Chicago’s 40th Anniversary Soul Train Concert To Honor Don Cornelius In Millennium Park

Chicagoans and visitors alike will groove to the beat of Soul Train on Labor Day, Monday, September 5, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. with Chicago’s 40th Anniversary Soul Train Concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. This free concert is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Chicago-based, longest-running, nationally syndicated program in television history. The concert is made possible, in part, through Amtrak in commemoration of its 40th Anniversary.

The concert will pay tribute to Soul Train and its legendary founder and host, Southside native Don Cornelius, who will be on hand to participate in the program. “Like Soul Train, Amtrak is celebrating its 40th anniversary and we are excited to be a part of the event,” said Tracy Robinson, Marketing Director, East Region, Amtrak.

Artists scheduled to perform include Jerry Butler, the original lead singer of the vocal group, the Impressions and known as The Iceman in his solo career which includes hits like Only the Strong Survive, Make it Easy On Yourself and Moon River; The Impressions, known for their 1960s string of hits influenced by Gospel music that served as inspirational anthems for the Civil Rights movement; The Chi-Lites, the Chicago-based smooth soul vocal quartet from the 1970s with top songs including Have You Seen Her? and Oh Girl; The Emotions, Chicago’s all-female, R&B trio, best known for the song Best of My Love and Gene Chandler, the “Duke of Earl.”  They will be backed by a full orchestra of veteran musicians who have played and/or recorded with the artists listed above and will be led by conductor/arranger Tom Tom Washington.

Chicago’s 40th Anniversary Soul Train Concert in Millennium Park caps a weekend of events in Chicago honoring the long-running television program, and includes the final weekend of the Soul Train Photo Exhibition at Expo 72, a live taping of Chic-a-Go-Go at Expo 72’s Friday Night Groove event and the documentary film screening, “Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America,” followed by a question and answer session with Don Cornelius and Kenard Gibbs, CEO of Soul Train Holdings at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Summary of Events ********


Soul Train Photo Exhibition

Open daily through September 5 (Labor Day)
Expo 72, 72 E. Randolph Street
Final Weekend Hours: Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Monday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Don’t miss the final days of the first-ever Soul Train Photo Exhibition with images capturing some of the iconic musicians who performed on the show including Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, Chuck Berry and more. Images were selected from more than 300,000 never-before-seen archival shots taken on the Soul Train set.

Friday Night Groove with Chic-A-Go-Go

Friday, September 2, 6 – 8 p.m.
Expo 72, 72 E. Randolph Street

Everyone can dance and relive the days of the Soul Train when Chic-a-Go-Go tapes their all-ages television show at Expo 72’s Soul Train Photo Exhibition.  Attendees will feel as if they have stepped onto the Soul Train set, dancing to Soul Train beats under disco balls amongst a retrospective of photographs. Drawing from legendary dance programs like Soul Train and American Bandstand, as well as Chicago’s own 1960s shows Kiddie-A-Go-Go and Red Hot and Blue, Chic-a-Go-Go combines classic TV entertainment with an original, whimsical style. The evening features DJ Bob Abrahamian of 88.5 WHPK’s Sitting in the Park on the turntable and Chic-a-Go-Go hosts Miss Mia Park and Ratso.

Film Screening: “Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America” with Don Cornelius

Sunday, September 4, 2 p.m.
Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 164 N. State Street
$11/general admission; $7/students (with current I.D.); $6/Film Center members

Immediately following the screening, there will be a moderated question and answer session with Soul Train founder, Don Cornelius, and current CEO of Soul Train Holdings and Chicago native, Kenard Gibbs.


For more information about Chicago’s 40th Anniversary Soul Train Concert and all of the Soul Train activities, visit, call 312.742.1168, visit Millennium Park on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @Millennium_Park.


  1. SO SO SO glad I braved the unseasonable weather to attend this concert tribute here in Chicago…

  2. daphne says:

    It is about time that Don Cornelius gets the recognition that he deserves for the iconic show that he created! Daphne

  3. Lorenzo says:

    I was there; it was pretty awesome and estimated to have been one of the most well-attended events at Millennium Park, Chicago’s relatively new, multi-million dollar venue which typically isn’t well attended by African Americans (me thinks because of limited genre offerings for AA besides occasional jazz artists in the summer). And although a chilly night, the energy has high and hot! It was a nostalgic, hip trip blast to the past! I hope city officials continue the event making it an annual event!
    A Millennium Park Stake Holder/Tax Payer

  4. Linda Sales says:

    I danced on the original soul train program in the early seventies. It broadcasted from the top of the board of trade building. I would really like to get my hands on those old tapes to show my children that I too knew how to groove. My brother and cousins appeared with me as regulars and I even danced background behind Marc Copage for his one-time hit. I am a bonafide card carrying Soultrain Gang Member and have my card to prove it.

  5. Mark S. Allen says:

    I do not know how it happened but Chicago Recording Artist BOBBY HUTTON was the first Chicago recording artist to perform live on the pilot of the 1971 national SOUL TRAIN show, but somehow overlooked for the 40th Anniversary SOUL TRAIN Reunion Show.

  6. Crystal says:

    Great saturday morning memories. My siblings and would anxiously wake up to learn the latest dances and to view the hotest fashions from the…..Soullllllllllllllllll Train!!!

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