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A & E

Joliet Central alum hosts ‘Werkshop’ music series

Joliet Central alumna Erick Deshaun Dorris is the creator of "WERKSHOP," a a new interactive music series that allows the audience to vote on songs that are arranged and interpreted by different artists.
Joliet Central alumna Erick Deshaun Dorris is the creator of "WERKSHOP," a a new interactive music series that allows the audience to vote on songs that are arranged and interpreted by different artists.

JOLIET – “Werkshop” is a new interactive music series that allows the audience to vote on songs arranged and interpreted by different artists.

It will premiere as part of Steppenwolf Theatre’s “LookOut” series on June 26. The event is open to the public. In a Facebook announcement, creator Erick Deshaun Dorris said the show was done twice as a storefront venue in Logan Square in 2016.

June 26 will mark its first appearance at Steppenwolf. Dorris created the series in 2016 when was doing an arts residency at D.C. Torium, a do-it-yourself space in the Logan Square neighborhood.

Dorris writes the songs for each of his live events for musical guests to interpret and perform. His songs are inspired by his own life experiences with a Cabaret flair.

“People will get to know me and my experiences,” Dorris said.

The titles with the most votes will be released on iTunes and other digital music websites.

The performance will feature artists Doug Abram (known for “Black Bear Combo”), Natalie Grace Alford, Armando Pérez (“ˇEsso! AfroJamFunkbeat”) and Brooke Reams (“Brooke & the Nice Things.”)

Dorris said he saw a need for a workshop that would create an environment open to criticism and discussion for songwriters.

“The audience is able to sit and listen critically to new music,” Dorris said.

He said that artists enjoy getting feedback from an audience. Personally, he likes receiving feedback on his own work as well.

Dorris’ goals for the series include releasing a line of EPs featuring his songwriting, and attracting more songwriters for other interactive workshops. This music series already produced two has EPs, titled “Werkshop” and “Werkshop II.”

These events are held a twice a year; another one will be held in Fall 2017. In an email. Dorris said his goal is to offer “Werkshop” twice a year and showcase a new songwriter with each performance.

Dorris is now a co-founder and administrator for United in Excellence, an education advocacy and community arts program in Joliet.

• Features editor Denise M. Baran-Unland contributed to this article.

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IF YOU GO

WHAT: An interactive music experience that allows attendees to vote for their favorite interpretation of the same song performed by multiple artists.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. June 26

WHERE: The 1700 Theatre at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1700 N. Halsted St. Chicago

ETC: $15

INFORMATION: Email Erick Deshaun Dorris at eddorris@gmail.com

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KNOW MORE

Goal: “To showcase songwriters and provide a platform to have their music performed, produced, and get feedback...I want this series to help other songwriters be heard.”

Attendees: “Anyone who loves live music or is interested in the production and recording process will hopefully find the format of the evening fascinating.”

Words of Wisdom: “Never stop writing.”

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