Southern Illinois Music Festival 2016: History in the Music-making

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Alto Vineyards

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Southern Illinois Music Festival 2010
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011 Takes It... Bach to Beethoven!
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: Three-dozen Concerts in Three Weeks
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: Adolphe Adam's Giselle: Dancing Evil Spirits Away
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: Faith, Love, Lust, Betrayal, and Murder: Mascagni's Opera Cavalleria Rusticana
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: Mozart, Beethoven, and More: SIU Alum and Clarinet Soloist Boja Kragulj Returns for the Festivals
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: New Arts Jazztet: Hands-on American Music for Adults and Children
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: The Southern Illinois Bassoon Quartet: The the Clown of the Orchestra Takes the Spotlight
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: The Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra: Heading Bach to Brahms With Two SIU Alum
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2012
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2012 Continues With Kara Benyas performing Rachmaninov and Strauss
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2012 presents La Bohème: A Night at the Opera
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2012 Presents Stravinsky Ballets: Petruchka and The Firebird
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2013: A Classical Tradition Continues
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2014 Takes Opera to the Final Frontier: The Abduction from the Seraglio
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2014: Mostly Mozart in the Midwest

Who: Edward Benyas
What: Southern Illinois Music Festival (jazz)
When: 2016-05-28 - 2016-06-13
A longstanding annual summer festival is set to transport audiences back to the eighteenth century.
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

A longstanding annual summer festival is set to transport audiences back to the eighteenth century.

With the theme William Tell in 1776, the Southern Illinois Music Festival features Gioachino Rossini’s famous opera William Tell at the Marion Civic Center. The entire opera will be presented twice over two-day periods, Tuesday, June 7 and Wednesday, June 8, and then again for a repeat performance Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11. Many will recognize the famous overture in William Tell as The Lone Ranger theme.

Festival artistic director and orchestra conductor Ed Benyas said the huge undertaking of producing William Tell requires a large cast of performers, including a forty-voice chorus, twenty-member ballet company, and the Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra.

Due to its length and complexity, William Tell has rarely been produced in its entirety.

“Producing Rossini’s final opera, William Tell, is the most ambitious thing we have ever done in the twelve years of the Southern Illinois Music Festival,” Benyas said. “Our production, updating the setting to 1776 America, is unique, and even producing the entire opera in its original language and uncut with all the original ballet music has only been done a handful of times in this country in the past century.”

Josh Shaw, director of the Pacific Opera Project in Los Angeles, is also the director of William Tell. Shaw said that many of the singers, including Wes Mason in the title role, are internationally recognized for their talents.

“We were able to get those talents because of the production,” he said.

The other three-dozen events for the Southern Illinois Music Festival remain consistent with the 1776 theme. These shows include orchestral concerts (on June 4, 9, and 11) that feature music about revolution or of a revolutionary nature.

Also scheduled for the festival is a special spotlight on Mozart. In 1775, a nineteen-year-old Mozart wrote all five of his violin concerti, and three members of the Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra’s violin section will perform the last three concerti on two nights of the festival.

The Festival Orchestra will present music of the Three Bs Thursday, June 9, opening with J.S. Bach’s Third Brandenburg Concerto followed by Johannes Brahms’s Double Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra. Soloists for the Brahms spotlight include SIU violin and cello professors Michael Barta and Eric Lenz. The final B will be Beethoven’s Third Symphony, also known as Eroica. Beethoven had intended to dedicate the music to Napoleon and an enlightened era of freedom then emerging in Europe. However, when he learned of Napoleon’s excesses, Beethoven renamed the piece.

Small chamber ensembles will also pepper the festival schedule, playing in locations from Herrin and Marion to Murphysboro, Anna, and Cairo.

Benyas said the continued success of the festival is a testament to the community backing the event receives year after year.

“[W]e could not sustain the festival this year without the support of a variety of generous corporate, governmental, foundation, and individual sponsors,” Benyas said.

Shaw added that the can’t-miss William Tell show is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

“Either way, it’s history,” Shaw said. “It will probably be the only time in your entire life that you will get to see it.”

For the complete schedule, log on to <http://SIFest.com>. Tickets (including a $100 pass that nets access to all festival activities except the special-event fundraisers) sell via the Marion Cultural and Civic Center box office at (618) 997-4030 or <http://www.MarionCCC.org>.

who: Edward Benyas

what: Southern Illinois Music Festival

where: various locations


when: May 28 through June 13

Keith Javors: A Local Jazz Savant Returns

Venues & Businesses
Newell House

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Keith Javors: Playing Jazz and Paying it Forward

Who: Keith Javors
What: jazz
When: 2016-05-18 - 2016-05-19
Keith Javors, born in DeSoto, Illinois, has been internationally recognized as a vibrant and eclecti
Craig Wilson
Video Comentary

Keith Javors, born in DeSoto, Illinois, has been internationally recognized as a vibrant and eclectic piano player and producer. He returns to the region on Wednesday and Thursday, May 18 and 19 for two shows at the Newell House Grotto Lounge in support of his latest recording, The Meeting, which will be formally released on May 31; at the Grotto he’ll be joined by bassist Jim Wall and drummer Jim Goodwin.

