Celebrating decades of hits

2013-08-13T00:00:00Z 2014-05-05T10:41:36Z Celebrating decades of hitsEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

When one thinks of the blend of rock sounds and brass instruments, iconic group Chicago comes to mind.

The group, which got its start in 1967 as The Big Thing then as Chicago Transit Authority, is still going strong. Their tours are still taking them across the country and around the world as they perform for audience members who continue to show up to hear rock classics.

"The fans have always been very receptive to us from the beginning right up to now. They just enjoy the music," said Chicago trumpet player Lee Loughnane.

The band will bring those timeless tunes to The Silver Creek Event Center at Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Mich. tonight.

"That's what pretty much sustains us is that the music somehow just resonates with different generations," he said. "There's no way for us to have known that would occur."

Loughnane said the band members enjoy performing together and like to take their music to the masses while on tour. Midwest audiences, he said, are always great.

"I love playing shows. That's something that never changed with the band from the first time we got together and played. Performance has always been what propels us and keeps us going," Loughnane said.

Chicago is currently on an extensive summer tour which runs through September. There are also dates already scheduled for October, November and spring of 2014. In addition to the Four Winds Casino show tonight, other Chicagoland and Midwest dates include Aug. 24 and 25 at Rivinia in Highland Park, Ill., and Sept. 15 in Indianapolis.

Loughnane, who was born in Chicago and grew up in Elmwood Park, Ill., said though he no longer lives in the Chicago area, his siblings reside there and he makes it back to the Windy City often.

And because their manager is also from Chicago, Loughnane said they continue to keep their ties strong in the Windy City and often do a variety of charity work/shows in Chicago. ""That's our hometown. It's a great city," he said.

The band is currently writing and recording original music, but fans won't hear the new material just yet in concert.

"Within the next couple of months, people are going to start hearing original Chicago compositions," he said. The songs will eventually be part of an album but they're thinking of releasing them two songs at a time.

"We're going to see how it goes. Everyone in the music business now has to try to figure out how to get their music out to the audience," he said, commenting about the strong digital presence in the industry. "It's a learning experience."

Loughnane said fans at Four Winds will hear a varied mix of Chicago tunes during their show.

"This is a show that will span the entire career. They'll be hearing sounds they're very familiar with," he said.

During most Chicago concerts, fans have the opportunity to bid in an auction to receive prime seats, attend a meet and greet and then have the chance to join Chicago on stage to sing "If  You Leave Me Now." Visit chicagotheband.com for more information on the auction.

Loughnane said they're happy to donate their time to charity and have been working for the past few years with the American Cancer Society.

Chicago also released a DVD documentary "Chicago World Tour 2011" earlier this year which Loughnane said received a good response from fans.

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