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PMSA Student to Perform Solo at Chicago Symphony Center

Russell Kerns is a senior at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy. He has a 3.9 G.P.A. and scored a 32 on his ACT exam. Russell plays golf and tennis at Proviso West High School. He also plays the saxophone as a member of PMSA’s orchestra. That is how he was offered the opportunity of a lifetime—a chance to play solo at Chicago’s famous Symphony Center, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

On May 16th Russell will perform on the big stage during Merit School of Music’s 2011 MeritFest. Though he has been playing the saxophone since 6th grade, Russell says this performance is something special.

“This is going to be the most important thing I’ve done in my life so far,” said Russell. “Not a lot of saxophonists get to play there because the saxophone isn’t an orchestral instrument. The Symphony is also one of the most important music halls in the world.”

When asked how he became such a musical star, Russell says it all began at PMSA.

“If I didn’t come to PMSA, I wouldn’t be in the music program,” said Russell. “I wouldn’t be able to have this experience. My music teacher here, Mr. Tracy, encouraged me to apply at the Merit School of Music. That was when I got serious about it.”

Russell has been one of the program’s shining stars ever since. He was recently accepted to the Northwestern University Saxophone Program—which is one of the top in the nation. He continues to play with Merit and at PMSA. MeritFest presents another opportunity for Russell to make his mark.

“I am a musician and I have never performed at the Symphony Center,” said Kurtis Gildow, the Director of Instrumental Music at Merit. “This is a huge deal.  The Symphony Center and orchestra hall is one of the greatest venues in the world. There will probably be a crowd of two to three thousand people that day. Russell will perform a very high level piece. It’s a really great opportunity and we’re excited that he can do it.”

MeritFest is an annual two-day spring celebration of the accomplishments of Merit students.  Russell began learning the concert pieces with his Merit teachers in January.  During MeritFest, Russell will join musical forces and peers from all over Chicago and Northwest Indiana to perform enchanting musical works in a large ensemble.

Congratulations Russell! You are a vital part of Proviso Rising.

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