Javors has won awards from Downbeat magazine for his playing and for his role as a composer, producer, and educator. He appears on several recordings on the label he runs, Inarhyme Records, which has produced a number of critically hailed albums. The Chicago Tribune praised Coming Together, where Javors played alongside Chris Potter, Steve Wilson, Terell Stafford, Delbert Felix and John Davis, as one of 2009’s most innovative recordings. Among other places you can also hear him: Rhyme and Reason, Mo’ City Jungle, The Free Project (as part of the American Music Project), and From Here to the Street. The forthcoming release The Meeting features Javors with Oleg Kireyev, Tom Harrel, Ben Williams, and E.J. Strickland.

Javors’s work is infused with a socially conscious outlook. In 2013 Inarhyme Records teamed up with the Los Angeles based organization Jail Guitar Doors to improve the lives of the incarcerated through music; specifically, they help inmates get access to musical instruments. Javors said of the organization founded by Wayne Kramer, Margaret Saadi Kramer, and Billy Bragg that “They’re leading great initiatives... to really improve our society and change many lives.”

This was noted by the Jazz Review, which wrote, “Perhaps Javors’s concern for the people he meets and his well-wishing for the world community at-large characterizes his work.”

Visit <http://www.KeithJavorsMusic.com> for more information.

Nightlife had a few words with Keith Javors.

So you’re from DeSoto and went to high school in Carbondale. Welcome back! It must be interesting to return to this area, a town so different from your current city, Philadelphia.

It’s a much different vibe for certain, but I’ve always loved where I come from; the warm and friendly people, the relaxed pace, the beauty. I have a special place in my heart for Southern Illinois. I moved away from the area when I was seventeen, but the people here are still some of my greatest fans and supporters. It takes a village to raise a child and that was true in my case: my family, friends, teachers, the community. They have all played a role in making me who I am today.

According to your bio you took an interest in music at an early age. I was curious what got you started and how you evolved into the piano player you are today.

According to my parents’ recollection, there was an old, defunct player piano in the house where I grew up, and at three I just started picking out television themes by ear on it. I played by ear for a few years before starting formal lessons at seven or eight. I consider the love and fascination I’ve always had for music to be a gift from God, and still feel the same way today. I’m just as excited, as fascinated with music and its innate power as I ever was and that hopefully keeps me growing.

You’ve played with a lot of great jazz musicians like Dave Brubeck and appeared on numerous albums. You manage the Inarhyme Records label where you show up in different duos and ensembles. So in all these collaborations, what forms of musical arrangements strike you the most? What are some of your favorite collaborations and shows?

That’s a tough one, as I have many favorite settings and it’s generally whatever one I’m involved in at the moment. But I see music as one of two things: Good or bad. And I don’t judge beyond that. I am a big fan of cross-pollination of styles and outside-the-box collaborations in general, and feel something really unique and special can come from those. And so with the label, we’re always looking for projects that are high-quality but go against the stylistic grain in some kind of way.

Any thoughts on playing as a trio at the Grotto? How much of a mix between standards and improvisation do you incorporate into your set?

I anticipate the Grotto will be a nice mix between jazz standards and originals. I’m looking forward to playing with Jim and Wayne again; they’re very supportive musicians with big ears, as we like to say in the business. I think there’ll be something for everyone. I try to present music that is challenging and fun for the musicians to play but that is, at the same time, accessible to the everyday listener.

You recorded with spoken-word/hip-hop artist D-Priest as part of the American Music Project. According to Jazz Times you’ve also had a nineteen-piece band. The Coming Together album featured a sextet in memoriam of your friend Brendan Romaneck. The new release The Meeting was recorded with a quintet. So you seem to be a jazz musician with a diverse range. Though some of your recordings have been hailed as being post-bop and it seems to be something that drives you as a player, you obviously reach beyond that.

It’s hard for me not to reach and take risks in music. Not only is it something my teachers and mentors instilled in me, but I grew up in a much different generation than, say, Miles Davis or Dizzy Gillespie, and so the influences are different. You could never replicate their greatness anyway. So I’m okay with letting my other tastes come through when possible and appropriate, anything from [rhythm and blues] and pop to rock and funk to gospel and even country.

What are your plans for the future?

Mostly, I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and develop, both as a human being and as a musician. In addition to touring and promoting The Meeting, I have a pop project with a fantastic vocalist named Jennifer Perryman that’s starting to come together and a new progressive-jazz record on the horizon as well. And then there’s the work with the label and producing other artists and running our programs. It really never ends, and I think that keeps me happy.

who: Keith Javors

what: jazz

where: Newell House Grotto Lounge


when: Wednesday and Thursday, May 18 and 19

Brews Brothers Taproom • Murphysboro: Kelven CD release party / People versus Hugh DeNeal / Jewels (jazz)

Jewels - Herbie's Blues - Introducing the Jewels

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Jewels - Okraschoten - Introducing the Jewels


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Eshé Bhairavi

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Eshé Bhairavi (E-Shay) (Buh-Rah-Vee)
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