December 02, 2010

Shryock to host 'The Nutcracker Ballet' Dec. 18-19

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- What’s better than 3D? See for yourself when The Nutcracker returns to Shryock Auditorium at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for two nights of performances.

“The Nutcracker Ballet” begins at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 18 and at 3 p.m. on Dec. 19. The Southern Illinois Music Festival Dance Company, sponsored by Willow Street Studios, and the Southern Illinois Children’s Choir join the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra to present this much-loved Christmastime classic. Dancers from the studio welcome several professional principal dancers for this performance. Gleidson Valconcelos, formerly of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the 2009 Gold Medal World Ballet Competition winner, and Katie Syfert, formerly of the Atlanta Ballet, join 85 area dancers for this performance. Sydelle Fulk choreographs.

“The Nutcracker Ballet,” one of the three famous ballets composed by Tchaikovsky, tells the story of young Clara, in whose dreams a Nutcracker Prince comes to life to battle the Mouse King and to introduce her to the fantastic world of Sugar Plum Fairies, dancing snowflakes and choreographed presentation of Christmas delights.

The Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra is the region's premiere orchestral ensemble. It is comprised of SIUC School of Music faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, area professionals and talented community members. SISO Music Director, Edward Benyas, conducts the Saturday night performance. Michael Wheatley, a graduate student from Cincinnati, Ohio and an accomplished conductor in his own right working under the auspices of Benyas, will conduct the Sunday matinee.

The Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, under the guidance of Musical Director Edward Benyas, is a student musical ensemble that includes SIUC faculty and members of the community. Michael Wheatley joins Benyas in conducting the symphony for this performance.

The Willow Street Studios, home of Susan Barnes Dance, is a Carbondale-based dance studio offering dance instruction from beginning to advanced in ballet, jazz, modern, tap and hip-hop.

The Southern Illinois Children's Choir, under the direction of Alice Berry and assistant director Stan Willis, is open to area children with unchanged voices.  The four treble ensembles, Kinder, Apprentice, Singer and Chorister, range in age from 5 to 16 years.  The children's choir is part of the community outreach of the School of Music.

Tickets for “The Nutcracker Ballet” are $22 for general audience, $9 for students and $5 for children 12 years old and younger. Purchase tickets in advance through or by calling 618/453-6000. Tickets are also available at the Shryock Auditorium Box Office during office hours and beginning one hour before the performance.