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Philharmonia to begin season with three classic works

April 16th, 2018

by Sam Bertholf

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Bethel College Philharmonia Orchestra is getting ready for a big date next February.

That’s when the ensemble will play at the Kansas Music Educators Association annual meeting. Their first concert of the season is Oct. 8 at 3 p.m. in Memorial Hall on the Bethel campus.

It’s free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken during the concert.

Philharmonia conductor Dr. Adam V. Fontana, Bethel director of instrumental music, sees this Sunday’s concert as one of the building blocks in the orchestra’s preparation for KMEA.

“This concert is the first step in our progression towards that performance,” he said.

The program will feature three pieces that Fontana calls “three classic works for orchestra.”

He believes the three go well together, adding, “They give three different perspectives on composition.”

Of “Overture to Der Freischutz” by Carl Maria von Weber, Fontana said, “[It] is easily his most famous and most performed work. Weber was a German Romantic composer, and this piece defines that kind of style.”

The second work, “Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun” by Claude Debussy, Fontana described as “lush, beautiful and reminiscent of Monet and other Impressionist artists.”

The final work, Karelia Suite by Jean Sibelius, “gives the perspective of Northern European composition, and it is rooted in the folk tradition,” Fontana said.

Horn player Becca Schrag, junior from Newton, said the concert has a “wonderful repertoire” of songs lined up.

“We have a lot of hard-working individuals that make [being in the orchestra] a successful and rewarding experience,” she said.

“I would encourage everyone to come out to the concert to support their peers and community members and to enjoy some good music.”

Shawn Bontrager, percussion, sophomore from North Newton, performed with the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra and said Bethel’s orchestra “sounds just as good as the professional musicians there.”

He added, “I think that this concert is going to be something that people should go listen to.”

The Oct. 8 concert is a great opportunity to, as Fontana put it, “start the year off together by sharing in a performance of great repertoire.”

Bethel College Philharmonia personnel are: violin, Dominique Corbeil*, Emma Girton, Wichita, Julian Gonzalez-Salamanaca, Nancy Johnson*, Madeline Nachtigal, Lawrence, Callie Ross, Overland Park, Zach Shima, Topeka, and Jason Wong; viola, Kay Buskirk* and MacKenzi Eisenbraun, Shawnee; cello, Hannah Brown, Kate Cherveny, Topeka, Jordan Schroeder, Newton, Sarah Smith, Topeka, Kate Szambecki, Diana Unruh and Chloe Wall, Goshen, Indiana; bass, Dennis Danders* and Eli Brockway, McPherson; flute, Matt Lind, Newton, and Neil Smucker, North Newton; clarinet, Juliana Drouhard, Hesston, and Kaho Yanagidaira, Newton; bassoon, Liz Lind; trumpet, Connor Born, North Newton, Alec Loganbill, Hesston, and Evan Koch, North Newton; trombone, Nate Kroeker, Augusta, Seth Larson, Wichita, and Andrew Thiesen, Newton; horn, Abby Phillips, Maple Hill, Anna Wiens, Goessel, and Becca Schrag, Newton; percussion, Shawn Bontrager, North Newton, and Charles Lenley, Kansas City, Missouri (*denotes Bethel music faculty member).

Bethel College ranks at No. 1 in College Consensus’ ranking of Kansas colleges and universities, and is the only Kansas private college listed in Washington Monthly’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges 2017-18 and in the analysis of top colleges and universities for 2017-18. 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.