More than 100 players will fill the NIU Music Building’s Boutell Memorial Concert Hall stage at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, for the CSA Sinfonia Reunion Concert.
Alumni from the 15-year history of the orchestra are returning to perform with current members and with guest performer Liam Teague. The concert has been planned as a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the NIU Community School of the Arts.
Linc Smelser has directed the group since 1996. The ensemble began as a string orchestra in 1993, directed by Arthur Montzka, a high school orchestra director and the conductor of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble became a full orchestra in 1999 and has had more than 300 local high school musicians as members.
The Dec. 22 performance illustrates the breadth of the players’ skills and includes “Mars” from “The Planets” by Holst, “St. Paul’s Suite” by Holst, “Les Preludes” by Liszt and “Russlan and Ludmilla” by Glinka. The three works with steelpan and orchestra are “Winter” from “The Four Seasons” by Vivaldi, “Tico Tico” by de Abreu and “Triplets” by G.H. Green.
Soloist Teague is hailed as the “Paganini of the Steelpan,” and currently serves as associate professor of steelpan and co-director of the steelband in the NIU School of Music, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
He has received many awards in his homeland, Trinidad and Tobago, including championships, for his ability on the steelpan, violin and recorder. Teague’s commitment to demonstrating the great musical possibilities of the steelpan have taken him to Europe, Asia, North and Central America and the Caribbean. He has recorded six CDs.
The NIU Community School of the Arts has provided arts education to community people since 1988. Thousands of local children and adults from as many as 50 different towns and cities have participated in lessons and classes in music, art and theater, as well as music ensembles.
There will be a free will donation for the scholarship programs at the reunion concert. The NIU Community School of the Arts has two scholarship programs – for need and talent – and awards more than $3,000 a year.
For more information about the community school or the reunion concert, call (815) 753-1450.