May 30, 2008

Music festival coming to Lincoln Trail College

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois Music Festival, a musical outreach of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, comes to Lincoln Trail College in Robinson for the first time this year.

The festival, now in its fourth year, began as a way to bring a wide variety of classical and jazz music, featuring award-winning musicians, to Southern Illinois. The growing popularity of the festival has inspired festival founder and the conductor of the Southern Illinois Festival Orchestra, Edward Benyas, to add sites to the festival's mobile concert list.

Up first on June 14 is a staple of the Southern Illinois Music Festival -- Klassics for Kids. This program, set for the college's Zwermann Arts Center, introduces classical music to children from newborn to about 8 years old. Ed Benyas, and his wife Kara Benyas, also an accomplished musician, developed the program when they wanted to introduce their own children to live performances of classical music -- but could find only evening performances that were not particularly welcoming to the shorter attention spans and need for movement typical of toddlers and young children. This performance features instruments and musicians from the Southern Illinois Festival Orchestra, composed of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra with additional festival musicians. The program, which starts at 3 p.m., is free for students age 16 and younger. Non-student tickets are $5. Adults must accompany children to the program.

Then at 7 p.m., the festival brings an orchestra concert featuring patriotic music and music from the movies as part of a Flag Day celebration. The concert will also be at the Zwermann Arts Center at the college. Tickets go on sale June 1. Call 618/544-5299, ext. 1433 for reserved seating. Tickets for the evening performance are $20.

Lincoln Trail College and the Illinois Arts Council sponsor these performances.

More information, a full schedule of all Southern Illinois Music Festival performances and any late changes are at