October 2021–June 2022

Logan Center School Matinee Program for students and teachers

Welcome to our 2021/22 Logan Center School Matinee Season. We are excited to carry on the tradition of bringing high quality educational artistic experiences to students and teachers. For the first time, our entire series will be presented virtually. Teachers, students and families throughout Chicago and across the country will be able to access these performances via our website. We invite you to participate in this exciting season featuring both local and world renowned performing artists representing the disciplines of dance, music, storytelling and poetry. 

We will premiere two performances on our website each month October through June. Teachers, students and families will be able to watch the matinees at anytime once they are posted. Please view the full schedule below. These dynamic programs will be accessible online until June 30th, 2022.  

We will also provide professional development sessions to support educators with connecting these performances to your curriculum. If you plan to join us virtually for a performance, we encourage you to attend a corresponding Teacher Professional Development Session virtually. These workshops will be presented as live zoom sessions. Each session will provide participants with educational resources. The zoom professional development sessions will be led by seasoned educators and in most cases, the featured artist will be present to meet teachers as well. We will also provide post performance questions to extend the learning experience. After viewing the performance, we hope that you will complete a brief survey to help us improve our programs. 

Example Steps to Participating in Logan Center Matinee Virtual Performances: 

  • Step 1: Review the schedule and select the matinee you would like to attend. 
  • Step 2: Register for the corresponding Teacher Professional Development Session via Eventbrite
  • Step 2: Attend Teacher Professional Development Session virtually
  • Step 3: Watch the performance on the LoganCenterSchoolMatinee Website 
  • Step 4: Encourage students to answer the post performance questions
  • Step 5: Complete a brief post performance survey



Premiere Date: Mon, Oct 11, 2021
Celebration of the Blues with avery r. young and Sam Hooper
Grades: 6-12

Students and teachers have the opportunity to experience the legacy of the blues through two outstanding artists, avery r. young and Sam Hooper! Interdisciplinary artist avery r. young, an award-winning teaching artist, has been called one of the most important thinkers and performers of the Black experience. Young's performance and work in sound design merge the spiritual and secular with dramatic and comedic sensibilities. His heartfelt blues performance and poetry leave young people affirmed by the brilliance and beauty of everyday culture. Sam Hooper is a captivating musician from Cleveland, Ohio. His alluring blend of blues, rock, jazz and funk has thrilled audiences around the world. His soulful vocals have been compared to Otis Redding, while critics have likened his blistering guitar playing to Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana. His stunning performance captures students and teachers alike.


Storyteller Queen Nur
Grades K-5

Karen “Queen Nur” Abdul-Malik is a nationally renowned storyteller, teaching artist and folklorist . Sharing her gift, she has performed in venues from the Opening of the Smithsonian NAAMCH to Equity Theater on Broadway, and from the National Black Storytelling Festival to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, Tennessee. Her performances are one of a kind!


Premiere Date: Mon, Nov 8, 2021
Kalapriya Indian Performing Arts
Grades: K-5

This performance provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about Indian arts and culture. Kalapriya celebrates and embraces many genres of Indian performing arts, including dance and storytelling, to engage audiences, empower students, and build community. Their style showcases Kalapriya’s distinct cultural and artistic contribution to the vibrancy of Chicago.

Premiere Date: Nov 8, 2021
Vocalist Meagan McNeal
Grades 6-12

Native South Sider Meagan McNeal is a powerhouse singer, songwriter, and recording artist well-versed in the genres of jazz, soul, and R&B. Known for her diverse range and soulful voice, this South Sider attracted attention on the local circuit and received international acclaim with the release of her 2014 debut album, Mindset. McNeal will educate through her vocal styling in this captivating matinee performance.


Premiere date: Mon, December 6, 2021
Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project
Grades K-12

For over a century, Black dance has been a vital artistic force in Chicago. From traditional African dance to contemporary choreography, modern jazz to hip-hop ballet, Black dance in Chicago encapsulates a broad spectrum of artistic expression rooted in the Black experience. This performance will feature performances from four of Chicago’s dynamic Black dance companies: Forward Momentum Chicago, Joel Hall Dancers & Center, Muntu Dance Theatre, and Najwa Dance Corps. This is an opportunity for students to learn and reflect on the power of artistic expression.

Musician/Songwriter Melody Angel
Grades 6-12

Chicago native Melody Angel is a self-taught guitarist and singer-songwriter. She is currently promoting her third full-length album, SHE BLACK. Mixing blues, rock, and soul, Angel teaches the art of songwriting as she captivates audiences with her powerful messages. Students and teachers rave about her energetic style.



Premiere date: Mon, January 10, 2022
Musician Shannon Harris
Grades 6-12

Shannon Harris’s healing and Afro-futuristic music aims to educate young people about how sound frequencies affect foods, vitamins, minerals, and even our bodies. The performance encourages young people to explore the healing arts and create healthier connections to music, rhythm, and sound. His intention is to guide viewers to reimagine how life experiences can be shifted by using frequencies as a pharmacy. Join us for an educational journey.

Premiere date: Mon, January 10, 2022
Tsukasa Taiko Drummers
Grades K-8

The mission of Tsukasa Taiko is to preserve and pass on the traditional concepts of taiko as a cultural legacy and to utilize these concepts in expanding and evolving the taiko form.  One of the ways is through educational programming. Tsukasa Taiko has been providing cultural education presentations in the Chicago area public and private schools and universities for over ten years.  These programs are designed not only to teach people about taiko, but also to advance their understanding and appreciation of the cultural arts; Japanese classical dance, Japanese chamber music (ozashiki), and theatrical taiko.





