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Still 'Amazing' After All These Years

Northwestern and Evanston celebrate the 40th anniversary of Amazingrace coffeehouse

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October 14, 2011 | by Amy Weiss

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Celebrations throughout Northwestern University’s campus and Evanston this month will honor the 40th anniversary of Amazingrace, a student-run coffeehouse that became one of Chicagoland’s most prominent music venues during the 1970s.

What started as a student group gathered in the basement of Scott Hall during the student strike of 1970 grew into a jazz and folk music institution. Since its founding in 1971, Amazingrace brought acts such as the Grateful Dead, Steve Goodman and John Prine to campus. Forty years later, some alumni who ran the coffeehouse, known as ‘Gracers, and supporters have reunited to honor the legacy of Amazingrace.  

‘Gracers will reunite on campus during Homecoming weekend, Oct. 21 to 23.

Events open to the community throughout October include:

• “Sam Bush with special guest Redwood Landing: Amazingrace Coffeehouse 40th Anniversary Celebration,” 7 and 10 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Old Town School of Folk Music

• “Redwood Landing with Claudia Schmidt: Amazingrace 40th Anniversary Celebration,” 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at Evanston Space

• “Amazingrace Collective: A Countercultural Legacy,” an exhibit held at the University Library Oct. 18 to Dec. 20 

• Northwestern Alumni Association’s “Classes Without Quizzes: Amazingrace the Adventure that Was Amazingrace: Music, Food, Politics and Family,” 3:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the University Library (registration is required)

• “So Fine: An Amazingrace Celebration of the Music of Steve Goodman and John Prine,” 10 p.m. Oct. 21 at at Evanston Space

• “Siegel Schwall Band with Johnny Burns: Celebration the 40th Anniversaries of Alligator Records and Amazingrace,” 8 p.m. Oct. 22 at Evanston Space

• ”Tom Rush,” 8 p.m. Oct. 28 at Evanston Space

Topics: Campus Life, University