January 23, 2014 at 2:45pm
The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra (MDSO) will perform its annual "Young Artists" Concert featuring two Millikin University undergrads as soloists on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Kirkland Fine Arts Center on Millikin University's campus.

The performance will showcase winners from the Millikin School of Music Concerto/Aria Competition. This year's honorees are Chelsea Wright (mezzo-soprano), a senior vocal performance major from Bloomington, Ill., and Adam Blakey (alto saxophone), a senior music performance major from Decatur, Ill.

The concert will open with Mozart's overture to "The Marriage of Figaro." The program will continue with Mozart's "Non so più" followed by Saint-Saëns' "Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix" featuring soloist Chelsea Wright. Adam Blakey will be the featured soloist in a performance of Glazunov's "Concerto in E-Flat." The concert will also highlight Copland's "Variations on a Shaker Melody" featuring the Decatur Youth Symphony Orchestra with the Millikin University String Arts Ensemble. Following an intermission, the concert will conclude with a performance of Bizet's "Symphony in C Major."

"There are only two 'Young Artists' soloists this year, instead of the more normal three or four, so as you might expect they are of extraordinary quality, the real cream of the crop," said Dr. Michael Luxner, music director for the MDSO. "Chelsea Wright brings her rich mezzo-soprano voice to two very complementary arias '€“ Cherubino's youthfully exuberant in-love-with-love 'Non so più' from Mozart's 'Marriage of Figaro,' and the more mature sensuality of Delilah's 'Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix' from 'Samson and Delilah' by Saint-Saëns. Adam Blakey, a two-time winner of the competition that generates the 'Young Artist' soloists, plays the brilliant Glazunov 'Concerto' for his return engagement."

Furthermore, Dr. Mark Samples, Millikin assistant professor of music, will present a concert preview on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 6:45 p.m. in Kirkland Lecture Room 128 prior to the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra's "Young Artists" Concert. The event is free to concert attendees.


Chelsea Wright has studied and performed classical Italian repertoire in such locations as Piobbico, Italy. Her choral experience includes a performance at Carnegie Hall with the Millikin University Choir, of which she is a third-year member. Chelsea is also a fourth-year member of the Opera Workshop program at Millikin, featured in this month's production of "Suor Angelica" as the Principessa. After Millikin, Chelsea plans to pursue a graduate vocal performance degree in Europe. She has studied voice with Frances Daniels for the past four years.

Adam Blakey has been studying saxophone with Dr. Perry Rask, Millikin professor of music, for seven years, beginning on a scholarship from the Symphony Orchestra Guild. He is a Decatur native and a graduate of MacArthur High School where he played in the nationally acclaimed Jazz Band I for three years. While in high school, Adam was also a member of the Decatur Youth Symphony where he was a featured soloist on saxophone, and a participant in various IMEA District and All-State festivals.
At Millikin, Adam plays lead alto saxophone in Jazz I, and soprano saxophone in the top saxophone quartet, which won the Band Concerto Competition in spring 2012. He also played for Millikin's OneVoice and Latin Jazz Project. In 2013, Adam won the Band Concerto Competition and was named a Presser Scholar.

Tickets are $13-$16.50 and are available through the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at www.kirklandfinearts.com. Box Office hours are Monday '€“ Friday from 10 a.m. '€“ 5 p.m. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Box Office orders.

Concerts of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Symphony Guild of Decatur.