June 09, 2009

Music festival coming to Johnston City, Marion

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois Music Festival, hosted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale, includes performances in Marion and Johnston City.

A highlight of the festival, “A Children’s Ballet: Coppélia,” comes to the Marion Civic Center at 7:30 p.m. on June 19. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $6 for students.

The three-act story of the ballet is a love story overlaid with magic. The story follows Swanhilda and Franz and their up and down love. Complicating the romance, and lending both comedy and magic to the ballet, is the mysterious Dr. Coppélius and the life-size doll he has come to love as a daughter.

Susan Barnes and Sydelle Fulk of the Susan Barnes/Willow Street Dance Studio direct and choreograph the SIFest Dance Company, featuring young local and regional dancers. For more information, visit www.susanbarnesdance.com. The Chicago Chamber Orchestra, conducted by festival artistic director Edward M. Benyas, scores the ballet. For more information, visit www.chicagochamberorchestra.org.

The festival also brings free performances for children to Marion and Johnston City. A Klassics for Kids performance featuring a string quartet begins at 10 a.m on June 17 at the First United Methodist Church in Johnston City. Klassics for Kids is an interactive program designed specifically for the youngest listeners, from as young as newborn to about pre-school age. Edward M. Benyas, artistic director of the festival, and his wife, musician Kara Benyas, designed the program format to help introduce young listeners to classical and jazz music.

A Klassics for Kids program featuring a wind quintet is set for 10 a.m. on June 18 at the Peoples National Bank in Marion. The performance, and the one in Johnston City, is free.

The Southern Illinois Music Festival is a multi-venue festival bringing classical and jazz music to the greater Southern Illinois and Metro East area. For a complete schedule of all festival events and information about the artists, visit www.sifest.com.