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Grand piano dedicated in Krehbiel Science Center at Bethel College

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. - Dedication of the Steinway piano in Krehbiel Science Center at Bethel College took place Nov. 30 with a piano dedication recital to honor the memory of Richard F. and Marjorie Wedel Graber. Children and grandchildren of the Grabers gifted the grand piano to Bethel College earlier this year. "Bethel is deeply grateful to the Graber family, and tonight we celebrate this gift," Sondra Koontz, director of institutional advancement, told those who had gathered for the family event. Koontz described the piano as a "fitting reminder of the lives of Richard and Marjorie" who attended Bethel College and supported it for many years. The Grabers' five children and seven grandchildren have all attended Bethel College.

Musicians for the recital included two of the Grabers' granddaughters, pianist Susan Gaeddert and flutist Stephanie Krehbiel, as well as pianist Karen Bauman Schlabaugh and oboist Don Kehrberg, both of the music faculty. Gaeddert, a 2000 Bethel College graduate, has a master's degree in piano performance and pedagogy and is pursuing a second master's degree in collaborative piano at the University of Wisconsin. Krehbiel graduated from Bethel College in 1998, received her master's degree in flute performance and is in the second year of a master's degree program in ethnomusicology at Michigan State University.

The recital brought together the Graber children and their spouses: Mary Ann and Daniel Gaeddert, Georgetown, Ky.; Donna and Richard Zerger, McPherson; Bonnie and Dwight Krehbiel, North Newton; Tom and Diana (Epp) Graber and Tim and Suone (Unruh) Graber, all of Moundridge. Richard Zerger, chemistry professor, and Dwight Krehbiel, psychology professor, have offices in Krehbiel Science Center.

Richard and Marjorie, who farmed near Moundridge for many years, both passed away in 2000. He was a lover of science and mathematics; she loved words and music.

"Having acquired a taste for science and music from their parents," Koontz said, "the Graber children concluded that a piano for the atrium of this new science center would be an appropriate memorial to their parents. The piano will also serve both symbolically and functionally to further Bethel's tradition of integration across the disciplines of sciences, arts and humanities."

Other Graber grandchildren include Philip Graber of Chicago, Ill.; John Graber of Moundridge; Joseph Gaeddert of Christiansburg, Va.; David Zerger of Norman, Okla.; and Elizabeth Zerger, a current Bethel student from McPherson.

Compositions performed at the recital were "Trio" by Gordon Jacob, "Klavierst'cke" by Johannes Brahms, "Tarantelle" by Philippe Gaubert and Jeux d'Enfants (Children's Games)" by Georges Bizet.

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.