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Different Can Be Good Sometimes!

Different Can Be Good Sometimes!

by Liz Crabtree – Director of the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts at McKendree University

For the last 14 years, the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts (The Hett) has been proud to serve our community as the premier performing art center. We’ve laughed together, cried together, been inspired together, and together witnessed unforgettable performances from some of the greatest artists in the world. None of that is going to change.

As we navigate these unprecedented times together, we want you to know that our commitment to our community, to our patrons, and to the value of the arts is unwavering.

We remain hopeful and flexible as we re-imagine our 2020-2021 season. The Hett will hold performances on site if conditions are within the appropriate recovery phases of the governor’s Restore Illinois plan. Otherwise, upcoming performances could take place inside the auditorium, outside, or virtually.  A variety of local and regional artists are the focus of The Hett’s “Discovery Series” in 2020 and early 2021. Bands such as Old Salt Union, Janet Evra, the USAF Band of Mid-America and more will help us navigate these uncertain times. We are fortunate to be close to a city that has a thriving music scene.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many unique challenges this year for performing arts venues, which must schedule, contract and prepare to host events months in advance.  The Hett is subject to additional requirements as we are a university first, then a performing art center. No one knows with absolute certainty what the fall semester will hold for colleges and universities across the country. All we can do is plan events that meet the needs of our community within the context of the very best guidance and safety practices available at this time. We’re implementing health and safety measures, following McKendree University and State of Illinois health guidelines, and doing everything to protect the health and safety of our patrons, artists, volunteers, and staff.

Though this will be a unique season, it will also be an especially joyful one! Perhaps now more than ever before, we’re celebrating the opportunity to be together, to be entertained and to be inspired by great art.

Of course, none of what we do is possible without you! When you support The Hett, donate to a virtual tip jar for an artist, or purchase a ticket to an event, you demonstrate your belief in the value of the performing arts. You know that the hope, joy, and inspiration that come from great art are not a luxury. Art is essential. Whether in the auditorium, in the parking lot, or from your home, I hope you will join us at The Hett for another entertaining season of live performances!

I encourage you to check out the video preview of the 2020-2021 season on, where ongoing updates will be posted as well. Dates and times are subject to change.

Friends of The Hett may purchase tickets starting on Aug. 3; the general public may do so beginning Aug. 13 at noon. Visit or call the box office at 618-537-6863 (1-800-BEARCAT, ext. 6863) for tickets or more information. All events are open to the public.


Elizabeth A. Crabtree


Liz manages the artist and speaker selection, scheduling, promotion, and production for a wide variety of “McKendree Presents” programs and the McCammon Distinguished Speaker Series. She works closely with donors, patrons and guests, managing more than 250 events per year. A resident of O’Fallon, IL, Liz is a member of the Honorary Commander Program at Scott Air Force Base and secretary and board member of the Plains Presenters Consortium.  Liz received her Bachelor of Science in Management from Park University and has recently completed her Master of Business Administration from McKendree University.

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