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Standards and seasonal tunes on Christmas Gala Jazz program

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – A favorite seasonal event at Bethel College helps wrap up the semester when the two jazz ensembles take the stage Dec. 5.

Christmas Gala Jazz, featuring Jazz Ensemble I and Jazz Ensemble II, will be at 8 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. Admission is free, with a freewill offering taken to support jazz study and performance at Bethel.

As usual, the program will feature both jazz standards and some Christmas specials.

Jazz Ensemble II’s set list is “Sweet Georgia Brown” by Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard and Kenneth Casy (arranged by Sammy Nestico); “Latin Quarter” by Lennie Niehaus; “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane (arranged by Alan Blaylock); and the traditional “Greensleeves/What Child is This,” arranged by Greg Yasinitsky.

Jazz II personnel are: saxophones, Jacob Anderson, sophomore from Newton, Emily Simpson, senior from Newton, Ryan Fritz, sophomore from Salina, Cameron Ponce, sophomore from Elkhart, Indiana, and Reece Hiebert, freshman from Goessel; trombones, Ben Carlson, sophomore from Hurley, South Dakota, Seth Larson, freshman from Wichita, DrewAnne Gatlin, freshman from Broadus, Montana, and Benjamin Abel, freshman from Paola; trumpets, Isaac Dunn, sophomore from Fresno, California, and Ethan Knight, senior from Moundridge; piano, Bobby Lloyd, Wichita; guitar, Doug Siemens, Newton; bass, Austin Regier, freshman from Newton, and Joe Kondziola, senior from North Newton; and drums, Michael Kilmer, Phoenix.

Jazz Ensemble I will play “Shiny Stockings” by Frank Foster; “Oclupaca” from Latin American Suite by Duke Ellington; the “Overture” from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite, arranged by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn; “But Beautiful” by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke (arranged by Lennie Niehaus); and the traditional Ukrainian “Carol of the Bells,” arranged by Rich DeRosa.

Jazz Ensemble I personnel are: saxophones, Neil Smucker, freshman from North Newton, Matt Lind, Harrisonburg, Virginia, Ben Wiens, freshman from Goessel, Westen Gesell, sophomore from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Chase Ebeling, junior from Hutchinson; trumpets, Grant Flaming, 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.

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

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.