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Open Road concert to round out weekend of activities

The men's a cappella group Open Road on the Ad Building steps

The traditional end-of-year concert for Open Road, the men’s a cappella group at Bethel College, is coming up soon.

In fact, it’s earlier than listed on some previously printed calendars and arts posters – it will be April 29 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall on the Bethel campus.

The concert is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to help defray costs for music, usage fees and travel.

Open Road’s concert caps a weekend packed full of students showing their stuff, from scientific research to visual arts, from theater to instrumental music.

The group mostly sings at local churches (sometimes traveling to a neighboring state) throughout the year. This is Open Road’s one full-length concert annually.

Although the members consult with William Eash, Bethel director of choral activities, Open Road is primarily student run, with the seniors usually taking the lead.

This year there are two, Tyler Shima, Topeka, and Austin Regier, Newton. Regier has been a member of Open Road for two years and Shima for four.

“Open Road is always a pretty close-knit group of guys,” Regier says. “Through late-night rehearsals, weekend gigs and out-of-state travels, you get to know the other guys pretty well.”

This year has been no exception. “I feel that this year’s Open Road group has bonded especially well,” Regier says.

Open Road has had a long and prosperous existence, which means they have an expansive list of literature from which to choose.

Shima, the “old-timer,” believes the practice of selecting songs from past concerts benefits both Open Road and their fans.

He says about “old” literature: “There is no school like the old school. We try to recycle the fan favorites to keep some continuity from year to year.”

This is not to say there will be no new pieces presented – this concert will feature, as Shima puts it, “a plethora of new [ones].”

He continues, “There is a wide variety of works, from a Mendelssohn piece to an up-tempo piece with a bluegrass kick, and even a few barbershop pieces in there.

“I think that it is this contrast between some of our pieces that will make for an exciting concert and keep the audience on their toes.”

If these two singers are an example, the whole group is getting excited about their upcoming concert.

Says Regier, “I am very much looking forward to creating some crunchy chords with these eight talented gentlemen.”

Members of Open Road, in addition to Regier and Shima, are Randall Schmidt, Lawrence, Nate Kroeker, Augusta, Alec Loganbill, Hesston, Nick Preheim, Peabody, Dominick Geddert, Fresno, California, Kendrick Weaver, Hesston, and David Wullf-Cochrane, Edmond, Oklahoma.

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 Forbes.com 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 www.bethelks.edu.

Bethel College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, parental or marital status, gender identity, gender expression, medical or genetic information, ethnic or national origins, citizenship status, veteran or military status or disability. E-mail questions to TitleIXCoordinator@bethelks.edu

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.