Shryock Auditorium

April 18, 2022

Southern Illinois, SEMO orchestras, Carbondale high school ensembles to share Shryock venue

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra will present a musical extravaganza April 26 in Shryock Auditorium in a combined performance with the Southeast Missouri State University Symphony, plus  an added ingredient — ensemble performances from Carbondale Community High School as students showcase their Fine Arts Night presentation.

“This is a unique opportunity to bring the excellent young artists just down road at Carbondale Community High School, and their parents, onto campus for a fabulous evening of music, and we hope that our regular symphony patrons will enjoy this special treat,” said Edward M. Benyas, a professor of oboe and conducting in SIU Carbondale’s School of Music. “The audience will also observe the Shryock stage filled with combined members of the Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri Symphonies, providing an even richer rendition of the glorious music of Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky than either ensemble could provide on its own.”

 The special musical evening begins at 5:30 p.m. featuring the five high school ensembles playing more pops-oriented music. At 7:30 p.m., more than 80 instrumentalists from the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra (SISO) and Southeast Missouri Symphony will perform “Sergei Rachmaninov’s lush and exciting Second Piano Concerto and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s glorious Fifth Symphony,” Benyas said. Brian Woods will be the featured pianist on the Rachmaninov piece. The program will begin with the orchestras performing both the American and Ukrainian national anthems.

Admission and information

General admission tickets for the symphony’s 7:30 p.m. performance are $20 each, and $10 for students of any age. Tickets are available in advance through the Saluki Athletic Ticket Office, or at the door the night of the performance. Admission to the CCHS Fine Arts Night portion of the evening is free, and a stamped program from that performance gains the bearer free admission to the 7:30 p.m. Rachmaninov-Tchaikovsky concert.

Unique showcase of musical talent

The performance will mark the first time that the SISO and high school ensembles will share the same venue through a unique set of circumstances. Benyas explained the idea to showcase both groups came after realizing both had performances set for the same night.

SISO members include SIU graduate and undergraduate music majors, non-majors, community members and local professionals.

CCHS musicians will shine

The five ensembles from CCHS to perform will be mixed and treble choirs, jazz, concert band and wind symphony. About 90 musicians from grades 9-12 will perform, music instructor Greg Townsend said. CCHS hasn't shared the stage with SISO, though students have collaborated with other SIU performing groups.

“I'm excited about our musicians getting a chance to perform in the premier concert venue of Southern Illinois, and to an audience that is potentially much larger than they usually get to perform concerts for,” Townsend said. “SISO draws an audience with a great understanding and appreciation of quality music and being part of their event raises the bar on how we hope to perform.”

Townsend added he’s even more delighted his students will be sharing a concert evening with combined orchestras from SIU and SEMO.

“Our students will have the opportunity to hear music from one of my favorite composers performed by many of the finest musicians in the region,” he said. “This event could be the highlight of many of our students’ music experiences thus far. I'm grateful that Maestro Benyas is allowing us this opportunity.”

Students’ art will be showcased

Patrons will also get to see the artistic talents of CCHS students as their work will be on display in Shryock Auditorium’s upper and lower lobbies. The art will be available for patrons to enjoy between the performances and at intermission. The SIU School of Art and Design is assisting the students in displaying the art, Benyas said.

chalk pastel, charcoal, and conte crayon drawing

“Formations Pt. VI,” an 18x24 chalk pastel, charcoal, and conte crayon drawing by Alexander Brown, a senior at Carbondale Community High School, is among approximately three dozen pieces of artwork that will be on display April 26 at Shryock Auditorium. (Photo provided)