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New Bethel band to show their steel-plated stuff in May 11 concert

September 11th, 2017

by Sam Bertholf

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The brand-new Bethel College Steel Drum band will give their premiere concert at the close of the semester.

The event is May 11 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall. While the band has appeared in Bethel convocation and at the 2016 Fall Festival, this will be the first “formal” concert. Steel Drum Band Director Brad Shores guarantees the free concert will be “worth every penny.”

The opening act is The Parrotheads, a faculty/staff group of people who have mostly never played steel drums before. The group borrowed its name from the Jimmy Buffett followers who call themselves Parrotheads.

Bethel College’s Parrotheads won’t be playing “Cheeseburger in Paradise” however, but rather, something better: original songs that Shores composed specifically for beginning steel drum bands.

Shores believes this is a unique group because “they are not music faculty – they are just general faculty [and staff who] have never played steel drums before, but wanted to try it.”

After the Parroheads play, the Bethel College Steel Drum band will present a “Disney medley,” a mix of “Under The Sea” and “Kiss The Girl” from The Little Mermaid and “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” from The Lion King.

They will also play an original song, “Spin Cycle,” Elvis Presley’s version of “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” and Shores’ arrangement of the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul.”

The concert will be what Shores calls “edutainment.”

“It is entertainment and education,” he said. “What we do is talk about the steel drums and clue the crowd in on what we are doing, and we also play some music.”

The audience will be welcome to come up on stage for a closer look at the steel drums after the concert, Shores said. Because it is likely that most members of the crowd will not be familiar with the steel drums, this should be a good opportunity.

“People are welcome to come check [the drums] out,” Shores said. “It will not be a petting zoo situation, but they can get up close and personal and look at them.”

Steel Drum Band member Lauren Nehrbass, Parsons, believes the upcoming concert will be a great way to display the uniqueness of steel drums.

“[This] will give people the chance to hear a fresh spin on some familiar songs, and show just how versatile steel drums can be,” she said.

Kylee Addis, Mount Hope, is looking forward to gaining more exposure for the band.

“I am excited for the concert because I’m hoping we can draw more attention to the band, like we did at convo first semester,” she said.

She also believes the concert will help recruit more band members for the band. “We are trying to build the band and get more people to join, so I hope this is a way we can do that,” she said.

In addition to Addis and Nehrbass, members of the Bethel College Steel Drum Band are Brendan Ostlund, Mount Hope, Sydney Littlestar, Haven, Elizabeth Tran, North Newton, Marieke van Bergeijk, Hesston, Callie Ross, Overland Park, and Jenna Deger, Olathe.

The Parrotheads are Donalyn Manion, communications coordinator in Institutional Communications, Shirley Dietzel, director of Business Services, Joseph Gogus, cheer coach, Julian Liby, multimedia coordinator in Institutional Communications, Casey Schunn, Thresher Shop manager, Kaylyn Rhodes and Michelle Sheriff, custodian.

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.