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Big Al Sears’ Birthday Party

February 23 @ 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

The Western Illinois Museum is throwing a party for Big Al Sears! Albert Omega Sears, born in Macomb on February 21, 1910, to the Reverend John W. Sears and Martha “Mattie” Miller Sears, became a well-known recording artist, composer, bandleader and record producer. In celebration of his accomplishments, the museum invites you to join us on Our Front Porch, for music, local history and refreshments on Friday, February 23, 2018, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Our Front Porch, a new exhibit space, is the perfect place to start your weekend, slow down, find a more meaningful perspective and enjoy live music together.

At 4:45 pm, guests will learn about the musical prowess of Al Sears during a brief commentary by historian Sterling Kernek, who will illustrate a link between Big Al’s approach to jazz and a new CD created by Vicki Mayo and the George Turner Trio. Museum re-enactors will take guests back to Macomb in the early 1900s to learn more about the everyday life of the Sears family.

The celebration will feature a performance at 5:00 pm by Vicki Mayo with the George Turner Trio who will play selections from their new CD, “Making Love Set to Music.” Their musical collaboration explores jazz standards with Mayo’s expressive vocals perfectly complemented by Turner’s well-honed and thoughtful guitar playing, bringing a new perspective on golden-age jazz favorites. To mark the launch of the new recording, guests who make a $5 or more donation at the door will take home a party favor: a copy of the CD, compliments of Sterling Kernek.

Doors and cash bar, provided by Hy-Vee Catering, open at 4:30 pm. The Western Illinois Museum is located at 201 South Lafayette Street in Macomb. For more information, contact the museum at 309.837.2750 or info@wimuseum.org.

About Vicki Mayo

Although Vicki Mayo was formally trained to sing in operas, her favorite genre is jazz. While living in New York City for 17 years, she had various gigs and jobs, most notably as a vocalist assisting Joe Raposo, the Music Director of Sesame Street. After returning to the Midwest, she worked as a high school choir director and often performed with jazz pianist Ann Collins.

About George Turner
George Turner has worked full time as a jazz guitarist and guitar teacher since 1993. Turner holds music degrees from the University of Illinois and has worked as an instructor at the Conservatory of Central Illinois in Champaign, and University of Illinois. Currently, he teaches at Western Illinois University and leads his own groups playing straight ahead and Latin jazz, as well as blues, funk, and rock. In 2000 he released the CD “Slip, Don’t Fall”, featuring his original compositions. He continues to perform regularly throughout Illinois, the Midwest and beyond.

About Sterling Kernek
Sterling Kernek worked as a professional historian from 1971, the year he received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Cambridge, until 2002, when he retired from the History Department at Western Illinois University. He has been a jazz fan since his high school years growing up in Corvallis, Oregon.


February 23
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Category:


Western Illinois Museum


Western Illinois Museum
201 South Lafayette Street
Macomb, IL 61455 United States
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