Concerto-Aria Concert to Feature Student Soloists

Feb. 2, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The Illinois Wesleyan Symphony Orchestra (IWSO) will present the annual Henry Charles Memorial Concerto-Aria Concert Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 404 N. Prairie St., Bloomington.

Blake Miller
Blake Miller '18
Grace Ricks
Grace Ricks '18
Jacob Taitel
Jacob Taitel '18 
Justin Li
Justin Li '19 
Kelsey Maka
Kelsey Maka '17 
Ryan Andersen
Ryan Andersen '17
John McHugh
John McHugh '17 

The concert will feature seven students who were chosen as winners of the School of Music’s Concerto-Aria competition. This year’s soloists are Ryan Andersen ’17 (Franksville, Wis.), cello; Justin Li ’19 (Hong Kong), violin; Kelsey Maka ’17 (Mokena, Ill.), soprano; John McHugh ’17 (Palatine, Ill.), baritone; Blake Miller ’18 (Arthur, Ill.), bass-baritone; Grace Ricks ’18 (Murphysboro, Ill.), trombone; and Jacob Taitel ’18 (Deerfield, Ill.), tuba.

“Being a soloist with a full orchestra has been a dream of mine since I watched the Concerto-Aria concert my sophomore year and saw one of my best friends absolutely shine while singing her aria,” said McHugh, a voice major. “I was fortunate enough to sing with the IWSO during this year’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro, and now, I get to sing with them again! I never thought this could happen to me.”

This program includes McHugh’s vocal selection, “Madamina, il catalogo è questo” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni; Maka singing “Senza mamma” from Puccini’s Suor Angelica; Miller singing Quand la flamme de l’amour by Georges Bizet; Taitel performing Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra I. Allegro Moderato by John Williams; Li performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 61 III. Rondo: Allegro; Ricks presenting Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra, I: Maestoso – Allegro Molto by Gordon Jacob; and Andersen performing Pezzo Capriccioso in B Minor, Op. 62 by Tchaikovsky.

Maka also felt that all of her practice paid off when she was selected for the Concerto-Aria Concert. “I felt very happy that all the hours I spent practicing and preparing came through in my audition,” she said. “It really means a lot to be chosen as a Concerto Aria soloist because the level of talent at IWU is exceptionally high.”

The Illinois Wesleyan Symphony Orchestra is conduced by Lev Ivanov, visiting assistant professor of music. The Feb. 24 program will also include “Ballet Music” from The Perfect Fool by Gustav Holst. The concert is free and open to the public.

By Reilly Kasprak '17