Local musicians are coming together in Streator for the third consecutive year to provide lessons to aspiring high school musicians and free concerts for the public.
Poco a Poco is scheduled Sunday, June 9, through Saturday, June 15, and will feature performances from a faculty made of professional singers and instructors along with students, before it closes with performances from a choir made of festival attendees and another from the community.
Applications are due online by Friday, March 1, and auditions will take place in Streator on Thursday, March 14, and Saturday March 16, with Bloomington auditions taking place Friday, March 15. Go to pocoapoco.org to apply.
Streator native and professional singer Kate Tombaugh founded the music festival in 2017 to give back to the community she calls home.
“There’s a lot of great talent and great people here,” Tombaugh said. “(Poco a Poco) turned into this huge multi-collaborative endeavor for me and the town.”
Students traveled from 12 school districts across Illinois and Kentucky for last year’s festival, while the staff is made up of professionals spanning several states.
“I know our staff is talented and they’re great role models who are passionate about education,” Tombaugh said. “We just want to keep building with what we learn each year.”
Tombaugh said the program aims to help bolster local choir programs by providing the type of training not normally available in smaller towns. Every student will receive private voice lessons along with attending the classes offered.
“There’s a lot of interest in vocal and choral training like this, and the program is working quite well,” Tombaugh said. “There are fantastic teachers working with these kids day in and day out, but the students grow so much in their week with us. It’s such a positive force for students in the area."
The first concert will take place Monday, June 10, at Park Presbyterian Church before the faculty performs at 7 p.m. on June 11. Students will perform for the first time 7 p.m. Thursday, June 13.
The students and the faculty will perform together on the final day of the festival in a free concert at Park Presbyterian.
For more information on Poco a Poco, go to facebook.com/pocoapocoarts/ or pocoapoco.org