June 07, 2007

Music festival bringing free concerts to Cairo

by Andrea Hahn


CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois Music Festival, sponsored by Southern Illinois University Carbondale, comes to Cairo with six free concerts this summer – three of them organized with a young audience in mind.

Klassics for Kids and Jive with Jazz are performances designed for ages 0 to 8 years old. Edward Benyas, SIUC music professor, conductor of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and the festival's founder and artistic director, said musical education is an important component of the festival. So is taking it on the road and bringing classical music and jazz performances to venues in the greater Southern Illinois community, he said.

The orchestra concert presents the first symphonies of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Prokofiev. The jazz performance on June 21 features nationally acclaimed pianist Mel Goot and vocalist Sharon Clark. The June 29 performance showcases SIUC-based New Arts Jazztet – a group Benyas described as "forged in the eclecticism of neo-bop and the energy of contemporary jazz."

Most of the Cairo concerts will be in the auditorium in Cairo's public library, the historic Safford Memorial Library on Washington Avenue. The final concert of the series will be at the performance stage of the Halliday Plaza, next to the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer at Sixth Street and Washington Avenue. All performances are free admission.

In addition to SIUC, major sponsors include the Illinois Arts Council, the City of Carbondale, The Southern Illinoisan, WSIL-TV, WSIU Public Broadcasting, Carbondale Community Arts, Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, Southern Illinois Miners, Mélange, Boundless Gallery.com, Dr. Samuel Goldman, the Julia Harrison Bruce Foundation-Bank of Herrin Trustee, the Garwin Family Foundation, Hastings Foundation, Moore-Corpora Foundation, SISO Patrons Committee and Southern Foundation.

More information and a complete schedule of all events is available at www.SIFest.com or by calling 618-53-MUSIC or 618/453-2776.

Here is the Cairo performance schedule:


Klassics for Kids (ages 0-8)

3 p. m., Cairo Public Library


Orchestra Concert: Great Firsts

7:30 p.m., Cairo Public Library

Beethoven: Symphony No. 1

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 1

Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1


Jive with Jazz (ages 0-8)

4 p.m., Cairo Public Library

Mel Goot and Sharon Clark

7:30 p.m., Cairo Public Library



Jive with Jazz (ages 0-8)

4 p.m., Cairo Public Library

New Arts Jazztet

7:30 p.m., Halliday Plaza, Cairo