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Slowing Down for Rush Hour

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 18, 2006 9:30PM

If you work or live downtown and your Tuesday just can’t end soon enough, drop by St. James Cathedral tonight, or any Tuesday summer evening, for a free hour of munchies and classical music.

Chicago is a fine destination for frugal music lovers. We’re crushing on the Grant Park Music Festival, the last free classical music fest in the nation. Ravinia offers students with ID (and occasionally graduates with newish looking IDs) free lawn seats to CSO concerts. And Symphony Center’s acoustics rock, even for the cheap bastards in the rear balcony. But the Rush Hour Series is always free and, unlike their outdoor counterparts, wine and snacks are provided, it’s climate controlled, and the audience respects the musicians with their silence.

rushhour.jpgAs they should, since Rush Hour draws professionals from the CSO and The Chicago Chamber Musicians among others. The series is pretty informal, no need to dress fancy, but the chamber pieces are as rich as Mozart’s birthday cake. Tonight Rush Hour partners with the French Consulate General, serving up Debussy’s sonatas and perhaps a few pre-show French delicacies. Impress your friends with background on Debussy cribbed from the Rush Hour blog. Later this summer, Rush Hour musicians will play tribute to Chinese folk music, Bach, and Julia Child.

Rush Hour Concerts continue every Tuesday night through August 29 at the St. James Cathedral, 65 E. Huron St. Doors open for pre-show goodies at 5:15pm, concerts begin at 5:45pm. More information at

Image via Rush Hour Concerts