March 28, 2012

Pianist Wilfred Delphin returns for benefit concert

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Pianist Wilfred Delphin, a Southern Illinois University Carbondale alumnus and a professor emeritus, returns for a benefit concert beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 30, at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship on Parrish Lane in Carbondale.

Delphin brings with him musical partner Valerie Jones-Francis.  David Dillard, assistant professor in the School of Music at SIU Carbondale and a noted baritone, joins him as well.  The concert features arias, art songs, opera duets and spirituals, with selections from such composers as Brahms, Copland, Mozart, Verdi and Wagner. 

The concert benefits the Ranchhod Community Services and Hospice in Kabwe, Zambia.  Tickets are $20 for the general public and $10 for students.  A silent auction also benefits Ranchhod.  The organization provides palliative care, nutritional support, family planning services and care for orphaned and children made vulnerable by the presence of HIV-AIDS in their families.

The program includes highlights from Porgy and Bess, arias from “Madama Butterfly” and “Herodiade,” and contemporary selections.

Delphin is currently Artist-in-Residence at Xavier University of Louisiana.  The three musicians recently performed together as part of the University of New Orleans Musical Excursions Series.

Delphin came to SIU Carbondale as half of the piano duo Delphin and the late Edwin Romain, a partnership that began when the two were undergraduate students at Xavier University. Both earned advanced degrees at SIU Carbondale, then second doctorates at the University of Southern Mississippi, before returning to here as members of the faculty. 

Delphin made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1977 with Romaine.  The two toured the United States, South America, Europe and Asia.  Among the highlights of their duo career was a performance for President Jimmy Carter in the East Room of the White House.  Delphin is part of Baldwin Piano’s “World’s Best” promotion, and is a South Carolina Arts Commission Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award winner.

Delphin and Francis have performed together many times, including Duo Benefit Concerts performed in Carbondale for AIDS relief in Zambia.

Dillard has performances with The Austin Lyric Opera, Florida Grand Opera, San Diego Opera Ensemble and the Tanglewood Music Center to his credit.  He performed with Delphin and Jones-Francis during an earlier visit to Carbondale in 2010.