North Central College - Naperville, IL

The Union hosts musicians, poets, speakers this winter

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An award-winning poet, renowned civil rights leader, touring musicians and more headline at The Union in downtown Naperville this winter. Sponsored by North Central College's Christian Life Council, The Union is a venue gathering place that draws regular Friday night college-age crowds for spiritually significant expressions of music, film and art.

"The diversity of our winter series is very exciting," said North Central College Director of Ministry and Service Jeremy Gudauskas. "We continue to spotlight emerging local artists and some of the most influential voices for social change on the national scene. Each event seems to build on the next, and we've developed a community of people who love engaging with thought-provoking art in a variety of forms."

The Union's winter schedule brings the following events. Unless noted otherwise, all events will take place at 7 p.m. at 129 W. Benton Ave., Naperville; doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or in advance; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).

• Jan. 15: Talk by Dr. Cornel West, longtime champion for racial justice and one of America's most provocative public intellectuals, begins at 7 p.m. West will speak from the same stage and lectern at North Central College as Martin Luther King Jr. did in 1960. Doors open at 6 p.m. in Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave. Tickets are $10; visit

• Jan. 22: Poetry Slam, featuring New York City poet Carlos Andres Gomez, along with other area poets and students. Gomez has starred in Spike Lee's hit film "Inside Man" and is a Russell Simmons HBO Def Poet, 2006 International Poetry Slam Champion and winner of the 2009 Artist of the Year Award at the Promoting Outstanding Writers Awards. Tickets are $8; visit

• Feb. 5: The band Company of Thieves will perform songs from their latest hit release "Ordinary Riches," after a nationwide tour and recent interview on WTTW's "Chicago Tonight." Tickets are $10; visit

• Feb. 12: Nashville's Derek Webb returns to The Union with his recent release, the controversial "Stockholm Syndrome" under his belt. A departure from his folk-rock past, Webb dives into the world of electronica. Tickets are $12; visit

• Feb. 26: Talk and Q&A with Jamie Tworkowski, founder of To Write Love On Her Arms, a nonprofit that brings hope and help to those struggling with depression, addiction, suicide and self-injury. Local musicians will lend their voices to benefit this cause. Tickets are $10; visit

• March 5: Local musician Louise Kelly debuts her new album, "Cave Paintings and Silent Movies" with her band. Tickets are $5; visit

Visit for more information about The Union-a venue where local and nationally known musicians, filmmakers and artists visit and perform and where college-aged students express their spirituality through various art forms. The Union is located at 129 W. Benton Ave., 1.5 blocks west of Washington Street and four blocks from North Central College and the downtown Naperville Metra stop.

Visit or contact the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) to learn more about the College's fine and performing arts programs and lectures to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community.