June 12, 2007

Music festival events planned in Du Quoin, Sesser

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois Music Festival, sponsored by Southern Illinois University Carbondale, brings a free jazz concert to Du Quoin this summer.

Jive with Jazz, an interactive program designed to introduce jazz to audiences ages 0 to 8 years old, is set for 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 20, at the Du Quoin Middle School gymnasium. The event is intended for families with children, but everyone in the community is invited.

Du Quoin residents may also want to include events from nearby Sesser on their summer activity roster. The music festival brings opera to the historic Sesser Opera House this summer, along with three other events well suited to the historic theater.

A chamber concert comes to the opera house on June 19, featuring a production of Stravinsky's "A Soldier's Tale," performed by a mixed ensemble with narration by Rick Williams, professor emeritus of classics and former director of the honors program at SIUC. The text is by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. The New York Philomusica commissioned Vonnegut to write the libretto in 1993. He presents the story of Eddie Slovik, the last American soldier executed for cowardice and desertion. Vonnegut refers to Slovik in his novel, "Slaughterhouse Five."

The concert also includes the Carmen Suite from the French opera by Georges Bizet. The opera, said to be one of the most popular in the world, tells about the recklessly beautiful gypsy Carmen, for whose fickle love a military man mutinies and goes mad. The tone or symphonic poem about a German peasant folk hero, "Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks" by a master of the form, Richard Strauss, rounds out the concert.

The music festival returns to Sesser on June 21 with a free Klassics for Kids presentation at 4 p.m. The interactive program introduces children ages 0 to 8 years old to classical music. Later that evening, the opera house hosts a strings concert featuring violinists Michael Barta and Josh Schlacter playing selections from Bach, Sibelius and Dvorak.

Donizetti's opera, "Elixir of Love," graces the opera house stage on June 28. The comic Italian opera, sung in English, will use lighting, scenery and costumes as well as the music and language to tell the light-hearted, romantic and yet inspiring story of how the peasant Nemorino wins the hand of the wealthy beauty Adina aided by what he believes to be a love potion, and what instead turns out to be a bottle of Southern Illinois wine. The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail underwrote the cost of the opera.

Other 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 list of events and venues are available at www.SIFest.com or by calling 618-53-MUSIC or 618/453-2776.

Here are the Du Quoin and Sesser dates:


Chamber Concert

7:30 p.m., Sesser Opera House

Stravinsky: A Soldier's Tale, text by Kurt Vonnegut

Bizet: Carmen Suite

Richard Strauss: "Till Eulenspeigel's Merry Pranks."

Narrator: Rick Williams

$7 adults, $4 students


Jive with Jazz (ages 0-8)

10 a.m., Du Quoin Middle School gymnasium


Klassics for Kids (ages 0-8)

4 p.m., Sesser Opera House

String Quartet

String Orchestra Concert

7:30 p.m., Sesser Opera House

Bach: Double Concerto with Michael Barta and Josh Schlachter, soloists

Sibelius: Valse Triste

Dvorak: String Serenade

$7 adults, $4 students



7:30 p.m., Sesser Opera House

Donizetti: Elixir of Love, sung in English

Directed by John Lipe

$7 adults, $4 students