Violinist, Mariah Saban Rice, of Palos Park, has been selected to perform at the Ravinia Festival on Wednesday, July 10. (Supplied photo)

Violinist, Mariah Saban Rice, of Palos Park, has been selected to perform at the Ravinia Festival on Wednesday, July 10. (Supplied photo)

Palos Park teen violinist invited to perform at Ravinia Festival

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By Kelly White

A Palos Park teenager who is a member of the Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra has been invited to perform at next week’s prestigious Ravinia Festival.

Violinist, Mariah Saban Rice, 13, of Palos Park, is one of three south suburban musicians invited to attend and perform at the National Seminario Ravinia at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park on Wednesday, July 10.

Performing with Rice will be SYSO student, Carolyn Canty, of Park Forest, and a private violin student of Brian Ostrega.

“Both have been selected from Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra based on skill, outstanding progress, and their commitment to Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra,” Janet Kuester, SYSO Board President, said.

For over 50 years, Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra has brought meaningful, quality musical experiences to its members.

Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra welcomes students at any level, from beginner to advanced to improve their skills and improve their musicianship through participation in ensembles designed to allow them to learn, rehearse, and perform with their peers.

Following a successful inaugural year in 2023, Ravinia and its Reach Teach Play programs hosted the second National Seminario Ravinia, with a culminating performance presented as part of the 2024 Ravinia Festival season.

Ravinia’s Reach Teach Play education programs serve thousands of young people across the Chicago area each year.

National Seminario Ravinia extends the vision of Reach Teach Play to open doors where everyone can access and experience the positive impact of music and create pathways for continued success.

This international orchestral performance will feature students from 42 participating organizations and come from 18 U.S. states, Mexico, Canada, Greece, and Sweden. Students will perform Finlandia, by Sibelius, a John Williams collection of movie music, and an original composition by Brian Nabors.

During the evening concert on July 10, the Seminario students will perform multiple pieces side-by-side with the National Orchestral Institute + Festival (NOI+F) musicians, led by Alsop and Lead Seminario Conductor Jessica Altarriba, as well as one work on their own with Altarriba conducting.

Rice will begin rehearsals, workshops, and social activities on July 7 before the big performance night on July 10. She said she loves playing the violin and is thrilled to have the opportunity to play with other students in an international orchestra this summer.

“To me, I think being selected to be a part of the National Seminario Ravinia means that I am both appreciated and honored for being able to play music for others and doing well at it,” Mariah, 13, said.

Rice, who studied privately with Kuester, began playing the violin at the young age of 6. She has loved the instrument ever since she first picked it up and only wanted to continue to hone in on her skills over the years.

Her musical spark developed right within her own family.

“My musical inspiration came from my grandpa who told me that I needed music in my life because it will give me opportunities,” Mariah said.

In the future, Mariah aspires to attend a well-accredited college with an exceptional music program and eventually gradate to work either in the medical or business world. However, she wants to forever keep music in her life.

“No matter what, I want music to stay a part of my life,” she said.

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