March 12, 2008

Ensemble plans March 19 Carnegie Hall preview

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Wind Ensemble has a date at Carnegie Hall, and it's not to sit in the audience.

At 8 p.m. on March 26, the student ensemble and a half dozen SIUC School of Music faculty perform in the Isaac Stern Auditorium on the Ronald O. Perleman Stage at Carnegie Hall as part of the New York Band and Orchestra Festival. The Wind Ensemble is one of only two showcase ensembles to give a performance. The ensemble earned its spot through competitive audition.

But before they go, they offer their home crowd a chance to sneak preview the Carnegie Hall concert for free. The preview concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on March 19 in Shryock Auditorium.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and radio or television media may attend a rehearsal before the preview concert beginning at 3 p.m. on March 19 at Shryock Auditorium. This is a short rehearsal, but should provide enough material for media video or audio. Students may be available after the rehearsal for interviews.

Christopher Morehouse, assistant professor and director of bands, will conduct the ensemble at its Carnegie Hall debut. He said the students are working hard to prepare for Carnegie Hall, understanding that this performance is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

"They understand they are representing the University community," he said. "They understand they have to go to New York City and play really well."

The value of this performance, he said, cannot be overestimated – not for the individuals who will play or for the University they represent.

"Once you've been there, you always have that – you can always say you performed at Carnegie Hall," he said. "And the University will always have that, too."

Amanda Jackson, a senior in the School of Music from Mt. Carmel, said her friends are kind enough to bring up the subject often so she has the opportunity to share her excitement.

"I got all teary when (Professor Morehouse) told us we were going," she said. "I called my mom first. She didn't believe me. She kept saying, 'No, you aren't,' and I kept saying, 'Yes, we really are!'"

Jackson plays clarinet, an instrument she first picked up in fifth grade. At that time, she used her grandmother's clarinet. Her grandmother and several other family members will be in the audience at Carnegie Hall.

Nathan Kingery, a junior in music education, admitted to choking up when he heard the news, too.

"Everyone just froze," he said. "Then someone said, 'What?' Honestly, I almost cried."

Kingery said there are times when a young musician has to explain to friends and family why a given venue, honor or selection is a big deal. Not so with a Carnegie Hall debut – "everyone knows that one," as Kingery said.

"I've never been to New York City," he said, trying to explain the level of anticipation he is feeling. "I figure playing at one of the world's greatest venues is a good way to see the city for the first time."

The students and faculty will take in a Broadway show while they are in New York City, and will also enjoy a ferry tour of the Statue of Liberty. The band festival organizers, World Projects International Music Productions, arranged the ferry trip. The other showcase band, the Northamptonshire Orchestral Winds from England, will take the ferry tour as well.

Here is a list of students and faculty who are Carnegie Hall-bound. The students are listed by the high school they attended:


• Antioch Community High School: Ben Henning, tenor saxophone

• Belleville East High School: Mike Dee, alto saxophone

• Charleston High School: Jessica Drake, horn

• Chester High School: Jim Beers, percussion

• Christopher High School: Will Biby, tuba; Josh Livesay, horn; Jered Montgomery, trumpet

• Dixon High School: Jonathan Poquette, trumpet

• East Alton-Wood River High School: Eric Hendrickson, percussion

• Galesburg High School: Mackenzie Allert, flute

• Gibault Catholic High School (Waterloo): Caleb McCoy, baritone saxophone

• Herrin High School: Erica Travelstead, euphonium

• Marion High School: Joey Atwood, horn; David Kosmatka, soprano/alto saxophone; Aaron Moore, trumpet; Katherine Patrick, bass clarinet

• Mendota High School: Bailey Ayers, euphonium

• Mt. Carmel High School: Amanda Jackson, clarinet

• Murphysboro High School: Jani Bryant, clarinet

• Newton Community High School: Ken Trimble, trombone

• Pinckneyville High School: Emily Plumlee, clarinet; Donovan Reese, percussion

• Plainfield: Frank Cheon, clarinet

• Ramsey High School: Nathan Kingery, percussion

• Salem High School: Ryan Ham, trombone

• Sparta High School: Robert Reed, clarinet


• Northeast High School (Oakland Park): Amber Blacharski, trumpet


• Interlochen Arts Academy: Paul Vincent Petrucelly, clarinet


• Fergus Falls Senior High School: Joel Adams, tuba


• Wilmot Union High School: Jake Vozel, trombone


Ju Me Lee, flute; Boon Kah Lim, percussion; Sunyoung Lee, piano

School of Music Faculty

Edward Benyas, oboe, English horn; Suzanne Lord, piccolo, flute; Melissa Mackey, bassoon; Eric Mandat, clarinet, bass clarinet; Jennifer Presar, horn; Jeanine Wagner, soprano