June 10, 2004

Student musicians' concert tour a smashing success

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- They didn't have a lot of time to learn their music, and at Stratford-upon-Avon, their "green room" (the place performers gather when they're not on stage) was a back alley.

"We didn't lose anybody, and nobody was late!" he quipped with characteristic enthusiasm.Nevertheless, this first-ever Southern Illinois University Carbondale student band concert tour overseas was "the most effortless" gig he's ever done, said Director of Bands Michael D. Hanes.

"Seriously, the kids were just terrific, both in the way they acted and the way they performed. I couldn't be more proud."

Forty-three student musicians from SIUC's top concert band, The University Wind Ensemble, toured England May 20-29, performing twice with the Central Band of the White Russian Army, a military orchestra from Minsk, Belarus, and in a combined concert at the Royal Military School of Music with a school band and the Normandy and Waterloo bands from the King's Division.

"The experience with the Belarus was more than we expected," Hanes said. "Not only are they prime musicians, but they had folk dancers, soloists from the Bolshoi Ballet and balalaika players.

"My big kick was conducting the combined (SIUC and Belarus) bands in 'The Stars and Stripes Forever.' Remembering the Cold War and seeing these Russian musicians playing that piece of music was really something."

Also memorable: an impromptu performance (singing, not playing) of the SIUC alma mater at Stratford-upon-Avon.

"When we started singing, people came out of the woodwork to watch us -- at the end, they applauded," Hanes said.

Though the students paid most of the costs of the tour themselves, several University offices, including the School of Music, the College of Liberal Arts, the vice chancellors for student affairs and enrollment management and for institutional advancement along with the Alumni Association kicked in a few bucks. The students also put together and sold "Culinary Compositions," a 300-recipe cookbook that proved to be quite popular.

"And I don't think it was just friends saying the recipes were good -- I'm still getting requests for it," Hanes said.

Engaging students in broad learning opportunities is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Here (listed by hometown) are the names of students who made the trip.

  • Anna: Benjamin M. Partridge, senior, music
  • Cambria: Ruby L. Weyburg, senior, music
  • Carbondale: Janet M. Slater, senior, music
  • Carterville: Joel L. Guetschow, senior, music
  • Chenoa: Jack M. Hammond, senior, music
  • Chester: Rachel F. Guethle, freshman, music
  • Crystal Lake: Sandy M. Distatte, sophomore, zoology
  • Danville: William C. Leverenz, senior, music
  • Dixon: Amber M. Polivka, senior, music; Daniel J. Polivka, sophomore, music
  • Du Quoin: Jamie J. Haner, senior, music
  • Geneva: Phillip A. Meade, senior, music
  • Gurnee: David N. Shaffer, sophomore, aviation and flight
  • Herrin: Ann C. Talbott, senior, music
  • Marion: Jeremy L. Followell, senior, music; Ashley L. Rennels, senior, music
  • Marshall: David M. Williamson, freshman, music
  • Mattoon: Jennifer J. Williams, senior, music
  • Metropolis: Robert N. Nix, graduate student, music
  • Mt. Carmel: Nicholas J. Hill, senior, music; Amanda J. Jackson, sophomore, music; Douglas R. Seaton, senior, music
  • Mt. Vernon: Jennifer E. Shaheen, senior, music
  • Mulkeytown: William D. Biby, sophomore, music
  • Murphysboro: Carrie J. Lipe, junior, music; Rebecca S. Marten, senior, music; Nicholas P. Williams, sophomore, music
  • Orland Park: Matthew M. Graziano, senior, music; Kenneth J. Keefe, senior, computer science
  • Percy: Kevin D. Ohlau, senior, music
  • Pinckneyville: Jeanne L. Millikin, senior, music; Keith J. Shasteen, senior, music
  • Romeoville: Richard L. Smith Jr., senior, geology
  • Sparta: Robert E. Reed, freshman, music
  • Springfield: Geoffrey P. Turner, junior, music
  • Urbana: Anthony G. Armstead, senior, music
  • Wilmington: Timothy R. Harrison, freshman, music
  • Wonder Lake: D. Joshua Haas, junior, music
  • Yates City: Luke D. Fleisher, senior, music


  • Chula Vista: Carissa A. Mattison, senior, music


  • Springfield: Jennifer A. Davis, graduate student, music


  • St. Peters: Kendal L. Bridges, senior, music


  • Du Bois: Anna M. Henry, senior, music