music from the 2010s (2010-2019)"

Hear hit tunes by Katy Perry, John Legend, Alicia Keys, more

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The Parkland Pops will perform hit tunes from 2010 through 2019 Saturday, May 11 at 1 p.m. at Parkland Theatre's Second Stage.

The concert is free and open to the public.

During the concert, Director Brian Hagy will lead the 10-member chorus to perform a variety of popular songs, including Alicia Keys' "This Girl Is On Fire," "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift, "All About The Bass" by Meghan Trainor, John Legend's "All of Me," and "A Million Dreams" from "The Greatest Showman" by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, among other selections.

The Parkland Pops choir is open to community members, including those with special needs.

For more information on other Parkland College music ensembles, visit

Parkland College Graphic Design Student Show 2019

Last student design exhibit for retiring program director Paul Young

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The Parkland College Graphic Design Student Show will be on display at the Giertz Gallery Monday, May 13 through Thursday, May 30. A reception honoring the students will be held Wednesday, May 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the gallery lounge, with an awards ceremony scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

As with all events in the accessible gallery, the exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

The juried exhibit highlights work completed by students in the current academic year, beginning with summer 2018. Parkland Graphic Design and Interactive Design faculty jury the show and select the most imaginative, inspiring, distinctive, innovative, unusual and memorable pieces for display in the gallery. Then local industry professionals are invited to judge the show and select the awards. This year’s judges are Evelyn Shapiro, Promotions Manager, Champaign Public Library, and Robb Springfield, Creative Director, Flex-N-Gate. 

Works in the exhibit showcase creative solutions to design problems presented to students in Parkland’s Graphic Design, Interactive Design and Illustration studio classes. Gallery visitors can expect to see traditional print media, motion graphics, logos, branding, packaging, menus, books, publications, posters, brochures, websites, video and illustration.

Young to retire. Professor Paul Young, Parkland's Graphic Design program director, will be retiring this spring after 20 years of teaching graphic design. He has been an integral part of the program; under his direction, user experience design, website design and interactive design were introduced into the curriculum, and students now graduate from Parkland with samples of fully developed websites in their portfolio. 

"The 2019 student show will be the last student exhibition that I will help curate," Young said. "I've met some of the most interesting and diverse people from this community in the classroom. I've challenged them as they have challenged me, and together we've grown and evolved."

Part-time graphic design instructor Liza Wynette praised Young's five-year mentorship to her. "Paul has designed Parkland's Graphic Design Program to carefully balance the creative with the functional, the artistic with the technical, and the rational with the intuitive," she said."What a great way to teach today's tech-savvy students who were born with a device in their hand."

"I've always said that Parkland is the best job I've ever had," Young added. "During the last 20 years, my students and I have met important internationally renowned designers (Carlos Segura, Massimo Vignelli, Matthew Carter), hosted several influential designers here at Parkland (April Greiman, Art Chantry), and had more than enough excitement for a lifetime."

Reception highlights. During the May 15 reception, an awards ceremony honoring 2019 Graphic Design program student achievements will take place at 6:30 p.m. "Students feel a sense of accomplishment when they see their work professionally displayed in the gallery," explained Paul Young. "It gives them the opportunity to show friends and family the results of their diligence during the past academic year." 

Immediately after the awards ceremony, Young will give a gallery talk and guided tour of the exhibition. In an informal Q&A with select award winners, Young will go behind the scenes and reveal how Parkland's Graphic Design and Interactive Design programs teach creative problem solving and design thinking.

Giertz Gallery summer hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find the gallery when classes are in session, use the M6 parking lot on the north corner of the campus. Enter through Door X7, turn left, and follow the ramps uphill to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. 

This exhibit is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. For more information, call Giertz Gallery office at 217/351-2485 or visit

Parkland College Ensembles Offer Free Spring Concerts

Enjoy three concerts featuring five music ensembles in April and May

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Parkland College's spring concert season draws to a close with April and early May performances by several ensembles.

"April Sky": A Joint Concert by the Guitar and Wind Ensembles
Sunday, April 28, 3 p.m.
Harold and Jean Miner Theatre

The Parkland Guitar Ensemble, directed by Young Kim, will perform Jim Hodder’s "Favorite and Blackberry Blossom"; choral music arranged for guitar ensemble, including "Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele" by Johann Crüger and "Jesu, meine Freude" by Johann Sebastian Bach; and Bossa nova songs, including "The Girl From Ipanema" by Antonio Carlos Jobim and "Dindi" by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Parkland's Wind Ensemble, directed by Jonathan Beckett, will perform  Mysterian Landscapes by Timothy Broege; "Iditarod," third movement of "Portraits of the North" by Robert Buckley; "Silverado" by Bruce Broughton, arr. by Randol Bass; Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana"; and Leroy Anderson's "Bugler’s Holiday."

Jazz Band Concert
Monday, April 29, 7 p.m.
Parkland Theatre's Second Stage

Director Kevin Hart will lead the Parkland Jazz Band in selections by Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Sam Jones, Cedar Walton, and others.

"A May Medley": A Joint Concert by the Concert Band and Orchestra 
Sunday, May 5, 3 p.m.
Harold and Jean Miner Theatre 

The Parkland Orchestra, directed by Rodney Mueller, will perform "The Sea Hawk (Suite for Orchestra)" by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, arr. Jerry Brubaker; "An Outdoor Overture" by Aaron Copland; the choral prelude “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” by Johann S. Bach, transcribed by Eugene Ormandy; "English Folk Songs Suite" by R. Vaughan Williams, orchestra arr. by Gordon Jacob; and "Solemn Procession to the Cathedral" from the opera "Lohengrin" by Richard Wagner, concert version by Tom Kennedy.

Larry Stoner will lead the Parkland Concert Band in performance of "The Prairie Is My Garden" by Robert W. Smith; "Four Scottish Dances" by Malcolm Arnold; Overture from "The Gadfly" by Dmitri Shostakovich; "The Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Philip Sousa; and "The Roaring Forties" by Philip Sparke.

For more information on Parkland College music performances, visit