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Gala Jazz an annual part of Christmas at Bethel

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – As Bethel College students prepare for final exams and Christmas break, they’ll celebrate with Christmas Gala and the music event open to the public: Christmas Gala Jazz.

Featuring Bethel College Jazz Ensembles I and II, the event takes place Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. Admission is free, with a freewill offering taken to support jazz study and performance at Bethel.

As usual, the groups will play a mix of seasonal favorites and jazz standards.

Jazz Ensemble II, directed by Joel Linscheid, instructor of music, will offer “Switch in Time” by Sammy Nestico; “Nardis” by Miles Davis, arranged by Paul Murtha; “The Christmas Song” by Mel Torme and Robert Wells, arranged by Paul Jennings; “Silver Bells” by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, arranged by George Stone; and “Don’t Get Sassy” by Thad Jones, arranged by Mike Carubia.

Bethel College Jazz Ensemble II personnel are: saxophones, Jacob Anderson, Newton, Julia Ferguson, Sterling, Jesus Martinez, Newton, Ryan Fritz, Salina, and Reece Hiebert, Walton; trumpets, Gabe Johnson, Abilene, Isaac Dunn, Fresno, California, Abby Phillips, Maple Hill, and Adrian Rogers, Newton; trombones, Nate Kroeker, Augusta, Seth Larson, Wichita, and Ben Carlson, Hurley, South Dakota; bass, Matt Buller, Henderson, Nebraska; piano, Matt Lind, Harrisonburg, Virginia; and drums, Shawn Bontrager, North Newton, and Bruce Rosario, Pollocksville, North Carolina.

Jazz Ensemble I’s set list is “Second Race” by Thad Jones; “Hang Gliding” by Maria Schneider; “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen, arranged by Scott Ninmer; “Peanut Brittle Brigade” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, arranged by Duke Ellington; “Toot Toot Tootie Toot” by Tchaikovsky, arranged by Billy Strayhorn; “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Ralph Blane, arranged by Alan Baylock; and “Jingle Bells” by J. Pierpoint, arranged by John Clayton.

James Pisano, Bethel director of jazz studies, directs Jazz Ensemble I.

Bethel College Jazz Ensemble I personnel are: saxophones, Neil Smucker, North Newton, Matt Lind, Westen Gesell, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Zane Richter, McPherson, and Ben Wiens, Goessel; trumpets, Braden Unruh, Goessel, Evan Koch, North Newton, Connor Born, North Newton, Alec Loganbill, Hesston, and Ben Peyton; trombones, Andrew Thiesen, Newton, Billie Selichnow, Wichita, Brendan Ostlund, Mount Hope, and Nate Kroeker (bass); piano, Matt Graber, Freeman, South Dakota; bass, Eli Brockway, McPherson; guitar, Jayce Yoder, Topeka; drums, Charles Lenley, Kansas City, Missouri, and Micah Miller; and vocals, Elizabeth Friesen Birky, Denver.

Gala Jazz has become an anticipated part of the end-of-fall-semester celebration that faculty and staff put on for students.

To keep up with other jazz events this school year, look for (and “Like”) Bethel College Jazz Studies on Facebook.

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2016'17. 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.