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Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble founder to return to Bethel to lead workshop

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble comes full circle with an April 27 concert at Bethel College featuring the group’s founder, Mike Steinel, Denton, Texas.

There will be an honors workshop for jazz students April 26-27 at Bethel with Steinel as the clinician, working with students from the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble, an auditioned high school group that practices and performs at Bethel, and Bethel College Jazz Ensemble I.

“This is the first year for the Mid-Kansas Jazz Workshop,” said Joel Linscheid, Bethel director of jazz studies. “We plan to make it an annual event in which a guest artist comes to campus to work and perform with the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble.

“It’s appropriate that the guest artist for the first year is Mike Steinel, who founded the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble 35 years ago when he was jazz artist-in-residence at Bethel.”

Steinel will perform with both groups April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center.

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

Partial financial support for the Mid-Kansas Jazz Workshop comes from a JAZZ2U Grant from the Jazz Education Network, funded by the Herb Alpert Foundation.

For the April 27 concert, the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble program is “I Mean You” by Thelonious Monk and Coleman Hawkins, arranged by Mike Tomaro; “On Green Dolphin Street” by Kaper/Washington, arranged by Frank Mantooth; “Azule” and “Samba de los Gatos” by Mike Steinel; and “Better Get Hit in Your Soul” by Charles Mingus, arranged by Andrew Homzy.

Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble personnel are: saxophones, Jesus Martinez (Newton High School), Cody Adams (Maize High School), Jon Kohl (Maize High School), Gus Williams (Hesston High School) and Devin Hatfield (Valley Center High School); trumpets, Isaac Penner (Hesston), Connor Born (Newton), Alec Loganbill (Hesston) and Adrian Rogers (Newton); trombones, Wesley Crow (Valley Center), Justin Koegeboehn (Maize), Roberto Toribio (Newton) and Freddie Loeffler (Hesston); guitars, Ben Peyton (Newton) and Brady Volkmann (Bishop Carroll High School, Wichita); piano, Briley Lewis (Maize); bass, Jules White (Wichita Collegiate High School); and drums, Vaughn Craddock (Wichita Collegiate).

Bethel College Jazz Ensemble I’s program will be selected from “Corner Pocket” by Freddie Green; “Gentle Piece” by Kenny Wheeler; “Boom-Boom” by Bob Brookmeyer; “It Could Happen to You” by Jimmy Van Heusen, arranged by Mike Crotty; “Perdido” by Lengsfelder, Drake and Tizol, arranged by Duke Ellington; “A Child is Born” by Thad Jones; and “Just a Minor Thing” by Mike Steinel.

Jazz Ensemble I personnel are: saxophones, Neil Smucker, freshman from North Newton, Matt Lind, sophomore from Harrisonburg, Virginia, Ben Wiens, freshman from Goessel, Westen Gesell, sophomore from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Chase Ebeling, junior from Hutchinson; trumpets, Grant Flaming, sophomore from Goessel, Isaac Dunn, sophomore from Fresno, California, Tim Regier, junior from Newton, and Braden Unruh, junior from Goessel; trombones, Josh Janzen, sophomore from Aurora, Nebraska, Andrew Thiesen, sophomore from Newton, Billie Selichnow, freshman from Maize, and Issei Tsuji, junior from Chiba, Japan; drums, Adam Voth, senior from Goddard; bass, Eli Brockway, McPherson; and piano, Matthew Graber, sophomore from Freeman, South Dakota.

Both groups will also perform April 24 at the Wichita Jazz Festival at Wichita State University.

Mike Steinel is professor of jazz studies at the University of North Texas, Denton, where he teaches jazz improvisation, pedagogy of jazz improvisation and jazz trumpet. He has also served on the faculty of Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, as well as the Clark Terry Jazz Camp, the Jamey Aebersold Improvisation Camps, the Saskatchewan Summer Jazz Camp and the University of Missouri Summer Jazz Residency.

Steinel has a bachelor’s degree from Emporia State University and a master’s degree from UNT. A jazz trumpeter, pianist, composer and arranger, he taught at Bethel from 1979-83.

Steinel has performed as soloist at the MENC (the National Association for Music Education) and International Association of Jazz Educators national conventions and at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. He has worked with Clark Terry, Don Ellis, Bill Evans and Jerry Bergonzi, and recordings with the Chicago Jazz Quintet and the Frank Mantooth Big Band.

Steinel’s honors include an Illinois Arts Council Chairman’s Grant and a jazz fellowship grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Internationally recognized as a jazz educator, Steinel is the author of Building a Jazz Vocabulary and Essential Elements for Jazz Ensemble.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2014-15 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 2014-15. 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.