Erick Deshaun Dorris
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Erick Deshaun Dorris

Chicago, IL | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | SELF

Chicago, IL | SELF
Established on Jan, 2003
Solo Alternative Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


""Artworks: Joliet Central alum hosts 'Werkshop' music series""

"WERKSHOP" is a new interactive music series that allows the audience to vote on songs that are arranged and interpreted by different artists.

It will premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre's "LookOut" series on June 26. The event is open to the public. In a Facebook message, Dorris said the show was done twice as a storefront venue in Logan Square in 2016. June 26 will mark its first appearance at Steppenwolf.

The series was created in 2016 by Erick Deshaun Dorris, who, at the time, was doing an arts residency at D.C. Torium, a D.I.Y. space in the Logan Square neighborhood. Dorris writes the songs for each of his live events for musical guests to interpret and perform - The Herald News

""Q&A: New Joliet D-86 board inspector talks education, Joliet""

JOLIET – Herald-News reporter Felix Sarver recently spoke with Erick Deshaun Dorris, 36, who was appointed this week as a new board inspector for Joliet Public Schools District 86, about his education, Joliet and the organization he co-founded, United In Excellence. - The Joliet Herald News

""Joliet D-86 board names Dorris to fill vacancy""

JOLIET – Erick Deshaun Dorris was appointed Wednesday night by the Joliet Public Schools District 86 Board of School Inspectors to fill a vacant school board seat, left by the resignation of Christine Kim on Feb. 1.

Dorris is a resident of the district’s East Side and was chosen over three other applicants. He said he moved back to Joliet a couple years ago, but grew up in the area. - My Suburban Life (

""Joliet District 204 alumni reunite to support after-school, arts programs""

JOLIET – Alumni who were part of step teams at Joliet Township High School District 204 in the late 1990s and early 2000s have reunited this year to support students through fundraising.

The alumni group United In Excellence includes former students of the UIE step team that was founded in 1996 and ran as an official District 204 after-school program from 1998 to 2004.

Despite the time and distance that has grown between alumni of the after-school step team and the district, they have come together with a pledge to raise $50,000 for students involved in after-school and arts education programs.

“We always wanted to do something for the greater good,” said Cristi (Washington) Gaither, UIE co-founder and a 1997 Central graduate. Gaither works for East Baltimore Development Inc.

Erick Deshaun Dorris, a 1999 Central graduate, is also a co-founder for UIE.

“It’s a team effort,” Dorris said.

Dorris – who said he was and still is a band, choir and theater geek – has worked with Chicago Public Schools and with art organizations throughout the Chicago area.

UIE has partnered with the Joliet Township High Schools Foundation, with the foundation acting as the fiscal agent for all sponsorship, according to a District 204 news release.

Sponsorship dollars will fund a small-grants program that will be available to district teachers and staff for after-school and arts education programs.


""JTHS alumni group pledges to raise $50,000 for JTHS students involved in after-school and arts education programs""

When it comes to dedicated alumni, Joliet Township High School is second to none. Each year, JTHS alumni give back to their alma mater in a variety of ways. The latest example of alumni support comes from the alumni group, United in Excellence (UIE). UIE was an after-school step-team program offered at JTHS from 1996 to 2004. Earlier this year, the group reunited through Facebook to plan a celebratory performance and fundraising campaign to commemorate the 20th year of the programs founding.

The dynamic UIE event is slated to take place on Saturday, November 12, 2016 in the Joliet Central High School Auditorium, 201 E. Jefferson Street, and includes performances by UIE alumni, guest artists and will involve current JTHS students. The production has been designed to serve as a beacon of advocacy for student programs at the high schools with 100 percent of sponsorship and ticket sales directly benefitting students.

UIE has partnered with the JTHS Foundation, with the foundation acting as the Fiscal Agent for all sponsorships. Sponsorships dollars will fund a small-grants program that will be available to JTHS teachers, staff and faculty for after-school and arts education programs. "We simply want to give back to the school and help create similar opportunities to the one we had in high school," said UIE co-founder and Central alumnus Erick Deshaun Dorris ('99).

"Through 2004, United in Excellence put on annual step shows in the JTHS auditorium," said Dorris. "It became an annual celebration that brought the school and community together for a great cause. Shows included positively-themed entertainment, collaborations with other student programs and included students and community members from both JTHS campuses."

[Read More After The Jump] - Chicago Tribune Online

""JTHS Alumni Spotlight - Educating our Community: A Feature on Erick Deshaun Dorris, Joliet Central Class of 1999""

Career & Education At-a-Glance
• Milikin University (Bachelor of the Theatre Arts)
• Roosevelt University (Masters of the Performing Arts Administration)

Joliet Central High School Alumna Erick Deshaun Dorris ('99) knows that giving back to the community is important. As an artist and educator, he works as independent contractor with arts organizations on community programs, diversity initiatives and arts education programs. Current clients that he has worked with include Lookingglass Theatre, Fort Knox Studios, Salt Creek Ballet, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and He also teaches with the "Memory Ensemble", which is part of the Civic Practice Lab at Lookingglass Theatre Company.

With such an important career, Erick looks back on the education that prepared him. "My teachers at Central remains some of the best educators I've ever had. All of my after school and extra-curricular instructors helped me better understand myself and had a profound influence on my career path," he says. "Ted Lega, Jenine Wright Barnes, David Jones and Mr. Zigrossi are some of the teachers and program sponsors who I still think of on a regular basis."

