Chris Bennett will bring a world of music to her hometown Oct. 10, literally.
She co-wrote the Grammy nominated song, “Theme from Midnight Express” for that 1978 movie, worked with singers Jim Nabors and Dean Martin while in graduate school at UCLA, caught attention for her lead vocals (and album cover photo) with the disco band Munich Machine, sang backup for Rita Coolidge and Johnny Mathis, written a musical, and toured as a jazz singer-pianist from New York to Europe. In 2010, she released the cool “Sail Away,” her 12th solo album. She’s composed songs in memory of Holocaust survivors and support of marriage equality.
On Oct. 10, she’ll play the town where it all began for the daughter of a judge, who loved to play and sing jazz, and an elementary school music teacher.
Bennett will perform in concert that night at historic Harlan Hall in Marshall, Ill., beginning at 7 p.m. CDT. Doors open at 6.
A Grammy nominated singer/songwriter/pianist, Bennett graduated from Marshall High School and the University of Illinois before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. While attending graduate school at UCLA, she auditioned for Nabors, and for the next few years toured the country with “Gomer Pyle,” playing frequent dates at the Sahara in Las Vegas and Harrah’s in Reno and Lake Tahoe, Nev.
She put her own show together in 1974 and toured Japan, Bali and Thailand, where she was cast in a German television show. In Germany, she met Giorgio Moroder, the producer of Donna Summer, and became the lead singer of Munich Machine, a successful disco group of the 1970s.
Bennett just returned from Berlin, Germany, where she performed at the A-Trane, and in December she makes her big band debut with the Zagreb Big Band for Croatian National Television.
For her performance in Marshall, she will feature well-known standards as well as her original compositions from her 12 acclaimed albums. Bennett is the daughter of the late Judge Caslon and Vera Bennett, who both encouraged her early interest in music.
“Marshall will always be home,” Bennett said, who still owns her family farm and visits as often as possible. “I am very excited to perform at the renovated Harlan Hall. What a great asset to our community. I remember attending parties there when I was young, so I know it will bring back great memories. I had such a wonderful childhood in Marshall, and will always be a small-town girl at heart.”
Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For more information call Susan Richards at Harlan Hall at 217-826-2498 or visit www.chrisbennett.com.