Celebrating 19 Years as Barrington’s Signature Magazine

Arts and Culture

Presenting the Spring 2024 Season of Cultural Events

In memory of Earle M. Combs, III, Timothy J. Dunn and Norval B. Stephens, Jr.


Former Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo headlines the Barrington Town-Warming alongside Motorola Solutions Chairman & CEO Greg Brown.

Barrington Town-Warming “Intelligence: Artificial, Political, Central”

Saturday, February 3, 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

$150 Per Person (continental breakfast, lunch, and reception)

This year’s Barrington Town-Warming theme focuses on artificial, political, and central intelligence, with a keynote talk by former U.S. Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. He will make a special virtual appearance from overseas to be interviewed by Motorola Solutions Chairman and CEO Greg Brown, who will also present a brief introduction on the challenges presented by the rise of China. A panel focusing on artificial intelligence will probe the complexities of this new technology, while a panel of journalists will examine the 2024 election. Barrington native and humorist Chris Erskine will provide  a lighter repose during the day. Presenting Sponsor: Northern Trust

Author Neil King, Jr.: American Ramble: A Walk from D.C. to Manhattan

Sunday, February 4, 3:00 p.m.

$25 Per Person (18 and under FREE with paid adult)

After COVID lockdowns and a rancorous election had deepened America’s divides, author Neil King, Jr. bore the imprints of a long battle with cancer. Determined to rediscover what matters in life and to see our national story with new eyes, he turned north with a small satchel on his back and one mission in mind: To pay close attention to the land he crossed and the people he met.

Celebrating 50 Years of Fine Arts
in Barrington 220: Middle School
Arts Showcase

Wednesday, February 7, 5:00 p.m. Art Show; 6:00 p.m. Discussion


Barrington 220 is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as a unified school district with an interactive evening of fine arts featuring middle school visual and performing artists. Performances, artwork, interactive experiences, and an alumni panel discussion will provide an opportunity to share how early engagement with the arts is essential to the human experience.

“My Jazzy Valentine” with Ron Hawking

Friday, February 9, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 10, 7:30 p.m.

$45 Per Person

Bring your sweetie and don’t miss a wonderful White House Valentine’s Day tradition! Award-winning entertainer and Grammy-nominated recording artist Ron Hawking returns again to perform popular Valentine songs of love that come from the heart. His latest album release,  The Song Is You, was Grammy-nominated in the category of Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. Ron’s vocal artistry, warm personality and humor, backed by Bobby Schiff on piano, Michael Hanko on keyboard synth, Jim Cox on bass, and Dave Richter on guitar, will make this Valentine’s Day a truly special experience.

The Barrington Health & Wellness Summit gathers leading experts from all over the country to explore a variety of topics including cancer prevention, sleep, culinary medicine, microbiome, integrative medicine, nutrition, brain health, holistic healing, and more.


$15 Per Person Per Event

Thursday, January 11
Behind Barrington’s Great American Baker  Nirali Chauhan

Tuesday, February 6
Smart Travel with Guide Janette Tepas

Clara (Sela Anderson) and her Nutcracker Doll (Neve Anderson), sisters. Photography by Lance long

BDE Celebrates 30 Years of The Nutcracker

Barrington Dance Ensemble (BDE) staged its 30th anniversary production of one of Barrington’s most popular holiday family traditions, “The Nutcracker.” The Christmas centerpiece and polished production was performed at Barrington High School’s Richard C. Johnson Auditorium to an audience of over 1,600 attendees this year. Original choreography by Gregory Merriman and directed by BDE’s Founder and Artistic Director Mary Brennan, the beloved ballet ran from Friday, December 1 through Sunday, December 3.

The foundation of BDE’s production of “The Nutcracker” every year is the melding of young performers, ensemble dancers, and world-class professional guest artists, with stunning results. The vitality of the shows is directly connected to the familial feel—siblings, cousins, spouses, parents, grandparents, and company alumni all contributed to the on stage, backstage and front of house success. The production’s iconic score and festive holiday scenes captivated the community, young and old.

uncommon ground

S T O R Y  a n d  P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y  b y  M A R Y  K L E S T

Joel Pace spends time gardening at his home. Later, he joined writer and neighbor Mary Klest for conversation and coffee in town.

How Well Do You Know Your Neighbor?

When Joel Pace and his wife Kristin moved into a house down the street from me, I was curious to know who they were and where they came from. The first thing I observe about Joel is that he likes working in the yard. One day, I see him outside planting some bushes. I say hello and introduce myself the way new neighbors are likely to do. His smile is friendly and we get to talking.

“What brings you to Barrington?” I ask as he wipes dirt off his pants.

He gives me the short version of his return to the area from Pittsburgh. “I teach at the American Academy of Art on Michigan Avenue. We needed a house along the Metra line.”

I walk my dog past their house regularly. I wave, say hello, and move on.

On another day, I’m at Madcats, a music room in Palatine, when a man nods and says hello to me. I say hello back and continue talking with the friend I had come with. The hello man comes closer to our table and says, “I see you walking your dog past my house.” It is then I recognize my neighbor Joel. I’m used to seeing him in garden clothes with a cap on his head and a trowel in his hand. We talk briefly before he moves toward the stage. He’s not here to listen to music, but to play in the band. He’s the lead singer and keyboard player of the Night Beats, a band he founded. After that encounter, I want to know more.

We meet for coffee in town where I get the longer version of his story. Joel earned an undergraduate degree in Art from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. That’s where he first met Kristin. But they parted ways. He obtained a master’s degree from Carnegie Melon, married, and began teaching at the Academy. After decades of teaching art and the death of his wife, he reconnected with Kristin and they married. He thought he wanted to retire so they moved to Pittsburgh. But the Academy wanted him back and he wanted to come back. “I love teaching students how to draw.” He now lives in Barrington, acts as Dean of the School and continues teaching a class in drawing.

It is not until our coffee cups are nearly empty that he tells me of his childhood. “We were very poor. We didn’t own a car or a television, not even a radio. But what I did have was a box of crayons and a library card.” Wow! With that, he built a most interesting and rewarding life. Meeting Joel reminds me that we are not just one thing, at one time, in one place. We are multi-faceted people with lots to learn about each other.

Mary Klest is a Barrington-based writer and local journalism advocate. She can be reached at mary@maryklest.com.

Poetry Pause

Finding Peace

By John W. Maxwell

. . . . . . . . .

John W. Maxwell read poems from his book Hammering Nails during Barrington’s Town Warming event and will be returning for this year’s Poetry in the Park reading on June 22 at Citizens Park.

. . . . . . . . .

I do not find peace in what
I chase and try to hold.
I find peace in what I release
to create space for what I love.

I do not find peace in battling
the monsters who pursue me.
I find peace in releasing
the monsters inside of me.

I do not find peace in making
others wrong so I can be right.
I find peace in surrendering
my need to be right.

I do not find peace in searching for
someone who will love me.
I find peace in seeing myself worthy
So, I can accept being loved.

I do not find peace, somewhere
out there, far beyond my reach.
I find peace by searching my heart
where it patiently waits for me.

– End –

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