Alumni | Give to BC | Athletics | Fine Arts | Thresher Connect | Search


Brahms' largest, best-loved work to be Masterworks performance

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The annual Masterworks concert at Bethel College features one of the best known and loved choral works in the Western world, Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) by Johannes Brahms.

The performance by the Bethel College Oratorio Chorus, Bethel College Philharmonia Orchestra and vocal soloists, under the direction of William Eash, is May 3 at 3 p.m. (note change from some printed calendars) in Memorial Hall on the Bethel College campus.

Soloists are Holly Swartzendruber, Hillsboro, and Doyle Preheim, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Tickets are available during the week at Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center on campus, or at the door.

In the program notes for the May 3 Masterworks, Harvey Hiebert, North Newton, describes Ein deutsches Requiem, composed between 1865 and 1868, as “a requiem that is not for religious ceremony, [with its] text in the language of the Luther Bible, probably unique in being not a prayer for the dead, with threats of damnation, but consolation for the living, and … the largest single work by a composer of many full works.”

Eash, in a Bethel chapel presentation on the Requiem, said, “This work is one of remembrance, a consolation for the sorrowful. As Brahms described it, it is a requiem for all people – remembering individuals who have gone before us, who have already arrived in Zion.

“As part of this performance, we are creating a list of those individuals – those people we remember, for whom we sing or play or work.”

The Oratorio Chorus is made up of members of the Bethel College Concert Choir, Men’s Ensemble and Women’s Chorus, the Chancel Choir of Bethel College Mennonite Church and community singers.

The Bethel Philharmonia comprises Bethel College student and faculty, along with community, instrumentalists.

Soprano soloist Holly Swartzendruber is an adjunct instructor at Hesston College and Tabor College, where she teaches applied voice and vocal pedagogy and diction. She is coordinator of music in worship at First Mennonite Church, Hillsboro, and a member of the Western District Conference (Mennonite Church USA) Worship and Music Task Force. She is frequently heard regionally as an opera and oratorio soloist, including as the Mother in Hesston College’s 2013 production of Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Bass soloist Doyle Preheim is professor emeritus of music at Goshen (Indiana) College, where he taught for 30 years before retiring in 2003. He has been widely heard as a bass soloist in oratorio roles – including in Haydn’s The Creation and Saint- Saëns’ Messe de Requiem, from the 2013 and 2014 Masterworks performances, respectively – and has presented solo recitals, with his wife, Mary Jo Preheim, as pianist, in venues in the Midwest and in Canada.

Tickets for the Masterworks concert are $12 adults, $10 students, $6 high school students and $5 Bethel faculty, staff and students. They are on sale at the bookstore in Schultz Student Center on the Bethel College campus, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. (phone 316-284-5205, credit card orders only), or at the door.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2014-15 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

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.