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Ruthie Foster / Jontavious Willis

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Ruthie Foster’s inspired blend of blues, folk, soul, and gospel was born of her Texas upbringing in a family of church singers. She served in the United States Navy, where she fronted a band; when her service ended, she knew she was meant to pursue a career in music. Foster found her groove in Austin’s vibrant scene and has since been nominated for three Grammys, received multiple Blues Music Awards, and collaborated with icons like Bonnie Raitt, the Allman Brothers Band, and The Blind Boys of Alabama. Audiences might also know her from NBC’s Revolution, but this fall, ELLNORA is the place to experience Foster’s American roots renderings.

Hailing from Greenville, Georgia, Jontavious Willis grew up singing gospel music with his grandfather. At 14, he came across a YouTube video of Muddy Waters and was hooked—he set his course on the blues, and four years later he was playing with Taj Mahal. Now 20, Willis is finishing his studies at Columbus State University, majoring in sociology. But most weekends, you can find the musician whom Mahal calls the “great new voice of the 21st century in the acoustic blues” performing in person or online for his fans around the world.

This performance will last approximately one hour and 15 minutes with no intermission.

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Patron Sponsors

  • Gözen & Chris Hartman
  • Jill & James Quisenberry

Patron Co-sponsors

  • Frances & Marc Ansel
  • Beth & David Chasco
  • Beverly & Mike Friese
  • Brenda & Stephen Pacey
  • Mary & George Perlstein
  • Julia & Gene Robinson
  • Anonymous

Corporate Platinum Sponsor

  • WCIA 3

Corporate Gold Sponsors

  • The Daily Illini/WPGU-FM 107.1
  • Koester & Bradley, LLP
  • The Whip at Backland Radio dot com

Corporate Silver Sponsors

  • The Blind Man Hunter Douglas Gallery
  • Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon
  • Comfort Suites
  • Kessler Optical
  • Lite Rock 97.5-WHMS FM
  • Smile Politely
  • The Upper Bout
  • Visit Champaign County
  • WEFT 90.1

Corporate Bronze Sponsors

  • Analog Outfitters
  • Barham Benefit Group
  • Dimond Bros. Insurance, LLC
  • ESPN 93.5
  • Events at Refinery
  • by Greencopper
  • Weiskamp Screen Printing

The three-day guitar spectacular of ELLNORA is possible only because of individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Krannert Center thanks our event sponsors—performances at the Center could not happen without their support. We hope you will consider joining them, to ensure Krannert Center’s vibrancy now and for generations to come. Learn more about sponsoring an event »

Event Details

Colwell Playhouse
Fr Sep 15, 2017 - 8:15pm
Pick Five+: 33 / SC 28 / STU 15 / UI & YTH 10 Single: 35 / SC 30 / STU 15 / UI & YTH 10