19th Annual Southern Illinois Music Festival delights Cairo residents with diverse music selections

CAIRO, Ill. (KBSI) – The vibrant atmosphere at the Harold S. Jones Arts Center in Cairo came alive Monday night as the 19th Annual Southern Illinois Music Festival kicked off, showcasing a variety of musical genres to captivate both residents of Cairo and neighboring areas. 

Harold S. Jones, the owner of the Harold S. Jones Fine Arts Center, expressed his enthusiasm for the event, emphasizing its role in introducing the community to a wide range of musical styles.  

“Our mission is to embrace the full spirit of cultural diversity, bringing all art forms to this particular location,” Jones shared. 

Themed “Hidden Gems” for the 2023 edition, the Southern Illinois Music Festival presents an eclectic mix of orchestral and chamber music, opera, and jazz performances. 

Charles Shapera, principal bassoonist, highlighted the festival’s significance in providing an experience that might otherwise be inaccessible to southern Illinois residents. “Down here in southern Illinois, that’s just not the case.  

“We bring our art, skills, and passion for music to a place where it’s harder for people to hear,” Shapera explained. 

Recognizing the limited opportunities for cultural experiences in the Southern Illinois area, Harold S. Jones opens the doors of the arts center to host the festival while also initiating other community-centered events.  

Alongside the music festival, the center offers music lessons, training, and a Jazz Festival held annually on Labor Day weekend at Fort Defiance Park. 

Additionally, this year marked the inaugural arts and craft fair during Memorial Day weekend, showcasing the center’s commitment to cultural development in the region. 

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