The people of Southern Illinois are in for a treat. The seventh annual Southern Illinois Music Festival opens on June 5 and runs through June 25, 2011.
The hallmark of the festival is accessibility for all. Concerts are held at venues throughout Southern Illinois, in concert halls, churches, wineries, libraries and schools, from Cairo to Sesser to Marion to Carbondale, and places in between.
It’s three weeks of great music–classical, opera, and jazz, including all of the Bach Brandenburg Concertos. There will also be a ballet this year (Adolphe Adam’s Giselle) and an opera, Pietro Mascagni’ss Cavalleria Rusticana–in Italian, with the English translation projected above the stage. The popular children’s programs Klassics for Kids and Jive with Jazz will be back for this year’s Southern Illinois Music Festival. These are free for “children of all ages” and will be presented at various locations all over the region, always at 10 am.
Dress is casual. (Even the orchestra members wear T-shirts!)
Before each performance, one of the performers tells something about the music, to give audiences a context for enjoying it.
Concert prices range from free, to $10, to $20 for adult non-students, with student tickets priced lower. For all prices see the Festival website or the Festival brochure available at restaurants and wineries all over Southern Illinois.
Musicians who come from other cities for the festival become part of the Southern Illinois community for three weeks, with local homestays and softball games on Mondays. Two of these musicians are Southern Illinois University alumna and clarinet soloist Boja Kragulj, and bassoonist Karl Rsaza, both currentlly from Chicago. They will be performing together on June 21 at 7:30 pm at Carbondale Community High School in Strauss’s Duet Concertino. Kragulj is looking forward to performing the piece which combines and highlights the sounds of the clarinet and bassoon.
There are also plenty of local performers in the group. Concertmaster and first violinist Michael Barta of the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra gives Artistic Director Edward Benyas credit for bringing together the people and the funding and the music for this sparkling event–and also says they’re able to pull it off because of everyone’s high level of professionalism.
For people who aren’t that familiar with classical music or opera, the Southern Illinois Music Festival is a good, relaxing setting in which to give it a try.
For those who are, it’s a chance to bask in it, a summer vacation for the senses. In addition to the symphonies, concertos and opera and ballet, there will be a piano trio, horn trio, bassoon quartet, trombone quartet, string quartet, clarinet quintet and brass quintet.
And of course, there’s jazz (an even rarer treat for Southern Illinoisans)–for adults and kids!
Tickets are available online or at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center, and can usually also be purchased at the door at concert time–except for the Chancellor’s Soiree at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
If you pay by credit card for a Southern Illinois Music Festival event, there’s a 15% fee. Purchases by cash or check do not carry this fee.
You can get detailed information about concert dates, venues and ticket prices for the Southern Illinois Music Festival at www.SIFest.com, or 618-53-MUSIC; and/or at www.marionccc.org (618-997-4030).
I’ve always loved this festival because of the world-class performances available to everyone in the region for a magical three weeks in early summer. If you haven’t experienced the Southern Illinois Music Festival, you really should. If you have, you know what I mean.
For more information:
Southern Illinois Music Festival on Facebook
Southern Illinois Music Festival website
Marion Cultural and Civic Center website