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Sarah Unruh ’12

First concert of HBPA season to feature globally influenced jazz

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – An organization committed to fostering appreciation for America’s original art form, jazz, bring its acclaimed quintet to south-central Kansas for the kickoff of the 2013-14 Hesston Bethel Performing Arts Series.

Metta Quintet, the resident ensemble for JazzReach, performs in Bethel College’s Krehbiel Auditorium Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets range in price from $20 to $17, with discounts available for students and senior citizens. (Season tickets are still on sale, priced from $75 to $85, also with student and senior citizen discounts.)

A cohesive, tight-knit unit featuring some of today’s most esteemed creative artists, Metta Quintet runs on a collective musical curiosity. Its members are dedicated to exploring new artistic territory while maintaining a passionate commitment to arts education, fostering new audiences and nurturing young talent.

Commissioning all-new works and creating immersive, live, multimedia concert programs for the main stage, Metta Quintet is committed to challenging convention and expanding the boundaries of the live jazz experience.

The quintet released its critically acclaimed debut recording, Going to Meet The Man (Koch), in 2002, The album features eight commissioned works by the then-emerging, now-renowned composers Brad Mehldau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Larry Goldings and George Colligan. All works were inspired by short stories of celebrated American author James Baldwin.

In July 2006, Sunnyside Records released the quintet’s second CD, Subway Songs, with eight more original, commissioned compositions inspired by the sociological dynamism of the New York City subway experience.

In early 2012, Metta Quintet partnered with digital music distributor The Orchard to release the globally themed Big Drum/Small World, a project that explores the globalization and ever-broadening definition and sound of jazz. The quintet will perform “Big Drum/Small World” for its HBPA appearance.

The album features a diverse array of all-new music by renowned composers from eight different countries, including Lionel Loueke (West Africa), Miguel Zenon (Puerto Rico), Rudresh Mahanthappa (India), Yosvanny Terry (Cuba), Omer Avital (Israel) and Metta Quintet’s own Marcus Strickland (United States).

The main-stage “Big Drum/Small World” program includes these works – each unique composition inspired by elements of both the American jazz tradition and the indigenous music of each composer’s respective country of origin.

Since its inception, jazz has always been an inclusive, unifying art form that has vividly reflected the collective national character and diverse culture. “Big Drum/Small World” merges a broad range of musical ideas and celebrates artistic collaboration and stylistic amalgamation.

Metta Quintet will also give two educational programs during its day on the Bethel campus.

There will be an educational performance of “Big Drum/Small World” for area elementary school children Nov. 21 in Krehbiel Auditorium. This event is already sold out, but the public is invited to a free jazz masterclass with the quintet and Bethel College jazz ensembles, later that same day from 4-5:30 p.m., also in Krehbiel Auditorium.

Established in 1994, JazzReach is a nationally recognized New York City-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting, performing, creating and teaching jazz music.

Through live multimedia educational programs for young audiences, main-stage concerts for general audiences and clinics and masterclasses for student musicians and ensembles, JazzReach hopes to foster a greater appreciation, awareness and understanding of this ever-evolving American art form.

JazzReach has positioned itself as one of the nation’s leading arts organizations dedicated to jazz, with its programs serving more than 255,000 young people nationwide in partnership with many of America’s most prominent performing arts presenters, garnering praise from students, teachers, parents, the media and arts professionals alike.

For more information about Metta Quintet’s HBPA appearance or to purchase season or single tickets, call 620-327-8158 (Hesston College) or 316-284-5205 (Bethel College) or visit the HBPA website at hesstonbethel.org.

HBPA is funded in part by the cities of Hesston and North Newton, Excel Industries and Hustler Turf Equipment (Hesston), area businesses and patrons and the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

The Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts series started in 1982 as Hesston Performing Arts (HPA) with funding and planning provided by Hesston College and the Hesston community. In 1998, HPA planners launched a partnership with Bethel College, and the series name changed to Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts. Hesston College in Hesston and Bethel College in North Newton host performances each year.