February 22, 2007

String orchestra takes its show on the road

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A performance group from Southern Illinois University Carbondale's School of Music is playing its part in efforts to attract students.

This week, the Southern Illinois Symphony String Orchestra, comprised of four School of Music faculty members and 12 SIUC students, is performing at high schools in the Metro East and Chicago area. The schools include Edwardsville High School and Alton High School in the Metro East and Merit School of Music, Lyons Township High School, Whitney Young Magnet High School and Waukegan High School in the Chicago area.

Campus sponsors of the tour include the Office of the Provost, the School of Music, the College of Liberal Arts, the Office of Admissions, the SIU Alumni Association and Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

"At each school, we are performing excerpts from Vivaldi's Four Seasons and we will have our string faculty coach some of the high school students on music they are preparing for contest," said Edward M. Benyas, director of the program and professor in the School of Music. "There should also be time for general interaction between our students and faculty and the high school students."

Benyas and School of Music colleagues Michael Barta, Meng-Chun Chi and Eric Lenz will also be handing out SIUC applications as well as brochures about School of Music programs, which are taught by world-class musicians. It's all part of an effort to attract even more talent to the University.

Last week, School of Music faculty wind quintet members Benyas, Suzanne Lord, Eric P. Mandat, Jennifer M. Presar and Melissa A. Mackey performed for high school and junior high band students in Du Quoin and Pinckneyville. They also gave master classes and coached ensembles for contest. This spring, the wind quintet will visit schools in Carbondale, Herrin, Marion and Murphysboro.

This week's schedule follows:

Thursday, Feb. 22

• 11 a.m. Whitney Young Magnet High School

Friday, Feb. 23

• 9 a.m. Waukegan High School

Saturday, Feb. 24

• 2:40 p.m. Merit School of Music, Joy Faith Knapp Music Center