IBLA World Tour to make stop in Batesville May 1 at Lyon College

Published By:Ginger Smith Date:

IBLA World Tour to make stop in Batesville May 1 at Lyon College (Posted by Ginger Smith)

IBLA World Tour to make stop in Batesville May 1 at Lyon College


NEW YORK, NY – Batesville has been chosen as a host city for the annual IBLA World Tour, a prestigious and internationally known group of classical musicians, singers and composers.


The group will perform at public schools during the day on May 1, and then hold a free performance for the public at 6:30 p.m. that same day at Brown Chapel on the Lyon College Campus.


The City of Batesville is presenting the event with sponsorship from Citizens Bank and First Community Bank.


This will be the second year for Batesville to be chosen. Sherman Banks, an Arkansas native, is the vice president of the IBLA Foundation, and largely responsible for the group’s stop in this state, along with the mayor of Batesville, Rick Elumbaugh.


“IBLA offers Arkansas audiences the unique opportunity to hear remarkable and recognized world-class international jazz and classic pianists, singers, accordionists, trombone, and percussionists from Georgia, Italy, Poland, Japan, and the USA,” said Banks, IBLA Foundation VP and Jurist.


IBLA World Tour group changes each year, per the results of a qualifying competition called the IBLA Grand Prize. Musicians from around the globe compete in the internationally recognized festival held in Ragusa-Ibla, Italy – a United Nations Heritage Site for which the competition and touring group is named.


This year’s winners include competitors from the countries of Japan, Georgia, Italy and Poland.


Winners then go on to perform on a world tour in such prestigious venues as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York, The Tokyo Opera City Hall, and Tchaikovsky Bolshoi Hall in Moscow and in other prestigious venues in Canada, Europe, Russia and the United States.


The IBLA Winners performing here will include the three top prize winners as well as Grand Prize Winners of the “Most Distinguished Musician” award in the IBLA competition:


1st Place Top Prize Winner, Trombonist Kojiro Fujihara (Japan) – Fujihara has performed throughout Japan and Europe.  He is currently the top trombonist at the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra and recently Fujihara is involved in performance of theme music of movies and is considered to the most promising performer in Japan.


Top Prize Winner, Pianist Elia Cecino (Italy) – Elia is sixteen and begin studying piano in 2009.  From 2012 he has attended and won numerous master classes with eminent pedagogues and pianists.  In 2013 he was finalist with 2nd prize with scholarship to fame Caesar Franck International Piano competition in Bruxelles; again in 2015 he was selected for the Aartus International Piano Competition in Denmark.

Top Prize Winner, Accordionist Michal Gajda & Pianist Julia Wolanska (Poland) – Husband and wife 2012 graduated summa cum laude from Poznan Academy of Music.  Recitals have as soloists, chamber musicians (Trio New harmony, New Poznan Accordion/Piano duo) in Poland, Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Slovakia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy, and Sicily. 24

Mario Assenza, Baritone (Italy) – Mario is 20 years of age and began his studying opera at the age of sixteen at the academy of “Giuseppe Verdi.”  He has participated in several events of various kinds to include “The sacred oleographs exposure” to space culture”.  In his short career he performed in venues throughout Italy and Sicily.

Francesco Barone, Giulia Lo Giudice, & Gaspare Renna, Trikos Trio, Percussionist (Italy):  – The Trio are young musicians studying at the Conservatory “V Bellini” of Palermo.  In their music they are exploiting the potential of their inclinations, perfectly adherent to the exploration of the most unusual timbre percussive resources.  They are directed to a repertoire from minimalism of Philip Glass to the eastern repertoire of Keiko Abe, from life to the contemporary representation of the sound capable to rediscover the “pure rhythm”, almost tribal, as the primordial and irreplaceable element of the music.

Tamara Licheli, Piano (Georgia): – Tamara is a prize winner of numerous national and international competitions.  Among such competitions are Georgian musicians’ competition (Georgia), Ettlingen international competition (Germany), Gottingen Chopin international competition (Germany), Marco-Polo international competition (Greece), Bradshaw & Bruno international competition (USA).  She performs as a soloist as well as a member of chamber ensembles.  Tamara is an author of a book “Tengiz Amirejibi” the famous Georgian pianist and teacher.  She is an Associate Professor of Tbilisi State Conservatory and founder/artistic director of Tengiz Amirejibi International Music Festival (Tbilisi, Georgia).

Kyoko Harada, Piano Accompanist (Japan):  – In 2002 Kyoko at the 41st Beethoven International Competition (Czech/Hradec) she won the most excellent Accompanist award, and Beethoven sonata award and Martinu sonata award.  She has served as the official accompanist of contests at home and abroad and training sessions.


The performance is being sponsored by First Community Bank and Citizens Bank, and will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Brown Chapel, Lyon College. It is free and open to the public.

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Ginger Smith joined OGTC a couple of years ago as a volunteer, and has lived in this area since 1972 when she moved to be near her parents, the late Doss and Vivian Burgess. Her late father was Independence County Appraiser and any time family, whether kids or grand kids, came to visit for even a short time, he would take them to A.D. Hill’s grocery store, and get them a soda pop and candy bar, see the talking bird there, and end up “checking out the great White River.” All the kids and grands have played on the banks there, picnicked, and played on the old train. Ginger is adamant, since she moved to Batesville, there is just no other place to raise a family. Her love for the area and desire to help promote it in her professional capacity led her to seek volunteering, and Charlie Morris, whom she met when she was a typesetter at the Daily Guard Newspaper, put her in touch with Cathy Drew, Executor Director of OGTC. She has been on board since then and says she has loved everything she has done and is proud to represent North Central Arkansas.
The last 20 years of her employment she worked for the late County Judge David Wyatt, West Elementary School Principal Jerry Harris, and Circuit Clerk Claudia Nobles and Judge John Kemp. At the Guard Office she says she made friends for a life time, and then the West Elementary teachers, students, and their families grew close to her forever. Her last job she was hired in a newly created position to collect felony fines and restitution. She was so proud that after three years she more than tripled the annual revenues that she retired! Her part-time retirement job was with the ortho docs, Drs. Allen and Angel where she also met many people from all over the area, and made another set of new friends! She is a published writer and has also written feature articles for the Batesville Guard TV Guide and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
She has a daughter, Misty Long Sparks, son-in-law Dloyd Sparks, and three grands, Dalton Lee, Victoria Lynn and Anna Rose, and says they are her greatest joys on earth. Her late husband, Ken Smith, was the Batesville Postmaster.
Totally retired now, Ginger offers her time and writing abilities to OGTC as she travels around the state and visits with so many nice folks, writes reviews, and tries to be a worthy representative for Ozark Gateway Tourism. She is a people person who really cares for all God has blessed us with in our beautiful state of Arkansas in the United States of America.