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Portal:Illinois

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The Illinois Portal

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Illinois (/ˌɪlɪˈnɔɪ/ (About this soundlisten) IL-ih-NOY) is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

The capital of Illinois is Springfield, which is located in the central part of the state. Although today's Illinois' largest population center is in its northeast, the state's European population grew first in the west as the French settled the vast Mississippi of the Illinois Country of New France. Following the American Revolutionary War, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1780s via the Ohio River, and the population grew from south to north. In 1818, Illinois achieved statehood. Following increased commercial activity in the Great Lakes after the construction of the Erie Canal, Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River at one of the few natural harbors on the southern section of Lake Michigan. John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois's rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmland, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. The Illinois and Michigan Canal (1848) made transportation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River valley faster and cheaper, and new railroads carried immigrants to new homes in the country's west and shipped commodity crops to the nation's east. The state became a transportation hub for the nation.

Selected article

Wilco performing at the 2004 Austin City Limits festival.

Wilco is an American rock band based in Chicago, Illinois. The band was formed in 1994 by the remaining members of alternative country group Uncle Tupelo following singer Jay Farrar departure from the band. Wilco's lineup has changed frequently, with only singer Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt remaining from the original incarnation. The other current members are guitarist Nels Cline, multi-instrumentalists Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen, and drummer Glenn Kotche. Wilco has released six studio albums, a live double album, and three collaborations: two with Billy Bragg, and one with The Minus 5.

Wilco garnered media attention for its fourth album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002), and the controversy surrounding it. After the recording sessions were complete, Reprise Records rejected the album and dismissed Wilco from the label. As part of a buy-out deal, Reprise gave Wilco the rights to the album for free. After streaming Foxtrot on its website, Wilco sold the album to Nonesuch Records in 2002. Both record labels are subsidiaries of Warner Music Group, leading one critic to say that the album showed "how screwed up the music business [was] in the early twenty-first century." The album was the most successful of Wilco's career, selling over 590,000 copies. Wilco won two Grammy Awards for their fifth studio album, 2004's A Ghost Is Born, including Best Alternative Music Album. (Read more...)

Selected biography

Photo of Smith in The School Music Journal,1909

Eleanor Sophia Smith (15 June 1858 – 30 June 1942) was an American composer and music educator. She was one of the founders of Chicago's Hull House Music School and headed its music department from 1893 to 1936.

Born in Atlanta, Illinois into a musical family, Smith taught herself to play the piano and later became a classically trained musician. Earning a teaching degree, she began publishing music compositions for children using the philosophy of Friedrich Fröbel, advocating for less memorization and drilling and more attention to intuitive appreciation of music. Studying composition and voice in Germany, she also toured the country observing choirs and their teaching techniques.

Returning to the United States in 1890, Smith began working at the settlement house, Hull House, as a music instructor. Within three years she had co-founded the Hull House Music School, a school which followed her progressive teaching ideas, cross-training students in vocal music as well as instruments. Simultaneously, she worked in several institutions in the Chicago area which trained music educators.vSmith published numerous compilations of songs, including two six-volume textbook series, which were widely used throughout the United States. Most of her writings were focused on children's voices and contained short songs written with attention paid to the limited range and short attention span of children. Many of her compositions were still being used in music education programs in the latter part of the 20th century. (Read more...)

Did you know...

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Spot-winged Glider - Pantala hymenaea, Bles Park, Ashburn, Virginia - 7680788092.jpg
  • ... that Chicago alderman Dorsey Crowe survived falling 800 feet (240 m) from a plane and being thrown through the roof of a car?
  • ... that the spot-winged glider (pictured) is a migratory dragonfly?



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