Founded in 1866, the Belleville Philharmonic Society is the second oldest of its kind in the United States. It is a stalwart of the town, and a great place to go for a highbrow evening of music and entertainment. Their pledge is to “Provide performing and listening opportunities for music lovers of all ages,” so it is kid friendly, and exciting enough to keep their attention for a couple of hours, including intermission, of course. They perform all around town, playing classics and modern contemporary works as well. Catch them if you can, and it will be well worth it.
There must be something in the water in Bellville because numerous famous and highly respected musicians and artists all find a place to flourish here. Locals, such as Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and Jay Farrar call this place home and their melancholy rustic styles fit right in the heart of southern Illinois. Neal Doughty, who was keyboardist for rock icons REO Speedwagon also hails from here, and his rocking tunes and lyrics can sometimes be heard coming out of old dive bars and nightclubs in downtown, or in the city’s parks on a warm summer day.