NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – A group of local Bethel College choir alumni who wanted a way to keep singing choral music will give their first concert Sunday afternoon at Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, Newton.
The inaugural event is Dec. 7 at 3 p.m. at the church, located at 1200 Boyd Avenue, and is free of charge.
Comprised of Bethel choir alumni in the Newton area, the group was started this past September with the hope of giving alumni a place to sing at a high caliber, among familiar faces and experienced voices.
Andrew Voth (Class of 2013) directs the choir. It has about 25 members and is looking to grow.
The choir had its genesis last spring while William Eash, Bethel director of choral music, was on sabbatical in Minnesota.
“Bill heard an alumni choir from St. Olaf College perform and realized that he never really gets to sing any more, despite being the head of a choral program,” said Jocelyn Wilkinson, Class of 2014, alumni choir manager. “He figured there’s a decent amount of Bethel choir alumni in the area, so he contacted Andrew Voth about the viability of the idea. Things just built from there.”
In addition, Wilkinson said, Eash mentioned the idea of an alumni choir to graduating Concert Choir seniors at the end of the 2013-14 school year. “Otherwise, we’ve largely been connecting with alumni through Facebook and word of mouth,” she said.
For their first performance, the choir will feature several secular pieces alongside traditional Christmas carols.
They will also be joined by choir alumnus Evan Koch ’14 and current Bethel junior Braden Unruh, Goessel, on trumpet, along with choir alumna Rachel Unruh ’12 and current sophomore Grace Bradfield, Derby, on violin.
Alumni choir personnel for the Dec. 7 concert, in addition to Wilkinson and Eash, are Caroline Mayhew ’15, Monica Schmidt ’11, Jenae Janzen ’13, Katherine Goerzen (a graduate of Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, Manitoba), Brittany Voth ’10, Kiley Schmidt ’08, Kara Schmidt ’05, Kristin Unruh ’13, Erin Brubacher ’01, Elizabeth Friesen ’10, Andrew Walker ’14, Cameron Voth ’12, Micah Smith ’14, Casey Schunn ’14, Aaron Tschetter ’15, Brian Skinner ’13, David Nance ’06, Johann Reimer ’06, Peter Goerzen ’07, Kyle Doesken ’12, Cristopher Nelson ’14 and Daniel Barrera ’14.
Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2014-15 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2014-15. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.