April 18, 2007
The Youth Orchestras program of the Leo Kucinski Academy of Music (LKAM) at Morningside College will present a concert on Sunday, April 29, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Eppley Auditorium, 3625 Garretson Avenue. The concert is free and open to the public.
The concert will include performances by the Philharmonia, conducted by Jungho Kim, and the Siouxland Symphonette, conducted by Thomas Miller, commencing at 5:30 p.m. A concert by the Youth Symphony, conducted by Joseph Shufro, will commence at 7 p.m.
The Youth Symphony concert will include a performance of Khachaturian’s Concerto for Violin featuring violinist Judy Leinen (left), a Morningside College junior from Des Moines, Iowa, as soloist. Leinen was the winner of the academy’s concerto competition held in January.
The concert is the first collaboration between the Youth Symphony and Morningside College’s choirs. They will present performance of Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” under Shufro’s direction. The work features familiar psalm texts sung in Hebrew. The second movement of this work requires a boy soprano soloist, and this performance will feature Benjamin Abel (right), 13-year-old head choirboy from St. Paul’s Choir in Indianapolis, Ind.
Morningside College Choir director Tim Watson conducts the combined orchestra and choir in a performance of John Corigliano’s “Fern Hill,” a lyric work based on a poem by Dylan Thomas. Other concert selections include Georges Bizet’s “Farandole” from L'Arlesienne Suite no. 2, and “Something,” performed by the percussion ensemble of the Youth Symphony, under the direction of Ron Smith. The Youth Symphony Woodwind ensemble will perform Reinecke’s Octet for Woodwinds as an intermission feature in the Eppley Auditorium foyer.
Abel is the grandson of the late John Grossman and Marlene Grossman of Sioux City. At age nine, he joined the St. Paul’s Choir in Indianapolis and later became a choral scholar in the newly formed St. Paul’s Choir School. Since that time, he has toured with the group on the East Coast, England, and Scotland including residencies in venues such as the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland, and London’s Westminster Abbey, to name a few.
Kim is instructor of violin and director of the Early String Program for the academy. He also serves as education director for the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra.
Miller is director of orchestras and a women’s show choir for the Sioux City Community School District. He is principal bass for the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra.
Shufro is associate professor of music at Morningside College and instructor of cello for the academy. He is principal cellist for the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, where he has appeared as soloist and guest conductor, and is a member of the Morningside Camerata, a faculty-student collaborative string ensemble.
Smith is a member of the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra and the Sioux City Municipal Band and has performed with several other ensembles including the Siouxland Jazz Orchestra and the Le Mars Municipal Band. He teaches students of all ages on various percussion instruments.
Watson is director of choral activities at Morningside. He previously served as vocal director for the Le Mars Community High School and director of music for the school district. He has conducted choral festivals throughout the state of Iowa and has toured Europe as both singer and conductor.
Morningside’s LKAM focuses on private instruction, monthly workshops, and performance classes for student musicians from beginner to high school. In partnership with the Sioux City Symphony, the academy also directs the symphony’s three youth orchestras as well as an Early String Program for beginning string players, ages four and up. The Youth Orchestras include the Youth Symphony, for the most advanced high school and college musicians; the Philharmonia, for middle school, high school, and advanced elementary school musicians; and the Symphonette, for beginning and intermediate violin, viola, cello, and bass players.