August 18, 2016

Special Thursday night event: Young Wisdom. Sound by Jon Monteverde.

The Performers

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Danielle Echols, poet

Danielle Echols is an artist that resides in the South Suburbs of Chicago.  She began performing poetry during her sophomore year of high school.  Over the year's she developed a deep love for performing and has been on several stages around Chicago.  She is 3-time poetry slam competition winner including, the Green Mill Poetry Slam. She believes poetry is the ultimate form of storytelling.  She is the curator of tonight's show.

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Amber Smith, soul singer

Amber's been singing since she was 5 years old. She's sung both with different groups and artists, including Spelman College Glee Club, Erthe St. James, PJ Morton (on a lucky night), and others. She believes music is the voice of the soul and a vehicle to peace, healing, and God. She aspires to use her talents to encourage others and to bring positivity. Amber currently coaches at the Musical Arts Institute on Chicago's South Side. Find her on Instagram.

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Tracy Montes, folk/rock singer

Tracy is a multi-talented musical and visual artist. She hails from California but spent most of her formative years in Mexico and Seattle before finally settling in Chicago. Her love for her Mexican culture is evident in much of her work and she draws much of her inspiration from Frida Kahlo. She has strong spirit which shows through in the intensity of her vocals.

Mesha Arant, folk/soul singer

Mesha Arant, who currently resides in Chicago, is a singer-songwriter from Jefferson, South Carolina. She describes her singing as a mix of folk and soul, a combination of the music she grew up listening to. Although she has been singing for much of her life, she began seriously performing in 2015, after receiving her graduate degree in religion. Her love of religion has influenced the way she sings; she strives to bring people into a meditative state with her soft melodies and gentle runs. Find her on Facebook.


Jennifer Peepas is an instructor at Columbia College in the Department of Cinema and Television Arts and the Communication Department, teaching courses in documentary and fiction film production, editing, social media for artists, and smartphone video. She also teaches production courses for writers and performers at the Second City Training Center, where she recently designed a course in Creating The Comedy Webseries. The pilot project from that course, Chicago HR, just won the Best New Media/Web Series from the LA Shorts Awards May 2018. Jennifer has worked as a writer and producer for Getting To Know, Inc., working on animated videos about art and artists for children. She runs the popular blog and is a frequent performer and essayist in the Chicago storytelling community. Jennifer has an MFA in film and video from Columbia College Chicago and a BS in international affairs from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.

Find more live performance recordings on our archive page.