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Well-traveled and widely recorded trumpeter to be guest artist

March 6th, 2019

Clay Jenkins, trumpet

One more chance to hear Clay Jenkins, with Bethel College Jazz Ensemble I tonight in Krehbiel Auditorium.

The jazz studies department has a tradition of hosting renowned jazz artists, and Joel Boettger, interim director of the program, is keeping that up.

Jenkins joined the Joel Boettger Quartet March 11 in Mojo’s Coffee Shop.

March 12, Jenkins will be the special guest of Jazz I, which Boettger directs, at 7:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center.

The performance opens with Jazz Combo I playing two original charts by combo members Neil Smucker and Jayce Yoder.

Both events are free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken at the March 12 concert to support jazz study and performance at Bethel College.

Boettger has a Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where he met first met Jenkins, who teaches there.

“I was in a combo with him one semester,” Boettger recalls. “I went to him a fair amount for advice about school and life.

“He’s really down to earth, and has an intense amount of perseverance. [His advice was] ‘Keep going, keep doing, it’ll work out,’ and that’s exactly what I needed.”

Boettger knew spring break at Eastman was coming up, so he asked Jenkins if he would consider being a Bethel guest artist, and Jenkins agreed immediately.

The Joel Boettger Quartet, playing with Jenkins March 11, is Boettger on saxophone; Kimberly Garey Trujillo, Bethel percussion instructor, on drums; Dale Black, a studio musician from Wichita, on bass; and John Goering, who leads the salsa group Banda Hispanica at Wichita State University, on piano.

Bethel Jazz I is: saxophones, Neil Smucker, senior from North Newton, AJ Dugan, freshman from Walton, Caleb Abbott, sophomore from Wichita, Tom Tien Lo and Matt Lind; trumpets, Connor Born, senior from North Newton, Gabe Johnson, senior from Abilene, Alec Loganbill, senior from Hesston, and Brad Shores; trombones, Billie Selichnow, senior from Wichita, Adam Kroeker, sophomore from Augusta, Nate Kroeker, senior from Augusta, and Jerod Kaufman, freshman from Moundridge; tuba, Trae Gehring, freshman from Pretty Prairie; piano, Ian Gingrich-Gaylord; bass, Eli Brockway, senior from McPherson; guitar, Jayce Yoder, senior from Topeka; and drums and auxiliary percussion, Shawn Bontrager, junior from North Newton, and Chuck Lenley, junior from Kansas City, Mo.

“The quartet will be playing some standards and some of my originals,” Boettger says. “With the big band, there are a few charts that were written for him and haven’t even been recorded yet, and also some of his work that was arranged for big band.”

Jenkins has an undergraduate degree from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas), Denton, where he studied trumpet with John Haynie.

He was a student of James Stamp and, at the University of Southern California, Boyde Hood. He earned a master’s degree at USC, and is currently associate professor of jazz trumpet at Eastman.

Jenkins has played with the Stan Kenton Orchestra (he appear on three of the group’s live albums), the big bands of Harry James and Buddy Rich, and the Count Basie Orchestra.

In addition to teaching, Jenkins maintains an active performance and recording schedule. He has performed and given clinics all over the United States and Canada, as well as in Japan, Italy, Korea, Germany, Portugal, Russia and South Africa.

His solo recordings include Rings, Give and Gather, Yellow Flowers After, Azure Eyes, Blues State and Good Signs, on the Jazz Compass label.

His ensemble with co-leader Kim Richmond has released two recordings, Range and Look at the Time.

Jenkins has also recorded with Milt Jackson, Harold Danko, Rich Perry, the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Trio East, Billy Harper, Lyle Mays, Peter Erskine, Ray Brown, Dr. John, Bob Sheppard, Jim Widner, Eric Reed, Moacir Santos, Gary Hobbs, Bill Perkins, Joe LaBarbera, John LaBarbera, Pat LaBarbera, Bill Cunliffe, Billy Childs, Steve Houghton, Lennie Niehaus, Ernestine Anderson, Kurt Elling, Diana Krall and Miki Coltrane.

Jenkins' visit to Bethel is made possible in part by a gift from the estate of Ruth Linscheid, a Bethel graduate, the mother and grandmother of Bethel graduates, and a music lover. Linscheid especially loved watching her grandsons Aaron Linscheid and Joel Linscheid perform and attended all their concerts when they were members of Bethel jazz ensembles.

Bethel College is the only Kansas private college listed in the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, both for 2018-19. 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.