George StellutoConductor
The BraziLionaires
Todd KellyTrumpet
Marisa BuchheitSoprano
Roger GarrettClarinet
Kate LewisViola
7:00pm lobby
7:30pm start
9:30pm Romance After Party
Peoria Civic Center Theater
201 SW Jefferson Ave
Peoria, Illinois 61602
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The evening begins with a romantic concerto by Bruch, followed by the sizzling sounds of The BraziLionaires.

Join us in the lobby after the concert for our annual Romance After Party, featuring Nathan Taylor & Friends!

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Single tickets now on sale.

Bruch: Concerto for Clarinet and Viola
Villa-Lobos, musical conception by G. Stelluto: Saudades de Clara! (on Melodia Sentimental)
Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5
Hamilton: Concerto for Jazz Trumpet
The Brazilionaires: A Latin Romance0

Small bites, including cheese plates, and drinks will be available to purchase.

Program Notes

About The BraziLionaires

The BraziLionaires’ music is an exciting blend of pop & jazz infused with sizzling Latin rhythms. Originally formed in Peoria, Illinois in 2012 by guitarist/songwriter “Rico” Wayne Johnson and lead vocalist Dove Benoit, the group has developed a strong following with their unique Latin fusion sound and dynamic stage show.

The compositions of Johnson and Benoit display a unique intermingling of influences. Leaving the Midwest for California after high school, Johnson auditioned and was accepted at GIT, the renown performing arts school for professional musicians in Los Angeles. While in LA, he joined a Latin ensemble and fell in love with this genre of music. (He was given the nickname “Rico” because it was a little easier to pronounce than “Wayne” for the native Spanish speakers). Among the varied musical influences that Rico lists are Brazilian Bossa Nova, Salsa & Afro-Cuban, Mexican pop and mariachi, and Spanish flamenco. He also admires the prodigious pop songwriters like Lennon & McCartney, the songsmiths of the Tin Pan Alley era, as well as some of the great Nashville-based writers.

Benoit, a Sacramento California native, comes from a classical and jazz background. She studied classical piano throughout her childhood and sang in chorale and jazz chorus ensembles in college at California Berkeley and the University of Vermont. Her main singing influences are the jazz legends such as Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Etta James, as well as pop songbirds like Adele and Nora Jones. She has also been impacted by operatic singers, like Andrea Bocelli.

The BraziLionaires first album, “Algo Diferente” (Something Different), has garnered stellar reviews and received air play rotation on radio stations in the US and Europe. Their music can be heard on streaming sites like Pandora, Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify. The band is currently finishing up their second studio album, “Proximo”, due out in mid-2018. Rico and Dove are living in Nashville these days but have maintained their stellar cast of Central Illinois musicians that include:

  • Tom Marko, Dir of Jazz Studies, Illinois State University (drums)
  • Todd Kelly, Dir of Jazz Ensembles, Bradley University (trumpet, flugelhorn)
  • Andy Crawford, Instructor of Jazz, Knox College (upright & electric bass)
  • Jim Curless (tenor saxophone)
  • Jose Reyes (congas, percussion)

About Todd Kelly

Dr. Todd Kelly is Professor of Trumpet and Director of Jazz Ensembles at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Dr. Kelly teaches trumpet, directs the Bradley Jazz Ensembles and Jazz Combos, teaches Jazz Improvisation, and serves as an advisor for the Music Business program.

Dr. Kelly maintains a busy performing schedule in the Central Illinois area with the BraziLionaires, the Todd Kelly Jazz Quintet, the Central Illinois Jazz Orchestra, Four Other Brothers, JC and the Redemption, Inner Light, and as a freelance jazz and classical musician. He has toured throughout the United States with Indian tabla artist Sandip Burman. He has also performed with Wayne Newton, Jerry Lewis, Charo, the Fifth Dimension, Lesley Gore, Steve Lippia, Mannheim Steamroller, and the national touring companies of Hairspray, Wicked, Mary Poppins, The Rat Pack is Back, Billy Elliot, Chicago, White Christmas, Kinky Boots, and The Book of Mormon. He is an artist/clinician for Conn/Selmer in Elkhart, Indiana. He and his wife Kirsten are the proud parents of Connor and Maren.

