School of Music showcases talent

By Kristen Levine, @KLevine_DE

A small program with large talent, the School of Music prepares emerging artists, educators and industry professionals for today’s market.

The School of Music will host the SIU Music Showcase at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Luther F. Carson Center for Performing Arts in Paducah, Ky. The showcase will include musical and theater performances from members of the university.

Eric Lenz, an associate cello professor, is excited to promote the diversity of options within the school of music and the university at the showcase


“The showcase event is an opportunity for SIU to connect with alumni and prospective students in one of the regional cornerstone communities closest to our own,” Lenz said.

Lenz, who has served as principal cello for the Paducah Symphony since 2008, said several school of music faculty members perform regularly at the Carson Center with the Paducah Symphony.

Jose Guzman, from Ponce, Puerto Rico, a second-year graduate student in theory and composition/guitar performance, will perform in the jazz orchestra, which he has been preparing for since August.

Guzman began playing the guitar 17 years ago on Three Kings Day, a main Puerto Rican holiday in January that marks the biblical adoration of Jesus Christ.

“When I was little, I received a guitar on Three Kings Day. Ever since then, I’ve been playing the guitar,” Guzman said.

The most difficult part for preparing a showcase is communication between colleagues, time accuracy and understanding, and knowing different genres, Guzman said.

“From my personal standpoint, the hardest part for any upcoming show is getting to know the different genres that you aren’t usually used to playing,” Guzman said.


Although preparation has taken its toll, Guzman said he is thrilled to represent his school and country.

Isaac Lausell, a guitar professor and showcase performer, has played the guitar for 30 years. He will conduct for the guitar orchestra and be a feature soloist in two pieces at the showcase.

“This showcase is about showing the community the different aspects for what these students can offer,” Lausell said.

Even though the music program at the university is small, Lausell said students in the showcase will gain experience putting on a well-structured performance.

“When we get on a bus, go to a different state, play on a stage with a big audience, the students get a real life experience of what the music world is,” Lausell said. “Increase the craft and get better.”

Kristen Levine can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @KLevine_DE