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Mother’s Day concert to feature women’s a cappella voices

May 7th, 2018

The 9-woman women's a cappella group woven poses near the Will Academic Center

Woven gets the Mother’s Day concert slot this year -- the nine-woman group will sing their end-of-year concert at 7 p.m. May 13 in Mem Hall.

Note that the date is different from some previously printed calendars.

The concert, which takes place in Memorial Hall, is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken.

The offering usually goes to help pay for music, permissions and travel expenses. However, this year both Woven and Open Road, the men’s a cappella ensemble, are donating their offerings to a scholarship fund newly established with the Bethel College Concert Choir in honor of retiring Professor of German Merle Schlabaugh.

Schlabaugh has helped plan and lead a number of the Concert Choir’s Europe tours. The fund will help choir members who would otherwise be unable to afford the extra cost of the every-four-years Europe tour.

Woven will sing a variety of songs, from recycled classics heard in previous concerts to new pieces learned this year.

Stephanie Brown, Newton, one of three seniors in the group, said, “The program contains pieces from a variety of genres that we enjoy, and that we hope our audience will enjoy as well.

“Some are repeats from last year, but for good reason. The majority of the concert, however, features new repertoire that we’ve learned within the past couple of months, and those will be heard by many for the first time at our concert.”

Open Road usually sings the Mother’s Day concert but opted for an earlier date this year. However, they will join Woven for two of the concert numbers.

Also on the program are two Wailin’ Jennys numbers, two arrangements by Woven member Rebecca Schrag, junior from Newton, and much more.

Woven has given the women in it a space to make music, but more importantly, it has functioned to create strong friendships between the members, said Brown.

“Being in Woven has provided me not only with lifelong friends, but a stronghold of women who empower each other, lean on each other and create harmonies with each other,” she said. “I am so lucky to be in this ensemble, and will forever hold on to the myriad of memories we’ve created together through the opportunities that music has given us.”

She continued, “It is [the seniors’] final Woven concert, so of course we aren’t looking forward to it being over. What I am most looking forward to is doing exactly what we love to do: just having fun by making music.”

The other seniors in the group are DrewAnne Gatlin, Broadus, Montana, and Kylee Schunn, Whitewater.

The other members of Woven, in addition to Rebecca Schrag, are juniors Emily Knight, Moundridge, Michelle Schrag, Moundridge, and Kaci Wilson, Sterling, and sophomores Polly Carlson, Hurley, South Dakota, and Madison Hofer-Holdeman, Wichita.

 “Each song has a story,” Brown said, “and we hope we can tell it the best way we can.”

Woven’s May 13 program will include “Here Comes the Sun” by George Harrison, arranged by Kirby Shaw; Schrag’s arrangements of  the women’s trio Joseph’s “Planets” and the duo The Chapin Sisters’ “Sweet Light”; “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” arranged by Stacey V. Gibbs; “You Gotta Do Right” by unknown; “Calling My Children Home” by Lason, Waller and Yates; from the Wailin’ Jennys, “Long Time Traveller” (arranged by K. Gregory) and “The Parting Glass”; from the women’s trio Red Molly, “Foreign Lander”; “Saints Bound for Heaven,” arranged by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw; “Carolina Pines” by Kate Wolf; “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, arranged by Rosa Juritz; “Ain-A That Good News!” by William Dawson; “May the Road Rise to Meet You,” arranged by Stephen Calgaro; and, with Open Road, “Lux Aurumque” by Eric Whitacre and “Butterfly” by Mia Makaroff.

Bethel College ranks at No. 1 in College Consensus’ ranking of Kansas colleges and universities, and is the only Kansas private college 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 2017-18. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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by Sam Bertholf

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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.