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IVSO announces winners of 2013 Young Performers Competition

The Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra has announced winners of the 2013 Young Performers Competition. They include:

Faith Sommer of Spring Valley, junior division winner

Faith Sommer is 12 years old and has been studying with Katie Roy for the past five and one-half years at the Music School in Oglesby. She is the daughter of William and Amy Sommer of Spring Valley. She is active as a violinist playing for family and friends, nursing homes, recitals and the city of Peru Maud Powell Arts Celebration in 2012.

Lydia Johnson of Ottawa, senior division winner

Lydia is the daughter of Tim and Linda Johnson of Ottawa. She is a 12th grade home-school student from Ottawa. She has studied flute with Sue Gillio for the past 11 years and participates in the Illinois Valley Flute Ensemble. She has participated in the Summer Flute Retreat for the past nine years performing on the masterclass of Gerald Carey. Additionally, she has participated in the IVSO Young Performers Competition the past four years and was the junor division first runner-up in 2009.

Rachel Hass of LaSalle, junior division first runner-up

Rachel Haas is an eighth-grade student at Dimmick Grade School in LaSalle. She is the daughter of Sid and Tracy Haas. She has played for the flute for the past eight years under the instruction of Sue Gillio at Music Suite 408 in Peru. She is a member of the Illinois Valley Flute Ensemble, Illinois Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra and has participated in the Summer Flute Retreat for the past five years.

Joannah Cisneros of Oglesby, junior division honorable mention

Joannah is the daughter of Debbie and Paul Cisneros of Oglesby. She is a seventh-grade student at Holy Family School and a member of the Oglesby Washington Band. She has studied flute with Sue Gillio at Music Suite 408 for the past three and one-half years. Additionally, she has studied piano for the past nine years with Anne Marie Olsen in Rockford. She is a member of the Illinois Valley Youth Symphony and was selected for the district IMEA Junior Band the past two years.

Hannah Bressner of Streator, senior division first runner-up

Hannah is the daughter of Jim and Holly Bressner of Streator and is a senior at Streator Township High School. She studies flute with Sue Gillio of Music Suite 408 in Peru and has been her student since the age of 4. She is a member of the Illinois Valley Flute Ensemble and performs at various community events, local festivals, churches and weddings throughout the Illinois Valley area with the group. Additionally, she was the IVSO Young Performer Competition senior division first runner-up in 2012 and the winner of the junior division in 2009 where she performed with the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Kailee McGillis of Toluca, senior division honorable mention

Kailee is 14 years old and resides in Toluca with her family. She has been playing the violin since she was 6 under the direction of many wonderful teachers. Some of her honors include solo performances at the University of Wiscons-Stevens Point, concert mistress for the Illinois Valley Youth Orchestra, (2009-2011), concert mistress for the Debut Orchestra for Chicago Youth Symphony, junior division winner of the 2010 IVSO Young Performers competition and the concerto winner of the Illinois Valley Youth Symphony in 2010. She currently performs with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and was selected to be a member of the Encore Chamber Orchestra that performed at the 2012 Ryder’s Cup.

Ryan Jensen of Princeton, senior division honorable mention

Ryan, a junior at Princeton High School, is the son of David and Christina Jensen. He has been playing piano for 14 years and has studied privately with Jeannie Brown for the last four years. He is a member of the Princeton High School band and participated in IMEA District 2 Festival Jazz Band his sophomore year. Additionally, he participated in IHSA Solo and Ensemble music contests the past two years. He performs with the IVCC Jazz Band and the praise band at Evangelical Covenant Church in Princeton.

The Young Performers Competition is held annually by the Illinois Valley Symphony for students in grades 6-12. Winners were selected by audition on Jan. 5 and will solo with the orchestra at the upcoming orchestra concert at 4 p.m. March 9 in the LaSalle-Peru High School auditorium. Admission to the concert is by season membership or individual ticket. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students (K-college with ID). Tickets may be purchased at the door or at

First runner-up winners Rachel Haas and Hannah Bressner, and honorable mentions winners Joannah Cisneros, Kailee McGillis and Ryan Jensen will perform at the IVSO Honors Recital at the Hegeler Carus Mansion from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15. The Hegeler Carus Mansion is handicapped accessible.

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