Among the many unmissable events held throughout the 2021 Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF), which kicked off on September 25th and runs through Thursday, December 9th (click here for the full list of events), one unforgettably brought down the house this past Saturday. Celebrated jazz vocalist Tammy McCann performed as part of this year's Graham Concert, honoring the work of icons such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday.
McCann, who was named 2020's Chicagoan of the Year in Jazz by the Chicago Tribune, discovered jazz as a college sophomore in a university hallway where she overheard someone practicing a composition by famed jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. That midnight moment became the catalyst for McCann’s storied career as a jazz vocalist, performing around the world with legends like Ray Charles. At CHF 2021, McCann combined her classical training with jazz and gospel, taking audiences on a lyrical journey to rediscover the powerful women of the Great American Songbook.
Three highly anticipated CHF events will take place on Saturday, October 23rd: at 10:30am CT, multi-Grammy nominated Spektral Quartet will perform its 2018 commission Plain, Air (by composer Tonia Ko), inspired by Chicago’s lakeshore and hosted by plant ecologist and author Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass), at the historic Great Hall of Cafe Brauer, 2021 N. Stockton Dr. (click here for tickets); at 1:30pm CT, Broadway star turned author Sutton Foster will speak with Marilynn Thoma Artistic Director Alison Cuddy at Columbia College Chicago's Student Center about her new book, Hooked, in which she shares all the moments where crafting saved her life (click here for tickets); and at 4pm CT in the same venue, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges will discuss his latest book, Our Class, about the human toll of cyclical and systemic incarceration with human and civil rights lawyer G. Flint Taylor (click here for tickets).
Audiences are encouraged to support CHF at its annual benefit and celebration on Monday, October 18th, where internationally-renowned architect, MacArthur Fellow and past Festival presenter Jeanne Gang will receive this year’s Vision Award. She will also join Alison Cuddy for an insightful conversation on how the built environment connects us as communities. The evening will be MC’d and feature musical performances by festival favorites — Rob Lindley, Doug Peck and Bethany Thomas, along with an incredible line-up of Chicago’s finest talent, including the electrifying Growing Concerns Poetry Collective. All proceeds from the evening will help ensure CHF as Chicago’s home for critical civic and cultural conversations (click here for tickets).