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XTension Chords kick off new lunchtime entertainment series at new Arcade Plaza

Sharita Forrest
(217) 244-1072;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The XTension Chords, an all-male a cappella group that intersperses comedy sketches with vocal arrangements, will kick off a new lunchtime entertainment series, "Picnic at the Plaza 2001," celebrating the new Arcade Plaza Courtyard at the University of Illinois.

The courtyard is on John Street adjacent to the Student Services Arcade Building, Illini Hall and the Turner Student Services Building at 610 E. John St.

The series is a joint effort of the Offices of the Dean of Students and the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs to promote casual interaction among students, faculty and staff members. Events will be held in the courtyard on Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. March 30 through May 4. UI student entertainers will be performing light music and comedy routines (EDITOR: SEE LIST)

UI Dining Services will have lunch carts available so picnickers can purchase lunch or snack items. Brown-bag diners will be welcome too.

The courtyard is part of the Campustown 2000 project to beautify Campustown and adjacent areas. The $1.1 million construction was funded through gift and maintenance funds, according to William Riley, associate vice chancellor and dean of students.

"The student services functions are primarily in the buildings around the courtyard area," Riley said, "so the courtyard is intended to serve as the linchpin pulling all these together. We recognized that there’d be great diversity among the students coming into the surrounding offices, and the plaza was created as a gathering area to promote casual conversation and interaction."

Designed to complement the architecture of the adjoining Arcade Building, the courtyard features a multi-function lawn amphitheater surrounded by walkways in a garden setting. Large steps provide seating for informal events. Bench seating will be installed this summer, Riley said.

"Picnic at the Plaza 2001" Schedule

March 30 Xtension Chords
April 6 Dance 2XS (dance troupe: jazz, modern, hip-hop)
April 13 Like Disco . . . but not Really (comedy improv group)

April 20
The Other guys (a cappella group)
April 27 No Strings Attached (co-ed a cappella group)

May 4
To be announced