While at Central, Erick took advantage of many of the opportunities available by getting involved with Band, Concert Choir, Show Choir, New Era Gospel Choir, United In Excellence, National Honors Society, Theatre, Student Council and serving on the Homecoming Committee. "The organizations I was involved with at Central prepared me to be an administrator and advocate for student programs. Joliet Central has excellent teachers that not only care about their students academically, but also take time to build authentic relationships and mentorships," he says. "My teachers were all very encouraging and inspired me to pay it forward through my work on stage, in arts organizations and as an administrator in Chicago Public Schools."

[READ MORE AFTER THE JUMP] - Chicago Tribune Online

""D.C. Torium Hosts Erick Deshaun Dorris and The Kinky Butch Witching Hour""

Richard Clark founded Logan Square DIY venue D.C. Torium to serve as a performance and rehearsal space where he and other musicians could more fully and freely exercise their creative control over their space. Clark had been searching for such a space for several years, and over a year ago found it at a storefront building at 3026 W. Armitage Ave., which had previously been occupied by an artist and religious group.

The name D. C. Torium alludes to Richard Clark’s own name, as well as to Dick Clark, the long-time host of American Bandstand, a popular TV show from the 1950s through the 1980s featuring music and performance. And D.C. Torium is also a play on the word ‘auditorium,’ a place where something is heard, or rather where Richard Clark hosts his version of American Bandstand, inviting different mostly local musicians, bands, and performers to be heard.

Clark is a member of several rock bands, including The Icarians and Get Up with the Get Downs, and a graduate with a college music degree who also conducts music lessons for all ages at his space. To encourage collaboration, as well help pay expenses, Clark has also recently initiated an artist in residence program at his space. The first resident artist, Erick Deshaun Dorris, has a space set aside in front of the building, which includes his piano, and Dorris performed with a backup band that Clark, the drummer the Monday night that I visited the space. For several songs, two women, each offering her own style and interpretation, stepped into Dorris’s vocal role and provided alternative versions of his songs. Also, for certain versions of some of the songs, there was only acoustic guitar accompaniment.

Dorris, a singer and songwriter who plays piano, staged an ‘Informance’—that is, a practice and preview performance of his new songs and music that he had recently written and composed after a week-long retreat in Wisconsin. Audience feedback was encouraged to the new work to indicate what songs were liked or disliked on a ballot.

Dorris’s ‘informance’ also constitutes a part of a monthly “Werkshop” program in which, according to a D.C. Torium information leaflet, “Each month, new and original work is workshopped at D.C. Torium. The workshop culminates in an ‘informance’ that is recorded live in front of an audience.” The Monday night I visited there was a recording engineer present who will edit and produce an album for distribution.


""Chicago Student Artists Showcased at AUSL’s Festival of the Arts""

Nat “King” Cole, Sam Cooke, Dorothy Donegan and Sara Vaughn: famous musicians all, and all famous alumni of what is now Wendell Phillips Academy High School.

Is there a future star to add to this list? Find out May 21 at the Academy for Urban School Leadership’s 2nd annual Festival of the Arts. Students from Phillips Academy and all 19 AUSL schools will perform music, exhibit their own artwork and even display their culinary skills. - Huffington Post

""Lessons beyond the stage: Joliet native helps kids learn new skills""

JOLIET - During his grade school and high school years, former Joliet resident Erick Deshaun Dorris loved and participated in music and theatrical activities at Eisenhower Academy, Washington Junior High and Joliet Central High School.

Dorris, now of Chicago, even majored in theater and minored in music at Millikin University in Decatur.

Now as an educational contractor and a performer with Barrel of Monkeys educational theater company, Dorris is helping bring similar experiences to Chicago grade school student. - The Herald News

"Empty Rooms: Reflections on the Changing Landscape of Live Performance"

I arrive an hour early to the show. I have to set up equipment and merchandise and schmooze with the bartender for extra drink tickets. My ensemble doesn’t usually play with other bands, so the room is quiet this early in the evening. I’ve intentionally stopped playing at bars. Instead, I’ve been making my own venues: studios, lofts, cabarets. The idea is to offer an “intimate, boutique” experience.

Read more at: - Chicago Artists Resource


The Digital Divide: Season I (Theme)
Mr. Freeze
Condoleezza Rice
I Want to Be Myopic
Saint Friday
What If I Changed

The DIGITAL DIVIDE: Season II (2015)
The Digital Divide: Season II (Theme)
The Donut Song
Faith-Based Initiative
Funeral Poem
Girl, We Gotta Go to the Grocery Store
Seeking Employment
Messiah Complex

Speechless I
Couch Potato
Speechless II
River of Babies
Mean to Myself
Speechless III
Watch Me Go

Speechless IV
Couch Potato II
Just A Waste
The Amazing Race I
Spells & Potions
Go Away
Lied to Me
The Amazing Race II



I live and work at the intersection of art, education and community engagement. I can be described as either an Artist who works in the education sector, or an Educator who is a practicing artist. Either way, I believe that being a creative professional makes me a better professional. I can also write a damn good song.

Music and Theatre are my original content areas. This website is mostly about my art, which I often neglect. I'm usually spending my energy with some school, trying to help the next version of me. 

If you see me on the street, feel free to ask about anything you find here. If you see a poster with my name on it, you are more than welcome to see that show. Until then, I hope you will have a content-rich experience with my art over the internet. Thanks for listening, watching, and sharing.

Enjoy Your Life, 


Band Members