Southern Illinois Music Festival Returns to River Campus with Romeo and Juliet Theme



May 27, 2010 – The sixth annual Southern Illinois Music Festival returns to the River Campus at Southeast Missouri State University June 17 with a Romeo and Juliet theme.

The Cape Girardeau performance, under the musical direction of Edward Benyas, will feature Tchaikovsky’s lush “Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture,” as well as Leonard Bernstein’s exciting “Symphonic Dances” from “West Side Story.” Also on the program is George Gershwin’s “American in Paris.” The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall located in the Cultural Arts Center at the River Campus.

“The Bernstein and Gershwin works employ a wide array of woodwind, brass and percussion instruments and are great orchestral showpieces,” Benyas said. “The combination of this highly professional musical ensemble, inspiring musical selections, and the world-class acoustics of Southeast’s River Campus promise a tremendously fulfilling concert experience.”

Bob Cerchio, assistant director at the River Campus, said “Those who heard this group last summer were impressed with the way this brilliant orchestra exploded off the Bedell stage. With core musicians from the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and virtuoso artists from around the region and world, this will be another magnificent performance.”

The River Campus performance is part of the sixth annual Southern Illinois Music Festival featuring more than three dozen performances at venues from Mt. Vernon to Cairo, Ill., and Murphysboro to Marion, Ill., as well as performances at McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill., and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (SIUC), the heart of the festival. Musicians from throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia perform orchestral and chamber music, opera, ballet, jazz and new music in an informal and inviting atmosphere.

The festival coincides with a two-week summer music camp for high school students, a 40-year tradition at SIUC. Members of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra will be in residence.

Tickets for the Cape Girardeau concert at the River Campus are $20 for adults and $6 for children. Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651-2265. Tickets also will be available the night of the performance at the River Campus Box Office.