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DeKalb High School string quartet to play with ABBA tribute act

DeKALB – Four dedicated DeKalb High School musicians will join a professional ABBA cover band on stage next week at the Egyptian Theatre.

The DeKalb High School Quartet, which includes Devin Snow, Betsy Benisek, Jordan Weiss and Reilly Farrell, will perform three songs with “The ABBA Show” on Nov. 6.

Snow, a sophomore who has been playing the cello for five years, said his mom was excited when he told her. She bought tickets for the whole family.

“As soon as she found out, she made sure hers and everyone else’s schedules were clear so they could hear me play, which is really cool,” he said.

Snow also is excited to play with the band, even though he’s not someone who regularly listens to ABBA, unlike a couple of his fellow high school musicians.

Benisek, who plays the viola, and Weiss, who is second violin, are ABBA fans.

“I am very familiar with ABBA,” Benisek, 16, said. “I love ‘Honey Honey’ and ‘Dancing Queen.’”

“My sister and I always listen to them,” Weiss, 16, said. “I like ‘Mamma Mia.’”

The four talented high schoolers have a combined 32 years of musical experience.

Farrell, 15, has been playing violin for 11 years. The sophomore is a member of the Northern Illinois University Youth Sinfonia and the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

He has competed at local solo and ensemble festivals and is a member of DHS’s Tri-M Music Honors Society. He wants to pursue a career in music composition after high school.

Weiss also has been playing violin for 11 years. She is a member of NIU Sinfonia and is in the Stage Coach pit orchestra. She has received honors at local solo and ensemble festivals, including Best of Day.

The junior is a member of DHS’s badminton team and also volunteers with Feed My Starving Children and at the NIU Community Gardens. She plans to attend NIU to study music theory with the goal of being a private violin instructor.

Benisek has been playing viola for five years and has competed at local solo and ensemble festivals where she has received honors.

The junior enjoys participating in the Engineering, Math and Science Academy at Kishwaukee College and plans to attend NIU to major in mathematics.

Snow, 15, is a member of the NIU Youth Sinfonia and has competed in the DeKalb High School Solo and Ensemble Festival.

He is a member of the Scholastic Bowl and Math team at DHS and volunteers through the Key Club at DeKalb High. He plans to study engineering in college.

Sheila Felder, orchestra instructor at DeKalb High School, said this is the first time the quartet has played with a professional band.

“It’s great to see students have the opportunity,” Felder said. “They’ll learn not only how to play the music, but how the whole performance comes together.”

She said the school’s reputation helped it get noticed by the band’s booking agent.

“I think we work on excelling in all areas, including choir, band and orchestra,” Felder said.

She said music is essential in children’s education.

“They learn not only about music, but they learn how to be team players,” Felder said.

“The ABBA Show” is a tribute act that has played throughout Europe, Australia and in South Africa. The show consists of songs, a live backing band, costume changes and choreographed dance routines.

The DHS students will join the band for the songs “Honey Honey,” “If It Wasn’t for the Night,” and “Slipping Through my Fingers.”

Jeanine Holcomb, marketing and communications director for the Egyptian Theatre, said she plans to attend the concert.

“I am absolutely a fan of ABBA,” Holcomb said. “They definitely get your toes tapping.”

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show cost $20 to $55 and may be bought by phone at 815-758-1225, at the theater box office or online at

The Egyptian Theatre is at 135 N. Second St. in DeKalb.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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