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Ensemble’s first concert of the year will feature Canadian guest composer

September 26th, 2018

Bethel College Wind Ensemble

The Bethel College Wind Ensemble opens its 2018-19 concert season Friday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m., with works by Cait Nishimura, guest composer, as well as by Montague, Holst, Gershwin and Marquez.

The ensemble’s season premiere is meant to get the school year going with “fun and energy,” said conductor Adam V. Fontana, D.M.A.

Plus, it will feature a guest who comes all the way from Canada, and is fresh from winning the 2017 Canadian Band Association Composition Competition.

Fontana, director of instrumental music at Bethel, met Nishimura at the Midwest Clinic, the largest band and orchestra conference in the world, in Chicago last winter, where Peter Meechan, a guest composer for the Wind Ensemble’s November 2017 concert, introduced them.

Fontana picked Nishimura’s “Chasing Sunlight,” the piece that won the composition prize, to add to the Wind Ensemble’s repertoire for 2018-19. Later, he had occasion to talk with her on the phone, and asked if she’d be interested in coming to campus as a guest composer.

“She said she would, so we found a date, and this is it,” Fontana said.

Nishimura will work with the Wind Ensemble in an open rehearsal Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. The concert is that evening at 7:30 p.m. – both it and the rehearsal are in Memorial Hall at Bethel College.

The concert is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to support instrumental music study and performance at Bethel.

Nishimura is a Toronto-based composer and music educator, with degrees in both music and education from the University of Toronto.

Her work has been described as “having a refreshing buoyancy,” using minimalist patterns and simple yet lush harmonies, often – as with “Chasing Sunlight” – drawing inspiration from the beauty of the natural world.

Also on the program are “Intrada 1631 (after Juan Pérez Bocanegra)” by Stephen Montague; Second Suite in F, Op. 28, No. 2 by Gustav Holst; “Theme from An American in Paris” by George Gershwin; and “Danzón No. 2” by Arturo Marquez.

“This is a more lighthearted concert than our final one of last school year,” Fontana noted. “There’s a lot of song and dance happening with this one. It will be a nice way to start off the school year.”

Wind Ensemble personnel are: flutes, Chloe LaCombe, Newton, Neil Smucker, North Newton, and Mackenzie Young, Peabody; oboe, Matthew Lind, Newton; clarinets, Sarah Balzer, Inman, Peyton Landrum, Arkansas City, Jessica LaRocque, Cawker City, Anna Lubbers, Peabody, Sarah Turner, North Newton, and Kaho Yanagidaira, Nagano, Japan; saxophones, Caleb Abbott, Wichita, AJ Dugan, Walton, Aaron Long, Wichita, Tara Schwartz, Pretty Prairie, Autumn Strecker, Goessel, and Tom Tien Lo; horns, Jesse Balzer, Hurley, S.D., Annie Carlson, Hurley, S.D., and Anna Wiens, Goessel; trumpets, Connor Born, North Newton, Arlin Buller, and Alec Loganbill, Hesston; trombones, Jerod Kaufman, Moundridge, Adam Kroeker, Augusta, Nathan Kroeker, Augusta, Seth Larson, Wichita, and Kayla Newman, Sedgwick; euphoniums, Brendan Ostlund, Mt. Hope, and Nicholas Preheim, Peabody; tuba, Trae Gehring, Pretty Prairie; bass, Elijah Brockway, McPherson; and percussion, Matthew Garber, Newton, Devin Russ, Satellite Beach, Fla., Caleb Washington, Wichita, Micah Miller Wyse, Hesston, and Bryant Young, Peabody. The ensemble manager is Caleb Abbott.

Bethel College is the only Kansas private college listed in the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, both for 2018-19.

The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see Bethel College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, parental or marital status, gender identity, gender expression, medical or genetic information, ethnic or national origins, citizenship status, veteran or military status or disability. E-mail questions to

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.