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Punch Brothers & Chris Thile at the McAninch Arts Center

Chris Thile released the first of five solo albums by the time he was 13 and had attracted a large following by the time he turned 20. Eight years later, the composer-singer-mandolin player and a group of friend have formed Punch Brothers and are bringing a 40-minute, four-movement suite, "The Blind Leaving the Blind, " to the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd. in Glen Ellyn, at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 4.

"The Blind Leaving the Blind, " a reflection on failed relationships and the process of maturity incorporates mandolin, banjo, guitar, violin and bass, creating a rigorously-structured, jazz-like improvisation that weaves not only the back story of the transition into adulthood and the loss of innocence, but the personalities of the musicians playing.

Band members include guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Greg Garrison, banjo player Noam Pikelny and violinist Gabe Witcher.

Thile, who previously recorded with Grammy Award-winning folk group Nickel Creek, is lauded for his incorporation of classical pieces into a fearless, energetic and technically demanding body of work that includes experiments bending various genres with music ranging from Bach to Radiohead.

Located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355, the McAninch Arts Center (atthemac.org) at College of DuPage is a state-of-the-art facility, housing three performance spaces, an art gallery and classrooms for the college's academic programming. This unique facility has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and last year welcomed more than 75, 000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances.

The center offers free parking and group discounts and is home to five resident companies, including Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, the New Philharmonic Orchestra, DuPage Opera Theatre, the Arts Center Jazz Ensemble and the New Classic Singers. The result is a collection of touring and resident and student groups that foster enlightened education and performance opportunities to encourage artistic expression, promote a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community.

The MAC's extensive community outreach program includes pre-performance lectures, classes with visiting artists and the SchoolStage program, which provides students with an interactive, educational arts experience. Those and other efforts to increase community access to arts earned the MAC the Illinois Arts Council's Partners in Excellence designation, which recognizes 40 of the most significant cultural institutions in the state.



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