About Marisa Buchheit

Marisa Buchheit is an operatic soprano hailing from Chicago. She has performed on stages around the world in opera productions, concerts, and musicals. Recent highlights include solo performances with the Elgin and Peoria Symphony Orchestras, as well as National Anthem performances for the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs, DePaul Blue Demons, and the Chicago Air & Water Show. Most recently, Marisa made her role debut as the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with the Southern Illinois Music Festival. She has performed the roles of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, the Page/Gilda understudy in Rigoletto, Venus in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Julie in Carousel, Maria in West Side Story, and Liesl in The Sound of Music, with companies such as Wichita Grand Opera, Tuscia Opera Festival in Italy, American Chamber Opera, DePaul Opera Theatre, and CIM Opera Theatre. Marisa was proud to represent her state at Miss America as Miss Illinois 2014. She also represented her city as Miss Chicago in 2012 & 2014. Marisa earned her Master’s Degree in Opera at DePaul University with Distinction and her Bachelor’s Degree with Academic Honors and a German minor from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She is co-founder of soprano trio “Très Belle,” and is also an arts advocate and private vocal instructor. Marisa is thrilled to be returning to perform with Maestro Stelluto and the Peoria Symphony for the 2019-2020 season and the Romance concert!

About Roger Garrett

Mr. Garrett has been the Clarinet Professor and Director of the Symphonic Winds at Illinois Wesleyan University since 1988 where he has also taught conducting and instrumental music education. As Director of the Titan Band for eleven years, he was responsible for creating the work study program and student conducting program that is still being used with that ensemble.

Mr. Garrett graduated from the University of Michigan where he earned a Bachelors and Masters of Music Education. His conducting teachers include H. Robert Reynolds, Elizabeth Green, Carl St. Clair, and Donald Schleicher. Prior to his graduate studies, Mr. Garrett taught instrumental music in the public schools in Longview, WA, and Bozeman, MT.

Mr. Garrett has studied clarinet with nationally known clarinetists David Shifrin, Herbert Blayman, John Mohler, Stan Stanford, and Chicago Symphony Clarinetist John Yeh. He has also studied bass clarinet with Chicago Symphony bass clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom and Oliver Green, former bass clarinetist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. A former member of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra as well as former principal clarinetist of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, Mr. Garrett is currently Principal Clarinetist of the Peoria Symphony in Peoria, IL, a position he has held since 1993. In 1997, Mr. Garrett was honored by Buffet Corporation, the famous makers of professional clarinets, by accepting their offer to become a Buffet Performing Artist.  Asked this year to endorse the Yamaha Bb and A Clarinets, Mr. Garrett performs in the Peoria Symphony on both instruments.

Mr. Garrett has published several arrangements and editions for both clarinet ensembles and the band medium. His works for clarinet ensembles are featured on his CD entitled Extended Clarinets! and includes members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Oregon Symphony Orchestra performing with him. His editions for Wind Ensembles include Three Marches for Harmoniemusik by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Adagio and Polonaise for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble by Bernhard Heinrich Crusell. Additionally, he is responsible for the full score edition of Music for A Festival by Gordon Jacob, published by Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.

Mr. Garrett is known internationally for his custom made clarinet and bass clarinet mouthpieces available throughout the United States and Europe. Additionally, his wooden reed cases for oboes, bassoons, and clarinets are available in stores across the United States and are featured at international online retailers such as Forrests Music. His custom conducting batons are used by students and professionals all over the world.

About Katherine Lewis

Appointed as Peoria Symphony Orchestra principal violist in 2006, Katherine Lewis enjoys a multi-faceted career as a teacher, chamber musician, solo performer, and orchestral musician. She is currently Associate Professor of Viola at Illinois State University where she also serves as Master Teacher for the ISU String Project. In addition to her work with the Peoria Symphony, she regularly performs with several ensembles at venues throughout central Illinois, including the Peoria Bach Festival and Trinity Concert Series. Her previous orchestral appointments include the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston, Texas and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, as well as extensive work with the Houston and New World Symphonies.

Heavily involved in service to the profession, Dr. Lewis was elected in 2018 as president of the Illinois chapter of the American String Teachers Association; she has been a board member of this organization for over 10 years. In this capacity, she helps provide resources and facilitates programming for string teachers of all levels and their students and advocates for public and private string programs throughout the state. Keenly interested in music education of all types, Dr. Lewis has recently started a concert series at ISU called “Redbird Musical Adventures” aimed at providing quality live music experiences at no cost to children in Bloomington-Normal and surrounding areas.

A recipient of several awards and grants for her teaching and research, including the ISU College of Fine Arts Outstanding Teaching Award and the ISU College of Fine Arts Research Initiative Award, Dr. Lewis has given recitals, presentations, and master classes at venues throughout the country.  She is sought after as a guest artist for ‘Viola Day’ events and is the Creative Director of the Chicago Viola Festival.

Dr. Lewis earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and also holds degrees from Lawrence University and The Cleveland Institute of Music. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, PSO principal trombonist Mark Babbitt and their two young children.

Concert Sponsors & Underwriters

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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This season was made possible, in part, by leadership gifts from:
Peoria Symphony Foundation Soderstrom Skin Institute Illinois Arts Council Agency
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