Metro-East Living

Laney Jones & the Spirits coming to Mascoutah

Laney Jones will perform at Mascoutah’s Espenschied Chapel on Sunday.
Laney Jones will perform at Mascoutah’s Espenschied Chapel on Sunday.

Laney Jones & the Spirits will bring their national tour to Mascoutah’s Espenschied Chapel at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The group will be promoting Laney’s self-titled album, which will be released March 11. “Laney Jones” is a “retro majestic” album that mixes timeless sounds with current influences, topped with Laney’s signature vocals. The album is more rock ’n’ roll than folk, for which Laney is most well known.

“When people see the banjo, they expect bluegrass,” the singer said. “While I have deep love and respect for that music, I have really eclectic taste. I listen to everything from early folk roots to hip-hop. I can’t help but take influence from everything around me. With this album, I wanted to prove that I can bring traditional instruments to unexplored realms.”

Laney’s career has taken her from Florida clubs to performing on PBS alongside Alison Krauss. She has won many prestigious songwriting awards, including the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. She has played at the Lincoln Center in New York City and the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C. Last year, Laney & the Spirits had 140 performances across the country.

Advance tickets are $10 at Bee Hollow Market, 217 E. Main St. in Mascoutah. Tickets at the door are $12. For information, go to

Jazz at the B’Eastro

Belleville East High School bands, with special guest Cornet Chop Suey, will present an evening of jazz Saturday at Bellecourt Manor in Belleville.

The Belleville East Jazz Band, Jazz Ensemble and Concert Jazz Orchestra will perform. The evening begins with a social hour from 6 to 7 p.m.; dinner, desserts and dancing from 7 to 11 p.m.; a silent auction from 6 to 9 p.m. and an oral auction at 9 p.m.

Tickets are $40 per person and $75 per couple. Dress is cocktail casual. For tickets, contact Renee Walker at 618-593-1749 by noon Thursday.

It’s sponsored by the Belleville East Band & Orchestra Parents. All proceeds benefit Belleville East Lancer Bands.

Bellecourt Manor is at 225 E. A St. in Belleville.


The Brass Rail Players will present “Meshuggah-Nuns!” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday at Turkey Hill Grange auditorium, 1375 E. Illinois 15 in Belleville.

The plot of “Meshuggah-Nuns!” involves four of the Little Sisters of Hoboken who have been given a “Faith of All Nations” cruise. The cruise ship entertainment is a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof,” but all the performers have become seasick except Howard, the actor playing Tevye, the father character in “Fiddler.” The captain, knowing of the famous nuns from Hoboken, asks the nuns to help Howard provide entertainment. In “Meshuggah-Nuns!,” the audience will again connect with their favorites: Reverend Mother, Sisters Hubert, Robert Anne, and Amnesia, and will be treated to some Catholic and Jewish humor and songs and dance which may remind the audience of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Local actors Stephanie Rhein, Sarah James, Heather Holland-Daly and Kara Grossman portray the Little Sisters of Hoboken, with Howard/Tevye portrayed by Jeff Clinebell, of Waterloo. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, students and military with ID, $6 for 8th grade and under. Tickets may be purchased by calling 618-767-6016 or at

Hot jazz, cool blues

Fronted by a high-energy female vocalist and backed by a horn-fueled rhythm section, Miss Jubilee & The Humdingers will bring their blend of jazz and R&B to Alton’s Jacoby Arts Center at 8 p.m. Friday.

The band was formed in 2007 when Valerie Kirchhoff wanted to put together a swinging high-energy jump blues band that was authentic in presenting 1940s and ’50s music and style. In 2010, the band went through a lineup change and started to delve back into the jot jazz and blues of the 1920s and ’30s, becoming two bands in one with two distinctive styles.

Vocalist Kirchhoff is backed by Dan Conner on drums, Ethan Leinwand on piano, Brian Casserly on trumpet/cornet, David “Nacho” Gomez on tenor sax and clarinet, Kyle Butz on trombone/guitar, and Michael Carvale on upright bass.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or online through Doors open at 7:30 p.m. A cash bar is available.

The Jacoby Arts Center is at 627 E. Broadway in Alton.

Frontier gardening

Volunteer “jardiniere” (gardener) Carol Kunz will demonstrate “art de vivre” (art of life) that put food on French settlers’ tables 250 years ago on Saturday at the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site near Prairie du Rocher.

She will run an heirloom seed exchange in the site’s Trading Post from 10 a.m. to noon. Bring your favorite seeds and trade them with other gardeners. At 1 p.m., the presentation moves to the “jardin potager” (kitchen garden), where participants will learn how to prepare raised beds and how to give fruit trees the most important pruning of the year. Bring garden gloves.

Fort de Chartres was built by the French military in the 1750s. It served as the seat of government and chief military installation in Illinois when France controlled the territory. The British took it over and used it until 1772. The fort’s powder magazine is the oldest building in Illinois.

The fort is at 1350 Illinois 155, 4 miles west of Prairie du Rocher. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Suggested donation is $4 for adults, $2 for children or $10 per family.

University Choir

The University of Evansville Choir will perform choral-orchestral masterworks and unaccompanied music from the Renaissance through the 21st century in a concert Wednesday at Union United Methodist Church in Belleville.

The concert starts at 6:30 p.m., and a reception will follow. A free-will offering will be accepted.

The 28-member choir has performed with the Evansville Bach Singers and Orchestra, at the Indiana Music Educators Convention and at Carnegie Hall in New York.

The program will include English madrigals, “Turn Back O Man” by Holst, “Verleih Uns Frieden” by Mendelssohn, “Christus Factus Est” by Anerio, “I Wonder As I Wander” by John Rutter, and “The Deepness of the Blue” by William Averitt with text by Langston Hughes.