June 21, 2007

High school students will perform as guest soloists

by Andrea Hahn


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CARBONDALE, Ill. — Two area high school students will perform as guest soloists during the Southern Illinois Music Festival on Saturday.

Laila Abdo, a Harrisburg High School junior, and Kristin Sarvela, a senior at Carbondale Community High School, won the Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Music band and piano camp solo competitions this week. In doing so, they earned the chance to perform with the Festival Symphony during the Stars of Tomorrow orchestra concert. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, in Shryock Auditorium.

Abdo, 15, the daughter of Dr. Samir and Ghada Abdo of Harrisburg, will play Robert Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor, the Intermezzo of the second movement. She has played piano for as long as she can remember, she said – about 10 years.

She is also a member of the speech team, Mu Alpha Theta, theater, the IMEA Honors Band and the choir. She is a band drum major, is the varsity golf captain, plays varsity soccer and is on the membership committee of her school's Key Club. She has performed music in public many times, but this is her first solo with a symphony.

"I'm really excited – this is a great opportunity for me," she said. "I played the piece previously, and I really liked the concerto so much I decided to go ahead and audition with it. I am used to the stage, and I love performing. At the first rehearsal, I was a little nervous because I wasn't sure what would happen, but after we played it through once I felt really comfortable with it."

Sarvela, 17, the daughter of Paul and Debra Sarvela of Carbondale, will perform the first movement of Georg Phillip Telemann's Oboe Concerto in F Minor. She began playing piano at 3 years old and has been playing oboe for seven years. She said she initially wanted to play flute or clarinet, but chose oboe after her father suggested there may be more opportunities for scholarships with a less well-known instrument.

Sarvela is also active in jazz choir, concert and marching bands, and German club at her high school. She plays with the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra and teaches oboe lessons. Though she has played with a symphony before, this is her first solo performance.

"I'm really excited right now, but maybe I'll be nervous later," she said. "A lot of really good musicians auditioned for this opportunity, and I was really glad to be chosen. I like Telemann a lot. I feel as though I can get a lot of expression out of this piece."

The Saturday evening concert is one of several performed at Shryock Auditorium during the Southern Illinois Music Festival, hosted by SIUC. Tickets are available at the door. Prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students of all ages. The festival also plays in venues from Mount Vernon to Cairo, Marion to Murphysboro. For more information and a full schedule, visit www.SIFest.com or call 618/536-8742.


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