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Vocal groups front and center for 3rd annual Bethel Sings

April 16th, 2018

by Sam Bertholf

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – It’s a musical weekend at Bethel College, capped off by the annual fall showcase of Bethel choral ensembles.

“Bethel Sings” will take place Nov. 5 at 3 p.m. in Bethel College Mennonite Church, featuring the Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus and Men’s Ensemble, under the direction of William Eash, along with the student-led small a cappella ensembles Woven (women) and Open Road (men).

Admission is free and open to the public.

This is the one concert of the year at which the audience can hear all of Bethel’s vocal groups in one place. Students’ packed schedules make organizing it a challenge, said Eash.

“The complicated part of it is putting it all together, knowing that the students who are in my choirs are incredibly busy.”

Nevertheless, the end result is a can’t-miss performance, according to Tyler Shima, senior from Topeka who sings in the Concert Choir and Open Road.

“This is a great opportunity to hear all of Bethel’s musical ensembles, which does not happen very often,” he said.
“The Concert Choir will also do joint pieces with the Men’s Ensemble and Women’s Chorus, which [is unusual, too].”

Working with a variety of choirs is a logistical challenge but also energizing for Eash.

“I find that teaching these particular classes, and maybe just teaching at Bethel College, keeps me young,” Eash said, “because I have students who are disciplined, who want to do well, who generally want to work hard. When you have those kinds of characteristics, you can really do some great things.”

Guest musicians for “Bethel Sings” are Matthew Lind, flute, and Rosa Lee, a member of the Bethel music faculty, piano, for several of the pieces. Rebecca Schrag, junior from Newton, also accompanies some of the pieces.

The program includes a Gregorian chant (Men’s Ensemble) and pieces by Ola Gjeilo, Moses Hogan, Javier Busto, Mack Wilberg and the women’s Americana group Joseph, among many others.

The weekend of concerts at Bethel also includes the Wind Ensemble, with special guests, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall.

Members of the Men’s Ensemble are Jesse Balzer, Hurley, South Dakota, Elijah Brockway, McPherson, Ian Cross, Benton, JB Davis, Amite, Louisiana, Caleb Epp, Marion, South Dakota, Adam Kroeker, Augusta, Noah Larson, Wichita, Micah Miller-Wyse, Hesston, and Zach Shima, Topeka.

Members of the Women’s Chorus are Cherish-Diamond Doku, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Jacklyn Gerk, Holyoke, Colorado, Anna Grimsley, Hesston, Krista Loomis, Walton, Araeleigha Marcy, Salina, Vivian Pham, Salina, Abigail Phillips, Maple Hill, Addie Regier, Newton, Madison Roth, Abilene, Merrick Schmitz, Wichita, Sarah Smith, Topeka, Chloe Wall, Goshen, Indiana, Alaina Weed, Wichita, Gabriele Westrich, Tonganoxie, and Briley Young, Wichita.

Members of the Concert Choir are Sarah Balzer, Inman, Elizabeth Friesen Birky, Denver, Sydney Bollinger, Lawrence, Sarah Booth, Goessel, Connor Born, North Newton, Elijah Brockway, McPherson, Stephanie Brown, Newton, Kim Carbonell, Wichita, Polly Carlson, Hurley, South Dakota, Carine Claassen, Whitewater, Candy Dao, Salina, Emily Epp, Marion, South Dakota, Leah Friesen, Henderson, Nebraska, Matthew Garber, Newton, DrewAnne Gatlin, Broadus, Montana, Dominick Geddert, Fresno, California, William Holdeman-Bass, North Newton, Reece Hiebert, Walton, Madison Hofer-Holdeman, Wichita, Kate Jolliff, Newton, Shekhinah Jones, Salina, Emily Knight, Moundridge, Nathan Kroeker, Augusta, Seth Larson, Wichita, Cayla Lawless, Burlingame, Garrett Lindley, Goddard, Alec Loganbill, Hesston, Sophia Minder, Lawrence, Lauren Nehrbass, Parsons, Abigail Phillips, Maple Hill, Nicholas Preheim, Peabody, Austin Regier, Newton, Connick Roe, Kingman, Bruce Rosario, Pollocksville, North Carolina, Callie Ross, Overland Park, Randall Schmidt, Lawrence, Michelle Schrag, Moundridge, Rebecca Schrag, Newton, Kylee Schunn, Whitewater, Tyler Shima, Topeka, Garrett Smith, Burrton, Bailey Strausz, Moundridge, Luke Unruh, Newton, Marieke Van Bergeijk, Hesston, Kendrick Weaver, Hesston, Anna Wiens, Goessel, Benjamin Wiens, Goessel, Kaci Wilson, Sterling, Serena Wong, North Newton, David Wullf-Cochrane, Edmond, Oklahoma, and Jayce Yoder, Topeka.

Members of Woven are Stephanie Brown, Polly Carlson, DrewAnne Gatlin, Madison Hofer-Holdeman, Emily Knight, Michelle Schrag, Rebecca Schrag, Kylee Schunn and Kaci Wilson.

Members of Open Road are Dominick Geddert, Nathan Kroeker, Alec Loganbill, Nicholas Preheim, Austin Regier, Randall Schmidt, Tyler Shima, Kendrick Weaver and David Wullf-Cochrane.

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

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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.