NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Bethel College Wind Ensemble’s second concert of the year will feature guest conductor Frank Battisti, along with talented high school instrumentalists from the local area and from Bixby High School in Bixby, Oklahoma.
The concert, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24 in Krehbiel Auditorium, caps a two-day honors band clinic that also includes a special session for band directors with Battisti.
Battisti, of Leverett, Massachusetts, is conductor emeritus of the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, which he founded in 1969 and led for 30 years.
Battisti’s name was the first and only recommendation that Westover received from his own teacher at Southern Methodist University, Jack Delaney, who had studied with Battisti.
“I didn’t think Frank Battisti would be available,” Westover said. “He’s one of the pioneers in our genre and one of the most influential figures in instrumental music education in America. In addition to conducting at the New England Conservatory, his high school band, from Ithaca, New York, is one of the most lauded programs of the 20th century. He is passionate about the value of the arts and classical music in schools.”
As it happened, Battisti was available and willing to come all the way to Kansas. His time at Bethel College is made possible with funding from the Greer Fine Arts Endowment, which helps bring visiting artists to campus once or twice each school year.
The first part of the Nov. 24 concert will be the Wind Ensemble, joined by 32 high school students. Twenty-one of them are from Bixby High School, which happened because of a Facebook query by Westover.
He was looking for the music to a particular piece by Charles Ives. The band director from Bixby responded, wondering if he could bring some students to the Nov. 23-24 Honors Band Clinic. Absolutely, said Westover.
The combined Bethel College Wind Ensemble and Honors Band will play “all American music, mostly from the 20th century,” Westover said. “The pieces by Persichetti and Schuman are really reflections on post-war patriotism.”
The Persichetti incorporates Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address. Mark Jantzen, Bethel professor of history, will be the narrator, reciting the address, which is regarded as one of Lincoln’s finest.
The ensemble will also play a piece by Augusta Read Thomas, one of the highest-regarded living American composers, and finish with the march by Ives.
The program is “Magneticfireflies” by Thomas; “When Jesus Wept (Prelude for Band)” and “Chester (Overture for Band)” by William Schuman; “A Lincoln Address, Op. 124a” by Vincent Persichetti; and “March Intercollegiate (Two-step for Band)” by Ives.
In the second half of the program, the Honors Band will play three movements from A Lincolnshire Posy by 20th-century English composer Percy Grainger.
Wind Ensemble personnel are: flutes, Neil Smucker, Newton, Makayla Epp, Marion, South Dakota, Koki Lane, North Newton, Kenna Graber (piccolo) and Kristin Shaffer; oboes, Jocelyn Wilkinson, Cindy Thompson and Alexandra Shoup, Newton (English horn); clarinets, Benjamin Wiens, Goessel, Jacob Anderson, Newton, Bryce Hostetler, Dodge City, Michelle Unruh (alto clarinet), Goessel, and Valerie Klaassen; bass clarinets, Paige Cooper, Hutchinson, Reece Hiebert (contra-alto clarinet), Walton, and Kaitlyn Scribner, Delia; bassoons, Elizabeth Schrag, Newton, and Jessie Pohl, Moundridge; saxophones, Westen Gesell (soprano and alto), Winnipeg, Manitoba, Ryan Fritz (tenor), Salina, Charles Ebeling (baritone), Hutchinson, and Tyler Gauldin; French horns, Timothy Regier, Newton, Brendan Bergen, Moundridge, Abby Phillips, Maple Hill, and Mirella Gauldin; trumpets, Braden Unruh, Goessel, Andrew Ewy, Parlier, California, Arlin Buller, Evan Koch and Conner Born; trombones, Andrew Thiesen, Newton, Issei Tsuji, Chiba, Japan, Benjamin Abel, Paola, Seth Larson, Wichita, and Joshua Janzen, Aurora, Nebraska; euphonium, Billie Selichnow, Wichita; tubas, Ben Carlson, Hurley, South Dakota, Shianne Defreese, Goessel, and Mark Lyles; percussion, Adam Voth, Derby, Riley King, Lawrence, Matthew Graber, Freeman, South Dakota, Leah Towle, Lawrence, and Kimberly Trujillo.
Honors band members are: flutes, Ally Carpenter and Kaitlyn Lister, Bixby High School, and Katelyn Terbovich, Newton High School; oboes, Julia Waldman, Bixby, and Bailey Tredway, Maize High School; clarinets, Emma Childs, Emry Peterson, Grace Haynes, Jessica Shipman and Katie Simpson, Bixby, and Sophia Minder, Lawrence High School; bassoon, Matt Iden, Bixby; saxophones, Jake Ginter, Bixby, and Makayla King, Goessel High School; French horns, Adam Kjellin, Marion High School, and Susan Rowe, Wichita Northwest High School; trumpets, Erica Madewell and Taylor Trent, Bixby, and Shalese Carter-Thompson, Wichita East High School; trombones, Erica Martin, Cody Fletcher, Cordel Hart and Gavin Moore, Bixby, Zach Wiens, Goessel, and Drake Bradford, Wichita East High School; euphoniums, Emma Claybrook, Maize, and Evan Marlette, Bixby; tubas, Jacob Pittman, Bixby, and Nate Crain, McPherson High School; and percussion, Parker Vincent, Reilly Jacobs and Zach Watkins, Bixby.
The late Dr. Robert C. Goering, a native of Moundridge and a 1948 Bethel graduate, and his wife Amparo Goering, Wichita, initiated the Greer Fine Arts Endowment at Bethel in 1979 in memory of Milford E. Greer, Jr. A close friend of the Goerings, Greer was interested in literature and music and excelled as an artist. He died in an auto accident in 1972 at age 45. The Greer Endowment helps bring visiting artists and scholars in the areas of music, visual arts or theater to the Bethel campus.
Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2014-15 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2014-15. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.