Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra members rehearse at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

“A four-day celebration of composer Ludwig van Beethoven at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will include two Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra performances of his monumental Ninth Symphony,” writes Peter Rosenbery in Friday’s (1/3) Southern Illinois University News. “The Feb. 18-19 performances in Shryock Auditorium will feature more than 200 artists, including four internationally recognized operatic soloists and six Southern Illinois choirs. The celebration will include the premiere of a specially commissioned English translation to the choral finale by Carl Lutes, an SIU Distinguished Alumnus and World War II veteran…. Edward Benyas, a professor in the SIU School of Music and director of orchestras … noted the choral finale is almost always sung in German but that he wanted this arrangement to be a bit different. ‘Since we are in the heart of America, and especially in light of today’s heated political divisions, I thought it more appropriate to sing this expression of the brotherhood of humankind in English,’ Benyas said…. Leading to the weekend’s symphony performances, two pre-symphony chamber music concerts … include the music of Beethoven, Austrian composer Franz Schubert, and American classical composer and pianist Florence Price.”