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Fall Festival to feature 8th annual JazzFest on outdoor stage

April 16th, 2018

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – One thing Fall Festival at Bethel College means is the chance to hear lots of live jazz.

It starts at Taste of Newton on Oct. 12, when Bethel’s two jazz groups will play on the stage at the corner of Main and Broadway starting at 6 p.m.

Then on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 14, is the 8th annual JazzFest on Bethel’s outdoor stage, the Prairie Sky Stage (or Memorial Hall in case of bad weather).

The event begins at 11 a.m. with two area high school groups, Newton High School’s Jazz I, Keith Woolery, director, and the Hesston High School jazz ensemble, Lyle Graversen, director.

Next is a small ensemble comprising Bethel jazz faculty: James Pisano and Joel Boettger on saxophones; Jerry Hahn on guitar; Dale Black on bass; and Kim Garey-Trujillo on percussion.

Boettger, instructor of music and a Bethel jazz alumnus, will make his Bethel jazz conducting debut, leading Bethel Jazz Ensemble II.

The set list is “I Can’t Get Started with You” by Ira Gershwin and Vernon Duke, arranged by Mark Taylor; “Stolen Moments” by Sammy Nestico, arranged by Paul Jennings; “Blues for Clyde” by Sammy Nestico; and “Bye-Bye Blackbird” by Mort Dixon and Ray Henderson, arranged by Kris Berg.

Jazz II personnel are: saxophones, Autumn Strecker, Goessel, Jacob Callison, Wichita, Jacob Anderson, Newton, and Jesus Martinez, Newton; trumpets, Isaac Dunn, Chloe LaCombe, Abilene, Adrian Rogers and Samantha Buffalo; trombones, Seth Larson, Wichita, Ben Abel, Paoli, and Brad Shores; bass, Jon Graber; and percussion, Shawn Bontrager, North Newton, and Bruce Rosario, Pollocksville, North Carolina.

Pisano, director of jazz studies at Bethel, directs Bethel Jazz Ensemble II, with Evan Koch, North Newton, as student director.

On Jazz I’s program is “Day by Day” by Axel Stordahl and Paul Weston, arranged by John Clayton; “Antigua” by Bob Mintzer; “Nice ’n’ Easy” by Alan Bergman, arranged by John Clayton; “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” by George Cory and Douglass Cross, arranged by Thad Jones, and “When the Sun Comes Out” by Harold Arlen, arranged by Tom Garling, both featuring Elizabeth Friesen-Birky, Denver, on vocals; “Switch in Time” by Sammy Nestico; and “Us” by Thad Jones.

Jazz I personnel are: saxophones, Neil Smucker, North Newton, Zane Richter, McPherson, Matt Lind, Newton, Caleb Abbott, Wichita, and Ben Wiens, Goessel; trumpets, Evan Koch, Connor Born, North Newton, Alec Loganbill, Hesston, Becky Home, and Gabe Johnson, Abilene; trombones, Andrew Thiesen, Newton, Adam Kroeker, Augusta, and Brendan Ostlund, Mount Hope, with Nathan Kroeker, Augusta, on bass trombone; piano, Matt Lind and Ian Gingrich-Gaylord; bass, Eli Brockway, McPherson; guitar, Jayce Yoder, Topeka; and percussion, Chuck Lenley, Kansas City, Missouri, and Micah Miller Wyse, Hesston.

Bethel College ranks at No. 1 in College Consensus’ ranking of Kansas colleges and universities, and is the only Kansas private college listed in Washington Monthly’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges 2017-18 and in the analysis of top colleges and universities for 2017-18. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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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.