Carbondale's Tim Steis


7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23
$12 adv / $14 door / $8 students / Children 10
    and younger free
Dooors and Varsity Bar at 7


The third performance in The Varsity Center’s Classical Guitar Concert Series features Carbondale artist Tim Steis. The series is sponsored by First Southern Bank.

The name ‘classical guitar’ refers not to the music being played – which can be any music from Bach to Rock and Roll and beyond – but to the type of guitar being played.

Steis is not only a phenomenal guitarist known for his technically perfect high speed interpretations of famously difficult pieces, but also for the guitars he now builds and sells. Originally from Frenchtown, Maryland, he lives and works in Carbondale. Steis earned degrees in performance classical guitar from Florida State University under the world-renowned teacher and guitarist Bruce Holzman and under Julian Gray at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music. He was a prize winner at the prestigious Troy State Guitar Competition and has been a performer in the Master Classes of Pavel Steidl, Jorge Caballero and others. 

Steis will perform on two or more instruments of his own making. 

“Tim Steis plays Debussy, Scarlatti, Rodrigo, Sor and More” begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23. Tickets are not available at the venue until the doors open on the night of the performance.

Doors and The Varsity Bar open at 7 p.m. The bar features wine, beer, select cocktails, other beverages and snacks. 


From India: Dattatreya Velankar


6 p.m. Saturday, April 6
$15 / $10 students
Doors, Reema's Kitchen at 6

The Varsity will be the setting for a rare opportunity to hear a vocal and instrumental Hindustani classical music concert in the unique Balcony space at the venue.

Dattatreya Velankar, an accomplished artist, performer and teacher, will perform Saturday, April 6. He will be accompanied on the tabla by another talented artist, Shri Yogeesh Bhat. Both artists are from India. 

The show is co-sponsored by Reema’s Authentic Indian Food. The Carbondale restaurant provide snacks before the concert, as well as hot tea.

This special concert will take place on Saturday, April 6 at The Varsity. Doors open at 6; the concert begins at 7.

Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for students. Tickets are available in advance at Tickets also will be available at the door when doors open. Tickets are not available in advance at the venue.


Banjovi and Tawl Paul


7 p.m. Saturday, April 13
$7 in advance / $10 at the door
Doors and Varsity Bar at 6:30

After a debut show at The Varsity in September, Banjovi and special guest Tawl Paul are performing an encore in the Balcony.


Banjovi has played for square- and contra-dances in Southern Illinois and Missouri for more than two decades, as well as many other venues and private events. Their repertoire includes not only old-time dance tunes but also songs from traditions such as bluegrass, classic rock, folk and blues. 

Lew Hendrix plays dobro and clawhammer banjo, the oldest style of playing with roots in Africa. Cathie Hutcheson plays upright bass and guitar; Toby Merriman plays fiddle and mandolin. Lew and Toby sing lead, and Cathie sings harmony.

Carbondale’s Tawl Paul (Paul Frederick) has been singing the blues for almost 40 years and is known for his growling, deep voice and electric presence on stage make him one of a kind.

The combination of three musical genres – traditional contra, blues and standards – might seem an odd combination, but you can hear just how well it works when you catch this unique musical performance. Banjovi will play old-time songs such as “Nine Pound Hammer,” “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor,” and some blues, classic rock or a Beatles tune. They will back up Tawl Paul for “The Letter,” “Mojo Workin’,” “Big Boss Man,” “The Thrill is Gone” and a mix of other songs.


Advance tickets are not available at the venue until the night of the show.


Matt Martino

Matt Martino will perform at The Varsity on a stop during his spring tour.

7 p.m. Saturday, May 11
Doors and Varsity Bar at 6:30

Southern Illinois native and SIU School of Music alum Matt Martino makes his debut at The Varsity on Saturday, May 11.

Martino, whose music has been described as blue-eyed soul, began his career in Carbondale before flourishing in Nashville with the release of his debut album “Let it Shine.” Martino is currently in the midst of his “The Show Must Go On” spring tour, and will make one stop at The Varsity for a hometown performance. 

The Varsity show will feature Martino solo at the keyboard, playing a collection of his original tunes, both old and new. He will then be joined by local musician Mel Goot, as well as long-time collaborators Dan Hagemann and Dennis Lee.

In support of the area he calls home, Matt will be donating a portion of the proceeds to WDBX 91.1FM, Southern Illinois’ only community radio station.

Don’t miss this opportunity to catch one of Southern Illinois’ own in this rare, local performance. 

Tickets are available at Eventbrite. They also will be available at the door on the night of the show when doors and the Varsity Bar open at 6:30. Tickets are not available in advance at the venue until the night of the show.