June 10, 2009

Festival performances set in Du Quoin, Sesser

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois Music Festival, hosted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale, brings performances to Du Quoin and Sesser, including free performances for children.

Klassics for Kids, a free, interactive music program designed just for the very youngest of music lovers, comes to the Du Quoin Middle School beginning at 10 a.m. on June 25. The feature is a string quartet. Edward M. Benyas, festival artistic director and the Chicago Chamber Orchestra conductor, and his wife, musician and School of Music faculty member Kara Benyas, designed Klassics for Kids to introduce children as young as newborn to the sounds of classical and jazz music.

Klassics for Kids also comes to the nearby Sesser Opera House. A 10 a.m. concert is set there on June 24, featuring a string quartet and a piano quintet. The string quartet returns for a chamber music concert that night, beginning at 7:30. Tickets for the evening concert are $10 for general admission and $3 for students. The Klassics for Kids performance is free.

A morning and evening concert combination returns to the Sesser Opera House on July 1, with a free 10 a.m. Jive with Jazz performance. Jive with Jazz is similar to Klassics for Kids, but also appeals to school age children.

The New Arts Jazztet return to the opera house that night at 7:30 for a concert with adults in mind. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $3 for students.

New Arts Jazztet is a bright light for jazz fans in Southern Illinois. The group also appears at jazz venues in Chicago, Cincinnati and other Midwestern cities. Recently, the group appeared on the Chicago-based WTTW-Channel 11 special broadcast, “Arts Across Illinois: Center Stage.” They are part of the Illinois Arts Council’s 2007-2009 Artstour Artist Roster.

New Arts Jazztet is SIUC School of Music faculty members Dick Kelley on saxophones, Bob Allison on trumpet and flugelhorn, Tim Pritchford on trombone, Phil Brown on bass and Ron Coulter on drums and percussion. Mel Goot on piano rounds out the membership.

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.