John Frayne: Harping about summer music events
"Summertime, and the living is easy," they sing in "Porgy and Bess," but it is not so easy to find classical music concerts in Champaign-Urbana after the spring semester of the University of Illinois ends in early May.
In the last weeks of the semester, every ensemble and soloist wants to give a concert, but then "Pouf!" ... everyone disappears.
Well, not everyone.
Just when musical hunger pangs set in, the sound of the lovely harp is heard on the UI campus.
This weekend, as in previous years, the Illinois Summer Harp Class is offering a series of free public concerts.
Starting things off, Ann McLaughlin, harpist, will give a Doctor of Musical Arts recital at 7:30 tonight in Smith Recital Hall.
At noon Friday, Molly O'Roark, harpist, performs in Smith Hall in the Memorial Room on the second floor. Also Friday, Claire Happel, harpist, will give a Doctor of Musical Arts recital with Philip Alejo, double bass, at 7:30 p.m. in Smith Recital Hall.
Rounding out the Summer Harp Class activities will be two recitals in the Music Building Auditorium on Saturday. At 2 p.m., young talents will perform, and at 7:30 p.m. participants in the class will perform.
At 7 p.m. June 19, the UI Summer Band will play on the UI Quad. Last year, on a lovely evening, a large crowd came and greatly enjoyed the band's selections. Bring lawn chairs. It's a family friendly event. Young kids roam freely about, sometimes dancing to the music.
On June 15, the first Illinois Summer Youth Music (ISYM) begins, and beginning at 10 a.m. on June 21, all sorts of free musical events will take place in Smith Hall, in the Foellinger Great Hall at the Krannert Center, and in the Music Building Auditorium.
I recommend particularly the Senior Concert Band, at 10 a.m. in the Foellinger Great Hall, and the Senior Orchestra at 11:30 a.m. in the same hall.
The second Illinois ISYM begins June 22, and the third ISYM begins July 6. For details of ongoing concerts of the Summer Youth Music, you can find details on the UI School of Music calendar at music.illinois.edu/events_and_performances.
Two concerts will be given in July in connection with the UI School of Music's Summer Piano Institute.
At 7:30 p.m. June 23, pianists Ian Hobson and Boaz Sharon will perform, and at 7:30 p.m. July 25 there will be the final Gala Recital. Both events are in Smith Recital Hall.
The Urbana Pops Orchestra will be active this summer.
The group's first concert, "Sounds of Adventure," will be given at 7 p.m. Saturday in Urbana High School Auditorium. Guest vocalist Tim Schmidt will join the orchestra.
There is an admission charge for this event.
But the next concert by this orchestra — at 7 p.m. July 5 — is a free event entitled "Made in the USA."
This event will also be at the Urbana High School auditorium.
John Frayne hosts "Classics of the Phonograph" on Saturdays at WILL-FM and, in retirement, teaches at the University of Illinois. He can be reached at email@example.com.