I.C. Fine Arts Series Returns with Pair of Virtual Events, Including an Evening of Tales After Dark

By Jeremy Coumbes on October 20, 2020 at 6:25pm

The follow up to a successful Halloween event from last year will debut Wednesday night, virtually.

Tales After Dark returns to the Illinois College Fine Arts Series this week as a virtual event featuring Spooky Stories with Jacksonville’s own master storyteller Mike Anderson. Last October’s Tales After Dark featured a walking tour at the Illinois College campus with three different stops for three separate storytellers.

The video presentation will premiere tomorrow at 6:30 pm on the Illinois College Fine Arts Series website, and will be available on demand through the end of the month.

Anderson says it is unfortunate that due to the pandemic, the event cannot be held in person. He says the video which was shot at Out Town Books on the downtown square in Jacksonville, makes the best out of a tough time and situation. He says there will be plenty of Halloween fun and suspense when it debuts tomorrow night.

There are three stories that I’ll be telling. One of them is Aunt Jessica’s Story which is what happens when you write a ghost story at Christmas time, and it’s got a ghost in it. The second one is a classic if you have been to any of my shows over the years, it’s a Denny and I story. A story about my next door neighbor Denny and I being out in a cornfield and running across a lady in the cornfield and something happens to her thumb.

The third story is a relatively spooky story, it’s called The Macintyre Homestead, and it’s got a shape shifter in it.”

Anderson says the three featured stories are family friendly, however he does have an option for parents of younger children to enjoy as well.

The three of them are spooky, so if someone has little ones and they are a little concerned about it, then if they can get in touch with me through Facebook or something like that, then I can send them a link to one of the softer shows, so they are not, uh- terrorizing their kids.”

Garrett Allman, Chair of the IC Fine Arts Series says this season has been a challenge to organize due to the pandemic, however they have been able to put the virtual shows together to keep the series going. He says the first in the series debuted on the website this past Friday, and it features a local talent with worldwide appeal.

A vocal duo, a soprano and tenor, Karen Fergurson who is a native of Greenfield, who went to Milliken and then won a bunch of operatic competitions, and has made quite a big career of singing in Europe, with a fabulous voice, a wonderful voice. She sings with her husband who is a wonderful tenor who is originally from Mexico, Francisco Almanza. They are doing a really varied program of music. They recorded the performance for us in a really beautiful Baroque church, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Melle, Germany. So there is a feast for the eyes as well as the ears.”

Allman says the Fergurson and Almanza performance will be available free of charge and on demand as well, through this Friday on the website. He says both of these fall performances are free to enjoy on the site while they are available.

There are four performances scheduled for the spring that are currently set to be in-person, however Allmon says the Fine Arts Series has plans in the works to move them to a virtual format if large gatherings are still not allowed at that time.

Allmon says due to the pandemic limiting shows, there will be no season tickets sold this year for any in-person events, only single seat tickets will be available. He says the Fine Arts Series virtual shift is going well so far, but the performers still need to be paid, and the series does accept donations via their website and by phone.

He says the point is not to ask for money as much as for the community to help support the arts in the Jacksonville area as much as possible by watching the series, and hopefully contributing to it as well if they are able.

The Tales After Dark performance featuring Mike Anderson will debut tomorrow, Wednesday, October 21st and run on demand through November 1st.

To view the two performances, see a list of this season’s shows, or donate to the Fine Arts Series, go to their website at www.ic.edu/fas

You can also make donations or order tickets by phone when live events return by calling 217-245-3192.