Glennis Nagel
Director, Media Communications, 308.865.8454

What began as an academic exercise for Justin Zeleski last spring ended up turning into a “Symphonet for Strings” and will open the Kearney Area Symphony Orchestra (KASO) tonight in the Fine Arts Recital Hall.

A senior music major from Grand Island, Zeleski first began playing with melodies on his mother’s keyboard in the fifth grade. In high school, he took a music theory class, and ended up writing a piece that was performed by the Grand Island Orchestra, but he said that the piece being played tonight is the first piece he’s “…willing to put his name on.”

The 7:30 p.m. concert will mark a first for the orchestra–the first time that KASO has performed an original student composition.

KASO director Dr. Ron Crocker said: “We have some gifted students at UNK who are not only writing music, but having their music performed.”

When Dr. Crocker saw Zeleski’s first section, a minuet, last spring, he told him that if he would write two more movements, KASO would perform it. Zeleski finished the two sections two months ago.

“It’s delightful,” Dr. Crocker said of the finished symphonet.

Zeleski, who plays bass in KASO, wrote the symphonet strictly for strings.

“I have more familiarity with the strings, which helps me get the feel I want as far as tone color and emotion,” Zeleski said.

When the concert opens tonight there will actually be two Zeleski’s playing. Justin’s brother Paul, a UNK physics major, will be playing cello.

The remainder of the program will feature holiday selections, including Tchaikovsky Suite No. 1 from The Nutcracker, and an audience sing-along with the Nebraskats.

UNK students, faculty and staff as well as youth, high school age and younger, are admitted free. General admission is $6; senior citizens, $5.