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Wind Ensemble concert to feature guest composers, conductor

April 16th, 2018

by Sam Bertholf

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Bethel College Wind Ensemble welcomes four special guests for its second concert of the year.

The group, with conductor Adam V. Fontana, Bethel director of instrumental music, performs Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall.

The concert is free, with a freewill offering taken to support instrumental study and performance at the college.

There are five pieces by British and American composers on the program: “O Magnum Mysterium” by Morten Lauridsen; “We Seven” by Derek Jenkins; “Letters for Home” by Peter Meechan; "Flourish for Wind Band" by Ralph Vaughn Williams; and “Chester” by William Schuman.

Jenkins and Meechan will be present for the concert, as will Joseph Parisi, guest conductor. Also on the program is John McCabe-Juhnke, Bethel professor of communication arts, as the guest narrator for “Letters for Home.”

The Meechan piece, “Letters for Home,” is especially appropriate in this centennial year of the United States’ entry into World War I.

“It was inspired by World War I and the letters from soldiers on the battlefront to their families back home,” said Fontana.

Meechan, a British composer, has worked with the Dallas Symphony and the President’s Own Marine Band, among others. Jenkins is assistant professor of composition and theory at Arkansas State University.

Kaho Yanagidaira, junior from Newton and a member of the clarinet section, is looking forward to playing this piece, as well as to having the guests on campus.

“‘We Seven’ is really cool and will bring you into a cosmic space,” she said.

“I am very excited to have the very composers who wrote the pieces we are performing come and conduct,” she added. “It has been a blessing for me to make music with the amazing fellow musicians and Dr. Fontana.”

Fontana described Joseph Parisi as “one of the biggest heroes in the instrumental music field right now, and music education in general.”

He is director of instrumental music and associate director of bands at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Fontana believes that having these guests on campus provides a great opportunity for the Wind Ensemble to learn and grow.

“I think it is only going to up our game and it is going to be something cool to be a part of,” he said.

The public can watch and learn alongside the Wind Ensemble at an open rehearsal, Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. in Memorial Hall. This will also include a question-and-answer period with the composers and Parisi.

It’s a musical weekend at Bethel – in addition to the Wind Ensemble concert Nov. 4, Bethel choral groups give their annual “Bethel Sings” performance Nov. 5 at 3 p.m. at Bethel College Mennonite Church.

Wind? ?Ensemble? ?personnel are: flutes, Chloe LaCombe, Abilene, Matthew Lind, Newton, Jesus Martinez, Newton, Neil Smucker, North Newton, and Mackenzie Young, Peabody; clarinets, Sarah Balzer, Inman, Paige Cooper, Hutchinson, Juliana Drouhard, Hesston, Reece Hiebert, Walton, Jessica LaRocque, Cawker City, Anna Lubbers, Peabody, Sarah Turner, North Newton, Ben Wiens, Goessel, and Kaho Yanagidaira, Newton; 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, Ben Abel, Paola, Adam Kroeker, Augusta, Nate Kroeker, Augusta, and Seth Larson, Wichita; horns, Abby Phillips, Maple Hill, Anna Wiens, Goessel, and Jennifer Meysing, Goessel; euphoniums, Brendan Ostlund, Mount Hope, and Nicholas Preheim, Peabody; and percussion, Shawn Bontrager, North Newton, MacKenzi Eisenbraun, Shawnee, Charles Lenley, Kansas City, Missouri, Laura Schaar, Valley Center, Micah Miller Wyse, Hesston, and Eli Brockway (bass), McPherson.

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.