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IVSO to perform in Princeton

Susan Nelson and Lucia Matos
Susan Nelson and Lucia Matos

PRINCETON — The Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra will help ring in the holiday season with a Christmas concert in Princeton.

The Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra (IVSO) will perform its holiday concert at 4 p.m. Dec. 8 in the Sally Skinner Council auditorium at Princeton High School.

The orchestra will be directed by Lucia Matos, an internationally-renowned conductor who has served as music director of the IVSO for the past three seasons.

Guest soloist for the concert will be Princeton native Susan Nelson. A graduate of Princeton High School, Nelson will perform several holiday classics including “Silent Night,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and Bach’s “Christmas Cantata 133.”

On Monday, Nelson said she’s looking forward to being part of the symphony’s first concert in Princeton. It’s a great opportunity for people who wouldn’t normally travel to Peru to have the Christmas concert brought to them, she said.

On a personal note, Nelson said she hasn’t sung on the PHS stage since she graduated from high school. She’s now based in Chicago, though she has traveled and performed quite a bit. She has just returned from performing in an opera in Delaware.

Nelson said she’s looking forward to the Dec. 8 concert. Concert-goers will get a little taste of what she does in her “normal life.” She loves classical music but also likes to explore more contemporary music as well. When she sings “Silent Night,” as she will on Dec. 8, the memories will be of her childhood in Princeton, she said.

Princeton Mayor Keith Cain will also be on hand at the Dec. 8 concert to narrate the holiday classic “Twas The Night Before Christmas.”

On Tuesday, Cain said he’s excited to have the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra come to the Princeton community. The Dec. 8 concert will be the first time the symphony orchestra has ever come to Princeton, the mayor said.

Princeton is part of the Illinois Valley area, and there are several Princeton residents who perform with the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra, Cain said, adding the Dec. 8 concert will be a great way to enjoy the holiday season.

“This is a great opportunity. It’s another piece of art which is coming to Princeton and which will enhance the Christmas spirit for everyone,” Cain said.

Ken Grams of Princeton describes himself as a proud resident of Princeton and an IVSO Board member. When he went on the IVSO Board several years ago, he learned the orchestra had never come to Princeton in its 63-year history, even though Princeton is part of the Illinois Valley area and is a big arts community, Grams said.

“The IVSO coming to this side of the Illinois Valley is great for both Princeton and the neighboring communities,” Grams said. “I hope this becomes a long-term, win-win relationship with IVSO being able to entertain and inspire the community, while Princeton can continue setting the stage as a destination for the arts.”

Tickets for the Dec. 8 IVSO Christmas concert are available at Heartland Bank and Trust Co., the Princeton Chamber of Commerce, online at the IVSO website — www.ivso.org, and at the door. Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for students kindergarten through college with an ID, and season subscribers.

The Dec. 8 concert is sponsored by season sponsor Central Radio Group, Heartland Bank and Trust Co., the city of Princeton and Princeton Tourism and Visitor Bureau. The concert is sponsored in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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