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Westen Gesell to give senior recital

April 26th, 2018

Westen Gesell playing his saxophone

Bethel College student Westen Gesell will give his senior saxophone recital May 5 at 6 p.m. in the Administration Building chapel.

Gesell, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is a student of James Pisano, Bethel College associate professor of music and director of jazz studies.

Gesell will graduate from Bethel in May with degrees in music (performance) and biology.

The first half of Gesell’s program will comprise Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, Opus 19 by Paul Creston, and Concert in E-flat major, Opus 109, by Alexander Glazunov.

His piano accompanist is Rosa Lee, Bethel associate professor of music.

For the second half, Gesell will be joined by Bethel College Jazz Combo I.

The set list for this includes two of Gesell’s original compositions, “Jaunt” and “Night Walker,” along with “Lush Life” by Billy Strayhorn and “Cherokee” by Ray Noble.

In addition to Gesell on tenor sax, Jazz Combo I is Neil Smucker, alto sax, Evan Koch, trumpet and flugelhorn, Eli Brockway, bass, Jayce Yoder, guitar, Chuck Lenley, drums, and Ian Gingrich-Gaylord, piano.

Gesell is a 2013 graduate of Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg. His parents are Charlotte Gesell and Randall Gesell of Winnipeg.

At Bethel, Gesell has been a member of the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble I for five years, Jazz Combo I for four years and the Bethel College Concert Choir for three years.

Gesell’s May 5 recital is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in The Meeting Place, in the Ad Building basement.

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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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.