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Three instrumental groups to perform for state music educators

April 16th, 2018

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Three instrumental groups from Bethel College will perform for the 2018 Kansas Music Educators meeting in Wichita, with a world premiere on one of the programs.

The Bethel College Wind Ensemble plays Feb. 22 and the Bethel College Philharmonia Feb. 23, both under the baton of Adam V. Fontana, Bethel director of instrumental music.

Bethel College Jazz Combo I plays Feb. 24, under the direction of Jim Pisano, Bethel director of jazz studies.

The Wind Ensemble will give the world premiere of “Reflections through Green and Gold,” a commission of the ensemble to Ted King-Smith, Kansas City, Missouri.

King-Smith, a native of New York’s Hudson Valley, is a saxophonist, conductor and educator.

“I have known Ted as a friend for a number of years,” said Fontana. “We were students at the Hartt School and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance at the same time.

“Ted is an up-and-coming composer. His pieces are getting played on the radio, by bands and chamber groups. He’s a very fresh voice.”

Fontana continued, “I wanted a piece with beautiful colors, which [Ted] does extremely well, and a lot of ‘musical line,’ a longer, more extended melody – and that’s exactly what we got.”

Also on the Wind Ensemble’s KMEA program are two other recent works, “Eye of the Hawk” (2015) by Susan Botti and “We Seven” (2014) by Derek Jenkins, along with Leonard Bernstein’s homage to Mstislav Rostropovich, “SLAVA!”.

The Wind Ensemble will play at 2 p.m. in Century II.

The Philharmonia is making its first-ever appearance at KMEA, with a 9:05 a.m. performance Feb. 23 in Century II.

The Philharmonia will present two American classics, “An Outdoor Overture” by Aaron Copland and “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin.

The piano soloist for the Gershwin is Rosa Lee, who began at Bethel this past fall as assistant professor of music and director of the piano pedagogy program.

Lee made her public piano debut at age 10 with the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra, and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Juilliard, Columbia University Teachers College and Eastman School of Music.

Finally, Bethel Jazz Combo I plays for KMEA Feb. 24 at 9:20 a.m. in Hyatt Ballrooms F-H.

The 7-person group will play two compositions each by two of its members: “Foment’s Notice” and “Entomology” by Neil Smucker, senior from North Newton, and “Jaunt” and “Nightwalker” by Westen Gesell, senior from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Jazz Combo I will conclude their program with “Yes or No” by Wayne Shorter.

The featured saxophone soloist with Jazz Combo I is Joel Boettger, Bethel instructor of music. A Bethel graduate who recently completed a master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music, Boettger teaches classes in jazz studies and leads two of the jazz groups at Bethel.

The public is welcome at the KMEA performances, but you can also get a preview closer to home.

King-Smith will be on the Bethel campus Feb. 19 to work with the Wind Ensemble at 4 p.m., followed by a run-through of the entire program at 5 p.m., in Krehbiel Auditorium.

Then at 7 p.m., the Philharmonia will do an open rehearsal, also in Krehbiel Auditorium.

Jazz Combo I will preview their KMEA program at the regular “Bethel jazz night” at Moxie’s in Newton, Feb. 21 starting at 7 p.m.

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

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


Musicians of the Bethel College Wind Ensemble: flutes, Chloe LaCombe, Newton, Matthew Lind, Newton, and Mackenzie Young, Peabody; clarinets, Sarah Balzer, Inman, Juliana Drouhard, Hesston, Peyton Landrum, Arkansas City, Jessica LaRoque, Cawker City, Anna Lubbers, Peabody, Sarah Turner, North Newton, Benjamin Wiens, Goessel, and Kaho Yanagidaira, Nagano, Japan; bass clarinets, Paige Cooper, Hutchinson, and Reece Hiebert, Walton; saxophones, Caleb Abbott, Wichita, Ryan Fritz, Salina, Westen Gesell, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Aaron Long, Wichita, Zane Richter, McPherson, and Autumn Strecker, Goessel; trumpets, Connor Born, North Newton, Arlin Buller and Alec Loganbill, Hesston; trombones, Benjamin Abel, Paola, Adam Kroeker, Augusta, Nathan Kroeker, Augusta, and Seth Larson, Wichita; horns, Jesse Balzer, Hurley, South Dakota, Jennifer Meysing, Goessel, Abigail Phillips, Maple Hill, and Anna Wiens, Goessel; euphoniums, Brendan Ostlund, Mount Hope, and Nicholas Preheim, Peabody; bass, Eli Brockway, McPherson; percussion, Shawn Bontrager, North Newton, MacKenzi Eisenbraun, Shawnee, Matthew Garber, Newton, Charles Lenley, Kansas City, Missouri, Callie Ross, Overland Park, Kendrick Weaver, Hesston, and Micah Miller Wyse, Hesston

Musicians of the Bethel College Philharmonia Orchestra: first violin, Nancy Johnson, Callie Ross, Overland Park, Rebecca Schloneger, Zachary Shima, Topeka, and Jason Wong, North Newton; second violin, Dominique Corbeil, Emma Girton, Wichita, Julian Gonzalez-Salamanca, Newton, Madeline Nachtigal, Lawrence, Aubrie Nichols and Kara Tann; viola, Kay Buskirk and MacKenzi Eisenbraun, Shawnee; cello, Kate Cherveny, Topeka, Seth Girton, Jordan Schroeder, Newton, Sarah Smith, Topeka, Kate Szambecki, Newton, Diana Unruh and Chloe Wall, Goshen, Indiana; bass, Dennis Danders and Eli Brockway, McPherson; flute, Joel Boettger and Neil Smucker, North Newton; clarinet, Matthew Lind, Newton, and Kaho Yanagidaira, Nagano, Japan; bassoon, Liz Lind, Newton; saxophone, Caleb Abbott, Wichita, Joel Boettger and Westen Gesell, Winnipeg, Manitoba; trumpet, Connor Born, North Newton, Evan Koch, North Newton, and Alec Loganbill, Hesston; trombone, Nathan Kroeker, Augusta, Seth Larson, Wichita, and Andrew Thiesen, Newton; horn, Kiirsi Maunula Johnson, Abigail Phillips, Maple Hill, Rebecca Schrag, Newton, and Anna Wiens, Goessel; percussion, Shawn Bontrager, North Newton, Charles Lenley, Kansas City, Missouri, and Brad Shores

Musicians of Bethel College Jazz Combo I: Neil Smucker, North Newton, flute and alto saxophone; Westen Gesell, Winnipeg, Manitoba, tenor and soprano saxophone; Evan Koch, North Newton, trumpet and flugelhorn; Ian Gingrich-Gaylord, North Newton, piano; Jayce Yoder, Topeka, guitar; Eli Brockway, McPherson, bass; and Chuck Lenley, Kansas City, Missouri, drums

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.