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Leighann's Chicago Story

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Leighann's Chicago Story

Leighann Daihl Ragusa is a traveso player who loves Portillo’s but not Chicago-style hotdogs, doesn’t watch sports, and is crazy for Giordano’s. Read more about her and her Chicago Story here.

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Paul's Chicago Story

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Paul's Chicago Story

Paul Von Off is a sackbut player who loves the stars, the Blackhawks, and Giordano’s. Read more about him and his Chicago Story here.

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Kurt's Chicago Story

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Kurt's Chicago Story

Kurt Westerberg is a composer with ties to Rogers Park, loves the lake, and cheers on the cubs. Read more about him and his Chicago Story here.

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Katherine's Chicago Story

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Katherine's Chicago Story

Katherine Shuldiner is a gambist who lives in Andersonville, loves the Botanical Gardens, and is down for a Chicago-style hotdog. Read more about her and her Chicago Story here.

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Regina's Chicago Story

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Regina's Chicago Story

Regina Harris Baiocchi is a composer who loves Tuscany’s on Taylor, loves the Sox, and is a proud South Sider. Read more about her and her Chicago Story here.

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Ronnie's Chicago Story

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Ronnie's Chicago Story

Ronnie Kuller is a composer who loves the Bloomingdale Trail, lives in Old Irving, and cheers on her favorite sports team: The Joffrey Ballet. Read more about her and her Chicago Story here.

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Felicia's Chicago Story

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Felicia's Chicago Story

Felicia Patton is a vocalist who went to North Park University, eats at Girodano’s, and still calls it the Sears Tower. Read more about her and her Chicago Story here.

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Laura's Chicago Story

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Laura's Chicago Story

Laura Osterlund is a recorder player that loves the lake, Ann Sather, and Chicago-style hotdogs. Read more about her and her Chicago Story here.

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Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

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Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Can a Christmas carol be controversial? The creator of "Hark how all the Welkin rings" certainly wasn't too happy when a revised version became of his text came out. Find out more about all the poetic shade that was thrown with Leighann Daihl Ragusa, curator of the BBE's 2017 Carols program.

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Why Christmas Carols Made Me Love Christmas Again

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Why Christmas Carols Made Me Love Christmas Again

They say that music can change lives. The BBE's Thomas Alaan gets personal and shares why he didn't always like Christmas, but how a 2015 BBE performance of all-Christmas carols and the #bbefamily changed his tune. Find out how that happened in this tell-all blog, and look or his upcoming book, "Going Rogue: A Countertenor's Tale." (#JustKidding)

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Wassailing?? What’s waaaassailing?

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Wassailing?? What’s waaaassailing?

What is Wassailing? Is it a type of boat? Is it the past tense of a verb? Actually, "wassailing" can mean several things, though most of them seem to revolve around food or beverages. (We don't object.) Learn more about wassailing - and how to brew your own wassail drink! - with Leighann Daihl Ragusa, curator of the BBE's 2017 Carols program.

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The Evolution of Carols

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The Evolution of Carols

We think that carols belong exclusively to the Christmas season - but that's not true! For centuries, we sang carols during all four seasons, at weddings and birthdays, and during other holidays and occasions. Even the Christmas carols we know today, well, they’ve gone through some changes. Learn more about the history of carols with Leighann Daihl Ragusa, curator of the BBE's 2017 Carols program.

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Harpsichord: Brilliantly Strung

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Harpsichord: Brilliantly Strung

This predecessor of the piano is probably the best known early Western musical instrument known to modern audiences. Join national treasure David Schrader to learn more about the harpsichord!

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Recorders Are For Grown Ups

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Recorders Are For Grown Ups

It’s true. Most people associate recorders with screeching, neon-colored plastic instruments. But listen to Laura Osterlund play, and you'll wish you'd paid more attention in elementary music class!

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Baroque Oboe: The Leading Reed

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Baroque Oboe: The Leading Reed

What do you get when you employ two creative Frenchmen as the resident artists of your 17th century court? With some luck, you'll get the Baroque oboe. Explore the "leading reed" with Sung Lee!

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Traverso: “The Love Glue”

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Traverso: “The Love Glue”

Love glue: two words you never thought you'd see together in classical music. But, there they are. Find out what that actually means, and meet our traverso player, Leighann Daihl Ragusa!

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The Viol: Bowed and Fretted

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The Viol: Bowed and Fretted

It kind of looks like a cello... only it's not! It's called a viola da gamba, which means "leg-viol." Come explore this beautiful and versatile instrument with BBE artist and Chicago favorite, Anna Steinhoff.

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The Versatile Violin

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The Versatile Violin

Once upon a time (c.1500) in a land far, far away (Italy), a maiden named Isabella d’Este made the purchase of a lifetime in c. 1500. You probably guessed it: the violin. Explore that purchase, and how the violin has evolved since the 16th century, with BBE Artistic Director, Brandi Berry.

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Sackbut: A Genius Design

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Sackbut: A Genius Design

The early trombone (also called a sackbut) has remained relatively unchanged since it was invented in the 15th century. That’s a pretty stellar run, but as the saying goes, “If it ain't broke, don’t fix it.” Join us as we explore this *genius* instrument with Paul Von Hoff. 

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