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First Wind Ensemble concert of school year to feature American composers

September 11th, 2017

by Cassie Josselyn

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – If you enjoy hearing beautiful music played by talented students, you’ll love what’s coming up at Bethel College.

Chris David Westover, director of instrumental music, will conduct the Bethel College Wind Ensemble in its first concert of the school year, Oct. 4 at 3 p.m. in Memorial Hall.

This event is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to support music study and performance at Bethel College.

Westover is calling the concert “Starry Night,” taken from one of the pieces on the program. The Wind Ensemble will premiere a work by Michael Kallstrom entitled “Starry Night.”

The Kallstrom will feature two Bethel music faculty, Kim Trujillo on vibraphone and Kristin Shaffer on flute.

The concert will consist mostly of American composers — in addition to Kallstrom,Charles E. Ives, Vincent Persichetti, John Philip Sousa and William Schuman — as well as Danish composer Carl Nielsen.

Senior Liz Schrag, Newton, a bassoon player in the Wind Ensemble, will be guest conductor for the Nielsen piece, “Paraphrase on Naermere Gud Til Dig (Nearer My God to Thee).”

“My favorite piece we are playing is ‘The Alcotts’ by Charles Ives,” Schrag said. “We studied the piano version in Music Theory pretty in-depth and I enjoyed how it sounded.

“Now that I have the chance to play it, it gives me a whole new view on the story this music tells.”

Ives was one of the first great American composers. “If you are going to do a concert of American composers, he is like the grandfather you can’t leave out,” said Westover.

Billie Selichnow, sophomore from Wichita and a euphonium player, said, “My favorite piece that we will be playing at the concert is ‘Psalm for Band’ [by Vincent Persichetti]. Why? Honestly, the reasoning is simple – I seriously enjoy playing the piece and hearing the different colors blend together, with constant appearances of new vibrant colors.

“I always feel that the songs you have the most fun playing are songs you are best able to portray to your audience. So because this song is so fun to play, I believe, and hope, that the audience will enjoy hearing it as well.”

The program opens with “George Washington Bridge (Impression for Band)” by William Schuman and closes with Sousa’s “Revival March.”

Westover said that though this concert is not long, it’s worth coming to because the ensemble is one of the best in the region.

“It will be an enjoyable afternoon of music,” he said. “I think students should come out and support their fellow classmates because they have put in a significant amount of time preparing for this.”

Bethel College Wind Ensemble personnel are:

  • Flutes
    • Kylee Addis, Mount Hope
    • Koki Lane, North Newton
    • Kenna Graber
  • Oboes
    • Alexandra Shoup, Newton
    • Austin Coulter, Pretty Prairie
  • Clarinets
    • Benjamin Wiens, Goessel
    • Valerie Klaassen
    • Jacob Anderson, Newton
    • Juliana Drouhard, Hesston
    • Bryce Hostetler, Dodge City
    • Kaitlyn Scribner, Delia
    • Shannon Niefert, Pratt
  • Bass Clarinets
    • Reece Hiebert (contra-alto), Walton
    • Paige Cooper, Hutchinson
  • Bassoons
    • Liz Schrag, Newton
    • Zach Hague
  • Saxophones
    • Matthew Lind (alto), Harrisonburg, Virginia
    • Aaron Long (alto), Wichita
    • Tara Schwartz (alto), Pretty Prairie
    • Westen Gesell (tenor), Winnipeg, Manitoba
    • Ryan Fritz (tenor), Salina
    • Charles Ebeling (baritone), Hutchinson
  • French Horns
    • Timothy Regier, Newton
    • Rebecca Schrag, Newton
    • Abby Phillips, Maple Hill
    • Suzanne Ewy, Parlier, California
  • Trumpets
    • Braden Unruh, Goessel
    • Connor Born, North Newton
    • Alec Loganbill, Hesston
    • Arlin Buller
    • Andrew Ewy, Parlier, California
  • Trombones
    • Andrew Thiesen, Newton
    • Issei Tsuji, Chiba, Japan
    • Benjamin Abel, Paola
    • Seth Larson, Wichita
    • Nathan Kroeker, Augusta
  • Euphonium
    • Billie Selichnow, Wichita
    • Nicholas Preheim, Peabody
  • Tubas
    • Garrett Smith, Moundridge
    • Mark Lyles
  • Percussion
    • Adam Voth, Derby
    • Matthew Graber, Freeman, South Dakota
    • Reid Graber
    • Talin Goebel
    • Sam Decker

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2015-16 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 2015-16. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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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.