News Release

Community Music School students to be featured in May 10 'Little Stars' concert

Contact: Constance Woods


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(1) Ashley Johansen (2) Chloe Williams (3) Emily Schaumann 

(4) Nathan Schaumann (5) Tessa Flesher (6) Michael Kepner

Caption …

COMMUNITY MUSIC SCHOOL FEATURES LITTLE STARS – Seven students in Southeastern Louisiana University’s Community Music School will be featured in the school’s annual “Little Stars” concert May 10 at Pottle Music Building Auditorium. They are (1) Ashley Johansen, (2) Chloe Williams, (3) , (4) Nathan Schaumann, (5) Tessa Flesher, and (6) Michael Kepner. Not pictured is Elizabeta Piroska.

     HAMMOND – The “Little Stars” of the Southeastern Louisiana University Community Music School’s strings program will be featured in concert May 10 at the Pottle Music Building Auditorium.

     The concert, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., will feature violin students Ashley Johansen of Madisonville; Chloe Williams and Michael Kepner of Covington; Emily Schaumann and Nathan Schaumann of Slidell, Tessa Flesher of Lacombe, and Elizabeta Piroska of Romania.

     The seven young musicians, chosen from among 40 CMS students, will be accompanied by the Southeastern Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Yakov Voldman, director of Southeastern’s Music and Dramatic Arts Department string program.

     The concert will also feature the CMS String Ensemble, directed by Jivka Jeleva, who heads CMS’s strings program, and accompanied by Southeastern pianist Christiana Iheadindu.

     Jeleva said the Little Stars concert is always a special time for the students selected as soloists. “I don’t always choose them by how talented they are,” she said. “I try to reward the effort that they put into it. It makes them feel really special.”

     Ashley Johansen, a 12-year-old student at Madisonville Junior High, began playing the violin as an eight-year-old. “Whenever people ask her, she’s ready to get the violin out and play,” said Jeleva. She will perform “Concerto No. 5” by F. Seitz.

     Eleven-year-old Chloe Williams, who attends Cedarwood School, also began playing the violin at the age of eight. She will perform “Hungarian Dance No. 5” by J. Brahms.

     “Chloe and Ashley both participated in the Junior Philharmonic Auditions in New Orleans and were selected as alternates,” Jeleva said.

     Nine-year-old Emily Schaumann, who is home schooled, has participated in the LPO Concerto Competition and the New Orleans Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition. She will perform “Unicorn’s Tale,” a piece she composed with her father Erik.

     Emily’s brother, six-year-old Nathan Schaumann, also home schooled, began studying violin at the age of four. Jeleva said he was chosen to perform at the most prestigious recital in the Philharmonic Society auditions. He will perform “Concertino” by G. Perlman.

     “He is one of those kids who cannot just hold his violin,” said Jeleva. “As soon as he touches it, he has to play it the whole time.”

     Tessa Flesher, 10 years old and home schooled, will perform “Gavotte” by Lully. Michael Kepner, 11 years old and a student at Lake Harbor Middle School, will perform “Concertino Op. 15” by F. Kuchler. Kepner previously performed with the Southeastern Chamber Orchestra as the violin soloist in “Starlit,” a work written by Southeastern composer-in-residence Stephen Suber especially for CMS students.

     Elizabeta Piroska, an 18-year-old senior at Northlake Christian School and an exchange student from Romania, will perform “Ballad” by C. Porumbesku. Piroska has been offered a full scholarship at Berkley College of Music as a voice major.

     Director Kenneth Boulton said CMS, which offers children and adults private and group music lessons taught by Southeastern faculty members, graduate students and community professionals, has marked a new milestone.

     “This spring,” he said, “our brand new instructional location at the Livingston Literacy and Technology Center has catapulted our enrollment to more than 360 students.”

     “The youngest student in the CMS is three years old,” said Jeleva. “I usually recommend people to wait until they are at least five, but there are exceptions.”

     For additional information and summer registration forms, visit or contact the Southeastern Community Music School office at 985-549-5502

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