June 29, 2006

Patriotic concerts wrap up music festival

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Patriotic music followed by spectacular fireworks will mark the grand finale of the second annual Southern Illinois Music Festival.

The festival, which opened June 11, featured more than 40 performances sponsored by Southern Illinois University Carbondale's School of Music and the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, including free patriotic concerts in Herrin and Marion on July 3 and an all-American program narrated by SIU President Glenn Poshard at the SIU Arena in Carbondale on July 4.

"I asked two distinguished citizens to narrate Copland's ‘Lincoln Portrait' this year – Marion Mayor Robert Butler for the Marion concert and SIU President Glenn Poshard for the Carbondale concert," said Edward M. Benyas, artistic director of the festival. "We put our fabulous festival orchestra together with our operatic soloists and two local choirs for the three concerts on July 3 and 4."

The First Baptist Church Choir of Marion, directed by Brian Summers, will join the festival orchestra in Marion July 3. The Southern Illinois Music Festival Chorus, directed by Alice Berry, will join the group in Herrin July 3 and in Carbondale July 4.

Fireworks will follow the concerts in Herrin and Carbondale. Herrin Security Bank and the Bank of Herrin are sponsoring the Herrin concert. Heartland Regional Medical Center is sponsoring the Marion concert.

In addition to SIUC, major sponsors of the Southern Illinois Music Festival include the Illinois Arts Council, the city of Carbondale, The Southern Illinoisan, WSIL-TV, WSIU, the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra Patrons Committee, and the Harrison, Hastings and Garwin family foundations.

Dates and times for the patriotic concerts follow:

Monday, July 3

• 7:30 p.m.: All-American Concert, vocal soloists, Herrin City Park, followed by fireworks. Admission is free.

• 7:30 p.m.: All-American Concert, Marion's Tilden and Rosalee Parks Rotary Centennial Amphitheater, across from Marion High School, with the Southern Illinois Festival Chorus. The performance includes Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" with narration by Marion Mayor Robert Butler, and Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," featuring Junghwa Lee on piano. Admission is free.

Tuesday, July 4:

• 7:30 p.m., All-American Concert with vocal soloists and chorus, SIU Arena, Carbondale. The performance includes Copland's "Lincoln Portrait, "narrated by SIU President Glenn Poshard, and Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," with Junghwa Lee on piano. Fireworks will follow the concert. Admission is free.

A complete schedule of the Southern Illinois Music Festival is available at www.SIFest.com. For more information, call 618/453-MUSIC.

Expanding cultural outreach efforts 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.