Premiere date: Mon, February 14, 2022
Epic Steel Orchestra
Grades K-12

Epic Steel Orchestra began in 2010 playing the indigenous steel drums of Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies. This energetic group is committed to performing calypso, the genre of music that gave birth to the steel drums in its native Trinidad. The Epic Steel performers bring pleasantry and accessibility to this complex musical style and they demonstrate great flexibility and musical talent as they engage Latin, jazz, marches, classical, and contemporary music.

Storyteller Jasmin Cardenas
Grades K-5

Jasmin Cardenas is a Colombian-American award winning bilingual storyteller, actress, educator and social activist.  Jasmin enjoys exploring the uncomfortable truths found when you grow up between cultures.


Premiere date: Mon, March 14, 2022
Melissa Aldana in partnership with University of Chicago Presents
Grades 6-12

Award-winning saxophonist Melissa Aldana connects her work to the legacy of Latina artists who have come before her, creating a pathway for her own expression. Inspired by the life and works of Frida Kahlo, Aldana illustrates a parallel between her experiences as a female saxophone player and Kahlo’s experiences as a female visual artist. Both transformed landscapes through their artistry. Her creative performances connect audiences to the past, present and future.




Premiere date: Mon, April 4, 2022
Word Is Rhythm Poetry Festival

This annual celebration of National Poetry Month provides a unique opportunity to explore both classic and original poetry. We will have three unique events for different grade levels. This year we invite teachers, students, and families to join in celebration by creating short poetry videos and sharing them with us. We will include four to five videos during each part of the festival. We are also excited to feature three award-winning published authors.

Carmen T. Bernier Grand
Grades K-5

Carmen T. Bernier-Grand was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She is the author of several award-winning books for children and young adults, many of which are biographies of important Latino and Hispanic figures. Her lyrical writing shares meaningful cultural stories.

Mitch Capel
Grades 6-8

Mitch Capel, a professional storyteller since 1985, mesmerizes audiences as he brings stories to life, especially the works of the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906). Also known as “Gran’daddy Junebug,” Capel calls his style of storytelling “sto’etry” because the majority of his stories are in rhyme.

Mahogany L. Browne
Grades 9-12

Writer, organizer, vocalist, performance poet, and educator Mahogany L. Browne is the author of poetry and fiction. Her YA poetry book, Black Girl Magic, celebrates Black girlhood. Her most recent books include the YA titles, Vinyl Moon (Penguin Random House, 2021) and Chlorine Sky (Penguin Random House, 2021). Her poetry collections are Kissing Caskets (YesYes Books, 2017) and the NAACP-nominated chapbook Redbone (Willow Books, 2016). Her performances speak to the challenges and courage of young people today.


Premiere date: Mon, May 16, 2022
Quatuor Diotima (In partnership with the University of Chicago Music Department)
Grades 6-12

Reflected in the mirror of today’s music, this quartet projects a new light onto the masterpieces of the 19th- and 20th-centuries, especially Beethoven, Schubert, and the Second Viennese School (Schoenberg, Berg and Webern), as well as Janáček, Debussy, Ravel, and Bartók. The quartet’s name evokes a double musical significance: diotima is at once an allegory of German romanticism and a rallying cry for the music of our time. Audiences travel across space and time as they become enthralled with their beautiful and talented musicianship.

April Armstrong
Grades K-5

Award winning storyteller April Armstrong weaves melodies and words for a refreshing and compelling style of storytelling. Her story programs are fun and interactive. She tells stories for schools, colleges, libraries, museums and festivals. She tells multi-cultural folktales, including African-American and Latino stories. April's stories delight, inform and inspire audiences of all ages. 



Premiere date: Mon, June 6, 2022
Stories  Around the World
Grades K-5

In this exciting program, three storytellers from different cultural traditions share engaging stories that inspire students to learn more about their own cultures and those of others. We are pleased to present: Motoko, Olga Loya, and Toni Simmons.

Toni Simmons is an award-winning, dynamic storyteller and author. She is a former library director and drama teacher who has presented her multicultural tales throughout the United States and internationally. She hopes her stories will impact lives and make a difference in the world.

The recipient of the National Storytelling Network’s 2017 Circle of Excellence Award, Motoko has enchanted audiences of every age since 1993. She trained with master mime Tony Montanaro (1927-2002) and renowned Appalachian storyteller Elizabeth Ellis. Motoko’s repertoire includes Asian folktales, Rakugo and Zen tales, ghost stories, mime vignettes, as well as oral memoirs from her childhood in Osaka and her life as an immigrant in the U.S.

Storyteller Olga Loya was captivated by the vivid stories her Mexican grandmother and father would tell. Absorbing all of their secrets and following the tendrils of memory that bind people and families, Olga fashioned and invented for herself, out of her own substance and imagination, a stirring universe of creation.


String Queens 
Grades 6-12

Praised for its “authentic, soulful, and orchestral sound”,  The String Queens (TSQ) is a dynamic trio that creates stimulating musical experiences that inspire diverse audiences to love, hope, feel, and imagine!

With an array of repertoire spanning from the Baroque era to the Jazz Age to today’s Billboard Hot 100 Chart, TSQ performs versatile programs that transport audiences through time and a multitude of musical genres.



Critics Program

If you are interested in further engagement opportunities for your students with the subject matter presented at the Logan Center Matinees, please contact us for information on our Critics Programs. 
Logan Center Critics 



Frequently Asked Questions

The Logan Center School Matinee program is made possible through support the Reva and David Logan Foundation, friends of the Logan Center, Urban Gateways and the UChicago Office of Civic Engagement’s Neighborhood Schools Program, and local and national arts organizations and performing artists.


Dominique L Boyd



The Logan Center School Matinee program is made possible through support of the Reva and David Logan Foundation and friends of the Logan Center, as well as partnerships with the Neighborhood Schools Program of the Office of Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago, University of Chicago Presents, and local and national arts organizations and performing artists.