Events at the Byron Colby Barn
The beautifully restored Byron Colby Barn in Grayslake hosts concerts and events to foster lifelong learning and a sense of community.


Incredible performances and architectural beauty combine to create a unique experience. Bring a bottle of wine to share with friends if you wish.


Join us at the following events!

14th Annual Early Music Series
Join us for the Early Music Series, featuring highly acclaimed musicians performing music from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods!
Mark your calendars for these upcoming performances   

Admission is $20 and available at the door only (cash or check only). To inspire early appreciation for the arts, children under 16 are admitted free to Early Music Series concerts.


Visit the Early Music Series YouTube channel for a preview, then join us at an upcoming performance. No photography, videography, or sound recording is allowed during performances but relax and enjoy these exquisite video clips from past performances.


Like us on Facebook "Like" the Early Music Series on Facebook!

The Marion Consort      
4 p.m. Sun., Jan. 10 
The celestial voices of The Marion Consort return to the Early Music Series at the Byron Colby Barn in 2016!
Before the Renaissance, composers of the Middle Ages wrote haunting polyphony that is rarely performed today.  
The Marion Consort explores the beginnings of vocal polyphony from organum of the 9th century to polyphony of the late 15th century. Click here to read an article in the Lake County News Sun about this performance including an interview with The Marion Consort's artistic director, Amy Bearden, with fascinating historical context for the performance. 
As the premier Chicago choral ensemble for a cappella early music, The Marion Consort explores the works of both familiar and lesser known composers. This concert will feature both sacred and secular polyphony ranging from Notre Dame conductus and Montpellier motets to Machaut's Kyrie and Dufay's rondeaus.
The Marion Consort is a Chicago choral ensemble specializing in choral music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. They have performed at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of the Classical Music Mondays series, on Milwaukee Public Radio's "Lake Effect" with Bonnie North, and the Ars Antigua Presents podcast with Peter Van de Graff. The Marion Consort can divide into duos, trios, octets, etc. for a well-rounded and blended performance.

"Tulips in Winter" with Black Tulip      
4 p.m. Sun., Jan. 31 
Black Tulip explores their "Tulips in Winter" program highlighting rich cantatas for soprano and recorder.
This multinational ensemble of highly acclaimed musicians features Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano (the Netherlands); Mirja Lorenz, recorder (Germany); Joel Spears, theorbo (U.S.); Phillip Serna, viol (U.S.).
Black Tulip will perform gems by Handel, Telemann, Vivaldi, and Purcell, along with electrifying instrumental pieces by Castello, Kapsberger, Haquart and others.

Josefien Stoppelenburg has performed in the Netherlands, Germany and the U.S. In 2013 she won the Chicago Oratorio Award and placed second nationally in the American Prize Opera Competition. She has been called "an astonishing singer" (Chicago Tribune) and praised for her "creamy tone, dead-on accuracy and dramatic interpretation" (Chicago Classical Music).

Mirja Lorenz has performed in Germany, Sweden, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Chicago. Mirja taught the recorder in Germany and has quickly gained ground in the Chicago Early Music scene.

Joel Spears is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Early Music Series. He has performed with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, The Marion Consort, Seraphic Fire, Ars Antigua, Bella Voce, Music of the Baroque, The Chicago Early Music Consort, Scholars of Cambrai, and Heroic Bard.

Phillip W. Serna performs with numerous Midwest orchestras and Early Music ensembles. He has appeared on Chicago's 98.7FM WFMT, Wisconsin Public Radio, Milwaukee Public Radio and WUIS NPR and can be heard on CD releases from Clarion, Cedille, Soundbyte and Varèse Sarabande Records.
Shirley Hunt          
4 p.m. Sun., Feb. 28 
Tune in with Baroque cellist Shirley Hunt for "Scordatura and More" featuring 17th century selections performed in a variety of historical tuning systems. 
Shirley Hunt entertains and educates with a fascinating and beautiful recital featuring early compositions for the cello performed in a variety of historical tuning systems.
Her colorful "Scordatura and More" program opens with Giuseppe Colombi's lively Ciaccona, a ground bass that becomes increasingly ornate with each repetition. This charming 17th century work along with the two Ricecare by Domenico Gabrielli are performed in a scordatura tuning, in which the cello's top string is lowered one whole step.
Sonata No. 2 by Domenico Galli, a talented instrument maker and poet as well as a composer, was likely intended for a Bb-F-c-g tuning - while Francesco Paolo Supriani and Giuseppe Maria Dall'Abaco's works call for the standard C-G-d-a tuning. J.S. Bach's celebrated Suite No. 5 in C minor, the only non-Italian work on the program, returns to a resonant scordatura to close the recital.
Joel Spears - Artistic Director of the Early Music Series 

Joel Spears is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Early Music at the Byron Colby Barn, and an active lutenist and guitarist based in the Chicago area.

Joel has performed both as a soloist and with ensembles of varying sizes such as Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, Seraphic Fire, Ars Antigua, Bella Voce, Music of the Baroque, and The Chicago Early Music Consort.

Joel is currently Lute Instructor at the Music Institute of Chicago. He is also proud to be the first theorbo teacher in the nation at the high school level at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

About the Byron Colby Barn


The beautifully restored Byron Colby Barn is named for the local dairy farmer who built it in 1885. Scheduled for demolition in 1992, this historic dairy barn was instead expertly deconstructed and rebuilt in Prairie Crossing, a nationally known conservation community.


The Byron Colby Barn is located at 1561 Jones Point Road in Grayslake. From I-94 north, exit Route 120 west, turn south at Route 45, then right at Jones Point Road. Ample free parking is located adjacent to the Barn. 


The Byron Colby Barn is owned and operated by the Liberty Prairie Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and is used in support of our mission. The Barn's various uses are aligned with the Prairie Crossing guiding principles of life-long learning, a sense of community, and a sense of place.  

Private Barn Rentals

As a beautiful and unique venue, the Barn is very popular for private rentals. Hold your special event at the Byron Colby Barn!


The Byron Colby Barn was named the 2011 Best Budget Wedding Venue by Chicago Magazine, and can be rented 7 days a week for elegant weddings, professional meetings, intimate concerts, and other events. 

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1561 Jones Point Road
Grayslake, IL 60030