Spurlock Museum Gala Innovation and Syncopation with exterior photo

Innovation and Syncopation: Spurlock Museum Gala

Join the Spurlock Museum Board and museum staff for an evening of dinner, drinks, dessert, and dancing to celebrate and to benefit the Spurlock Museum. Music from cultures of the world is our theme with an emphasis on the American creation of Jazz.

The University of Illinois Concert Jazz Band will perform Big Band Swing and music from the American Songbook, with special appearances by Chip McNeill and Jim Pugh.

Introductory basic swing dance lessons taught by Spurlock staff member, Jennifer White, will be available 6:00 pm–6:30 pm.

About the Artists

Chip McNeill is a Grammy winning jazz tenor saxophonist and Chairman of Jazz Studies at The University of Illinois. Prof. McNeill currently tours with Doc Severinsen and The Tonight Show Band as well as with his own small groups. His list of recording/performing credits have included such notables as Doc Severinsen, Arturo Sandoval, Maynard Ferguson, and The Woody Herman Orchestra. He has also performed with many of the worlds' top jazz artists and entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Natalie Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Eckstine, Wynton Marsalis.

Jim Pugh is Professor of Jazz Performance at the University of Illinois. He currently is the trombonist with Steely Dan. Prof. Pugh performed with Woody Herman and Chick Corea before moving to New York where he became New York's top-call freelance trombonist for film scores, records, and music for television and radio advertising: over the past 30 years he has been on more than 4,000 recording sessions. He can be heard in recorded collaboration with leading artists and orchestras such as Yo-Yo Ma, Steely Dan, André Previn, Paul Simon, Barbara Streisand, Tony Bennett, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Pink Floyd, and Frank Sinatra. He was voted by the New York chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for their MVP award for trombone 5 times and then given their Virtuoso Award.

Selections from the Playlist

  • "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" (w/Jim Pugh)
  • "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" (w/Chip McNeill)
  • "Autumn Leaves" (arranged by U of I Alumni Scott Ninmer; w/Jim Pugh)
  • "Caravan" (arranged by Chip McNeill)
  • "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most" (w/Jim Pugh)

Ticket Reservation Details

Individual Tickets at $100 / per person
Tables for 10 at $900 / table
A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.

You may make reservations online but payment must be made by mail no later than November 9, 2017.

Reserve online

Reservations can also be made by mail. A printed registration form and check made payable to “University of Illinois Foundation” should be mailed to:

Attn: Spurlock Museum Fall Gala
Spurlock Museum
600 S. Gregory St.
Urbana, IL 61801

Please include Spurlock Museum Gala in the memo line. Please indicate in a separate note the number in your party and indicate if anyone requires special dietary needs.

Download Printable Form (PDF)

Reservations and checks must be received no later than Thursday, November 9, 2017.

Please note that this program does NOT take place at the Spurlock Museum.
Add Event to CalendarAdd to Calendar


For questions, contact Mike VanBlaricum, Spurlock Advisory Board President, at .

To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at or (217) 244-5586.