Fall classical fare

The season offers plenty of fine listening in central Illinois


Classical music is reaping rewards for listeners and practitioners alike in the 21st century, thanks to ease of accessibility provided to concert planners and fans. Increasingly part of “classical” concerts are selections of “global music,” which merits listeners for its variety and diversity, compared with works composed in ancient days when Marie Antoinette still possessed her head. The fall concert season at central Illinois venues shares those rewards bigtime.

click to enlarge The Illinois Symphony Orchestra performs several times through the end of the year, including their Happy Holidays concert on Dec. 19. - PHOTO BY DUSTY RHODES
The Illinois Symphony Orchestra performs several times through the end of the year, including their Happy Holidays concert on Dec. 19.

Illinois Symphony Orchestra
On Sept. 25 Musical Director Karen Lynne Deal will raise her baton to commence her 11th and final season with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. All ISO Springfield concerts begin at 8 p.m. at UIS Sangamon Auditorium. Violin soloist Soovin Kim will be featured that night in a totally Tchaikovsky feast for the ears, serving the Russian composer’s immortal Swan Lake Suite, Violin Concerto, and 1812 Overture.

The Little Orchestra (a/k/a chamber orchestra) will “go for Baroque” when it presents Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos 3, 4 and 5 Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m. at St. Agnes Church.

Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. at Sangamon Auditorium, the ISO%u2008performs works by Gade, Stravinsky and Latin American composers Ginastera and Piazzolla whose Double Concerto for Guitar and Bandoneon will feature soloists Jason Vieaux and Lidia Kaminska.

The Little Orchestra returns to St. Agnes Church starting at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 with their Winter Wanderings candlelight concert featuring classical string arrangements for the season and a “joyous carol sing-along.”

Make your Capital City Christmas for kids and kids-at-heart complete by attending the Happy Holidays concert Dec. 19. Even Santa is taking time off during his “busy season” to be a part of this special event and promises to be on hand to sing along.

For more information: www.ilsymphony.org.

Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra
Jacksonville’s symphony orchestra began on the MacMurray College campus and has grown from there. Susan Weller, president of the Jacksonville Center for the Arts, says symphony concerts take place at Illinois College’s Rammelcamp Chapel. The 48th season begins Oct. 2 with the return of a local kid who did well out West. The evening is called A Virtuoso Returns and features William Lane who graduated Jacksonville High and rose to the exalted rank of principal French horn player with the Los Angeles Symphony. Director James Welch will lead the recently retired brassist and JSO in performances of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3 and Saint-Saens’ Morceau de concert.

The Nov. 13 concert will be “classical” in the neo-classical way when JSO presents An Evening with Sinatra and Friends, featuring popular St. Louis vocalist Tom Heitman plus Carolbeth True and trio. Hits from the Sinatra Songbook are as warm and easy on the ears as they were back in the day when Sinatra reigned supreme, and the selections slated are sure to delight ears old and new.

Some folks delight in “total immersion” Christmas the way others do in NASCAR racing and chess, and the JSO will refresh and renew such citizens Dec. 4 during their annual Holiday Happening. The orchestra will be joined by the Jacksonville Symphony Chorale and the Jacksonville High School Concert Choir for a memorable romp through Christmas favorites.

Susan Weller notes that the holiday concert’s format presents the light fare first with younger folks in mind. “Santa Claus visits during intermission and those who have kids can return home with them,” she says. “The second half features more serious selections. It encourages families to bring their children and share that part of the season without demanding they endure equally essential and beautiful traditional music.”

Tickets are available at County Market on Morton Avenue: $15. Children and students are free.

For more information: www.jaxsym.com.

Millikin-Decatur Symphony
The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra (MDSO) is a unique combination of students, faculty and “townies.” The repertoire is selected by Director Dr. Michael Luxner to further the academic learning process while engaging the citizens of the Soy City with a variety of traditional and contemporary classic selections.

The season begins Sept. 6, starting at 6 p.m. in Nelson Park on the shore of Lake Decatur. The concert is geared to the family (meaning nothing too stuffy) and free.
With the exception of the December extravaganza, the rest of the 2010 concerts are held at Kirkland Fine Arts Center, starting Oct. 2 at 7:30. Highlight of the concert, which includes works by Prokofiev, Respighi and Ravel, will be the world premiere of James Romig’s Percussion Concerto.

Oct. 7 at 7:30, the MDSO appears on stage in Millikin Opera Theatre’s 50-minute Americanized rendition of Mozart’s The Magic Flute classic comedy and fun for the family.

Oct. 30 showcases the Romantic Age’s only concerto for two soloists, as international stars Rachel Barton Pine and Wendy Warner join in Bach’s Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra. Also slated are golden oldies by Weber and Brahms.

Nov. 12, 13 (7:30 p.m.) and 14 (2 p.m.), the curtain rises on the Kirkland’s annual musical production The Drowsy Chaperone, “a delightful show within a show” and Broadway smash hit of the 2006-2007 season.

Dec. 12, at 8:15 and 10:45 a.m., a tradition continues as MDSO chamber orchestra teams with the musicians of Central Christian Church for the Advent Services.

For more information visit http://www.millikin.edu/music.

click to enlarge Classical guitarist Russel Brazzel, pictured here performing downtown at an Artist on the Plaza event, will perform at the Springfield Classical Guitar Society on Oct. 16 at 8pm. - PHOTO COURTESY PHOTOS-ETC.BLOGSPOT.COM
Classical guitarist Russel Brazzel, pictured here performing downtown at an Artist on the Plaza event, will perform at the Springfield Classical Guitar Society on Oct. 16 at 8pm.

Springfield Classical Guitar Society
Founded in 1997, the group’s 2010/2011 season is slated for a new concert venue: the sanctuary of Faith Lutheran Church at the corner of Whittier at Outer Park in Springfield. Board member Mark Pence reports that while they continue their search for a permanent location with optimum acoustic conditions for the unamplified classical instrument, the new venue comes close and also provides a cozier, more intimate setting, sure to be appreciated by the organization’s regular attendees. The first and only concert slated for the 2010 “half” will be presented starting at 8 p.m. Oct. 16, featuring founder Russel Brazzel.

For more information about SCGS www.aeroknow.com/arts/classical6images.htm.

Springfield Choral
Marion van der Loo, music director and conductor of the 62-member Springfield Choral Society, now in its 40th year, says members are primed for the first of two December concerts, Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m., but they don’t know where it will be. “The location is ‘TBA’ for now,” she says. Look for an update later this fall. The second concert is set for Sunday, Dec. 5, starting at 4:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Chatham. The concerts are entitled Flirting with the Twilight and will include seasonal music appropriate for the twilight months of the year. Included will be a medley of Christmas songs featuring a 16-part harmony arranged by the international music ensemble Chanticleer that promises to amaze and delight choral aficionados and touch the hearts of everyone. Tickets are $10, available at the door.

O Great Mystery! Music from the Renaissance and beyond to celebrate the season of light is the only fall concert by the smaller Prairieland Voices (23 singers), according to Ms. van der Loo, artistic director and conductor. It commences at 5:30 p.m., Dec. 19, at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Tickets: $10 at the door.

Decatur Choral
Based in Decatur, the community choral group Opus 24, founded in 1991, includes members from Bloomington, Taylorville and Champaign. Director Milton Scott will lead the group’s fall concert Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Decatur. He promises a cornucopia of song that includes a Scottish ballad, recent spirituals, a Renaissance piece, carols from the Oxford Book of Carols and a blazing finale, a contemporary number with six brass and auxiliary percussion. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for any student.

Contact Job Conger at writer@eosinc.com.

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