The study of voice at Bethel College is a dynamic and engaging learning experience. Coordinated by Dr. Soyoun Chun, a graduate of the New England Conservatory and the University of Kansas, students are actively shaped and nurtured in the vocal experience. Singers perform annual recitals and serve as soloists in orchestral and choral performances. A fully orchestrated and staged musical theater or complete opera work is performed each year. Recent productions include Into the Woods, the first regional production of The Light in the Piazza and The Magic Flute.
Bethel College singers are encouraged to participate in the annual National Association of the Teachers of Singing (NATS) voice competition. Bethel’s studio singers are have done exceptionally well in this regional competition. In 2009, five singers placed in the semifinals and, in the finals, Bethel singers earned third and fifth place. In 2010, four singers were invited to sing the semi-final round in the classical and musical theater categories, with a Bethel College senior winning first place in the men’s senior classical competition. In 2011, a freshman won the finals in both classical and music theater. In 2012, a sophomore placed fourth in classical and a senior in musical theater.
Many Bethel College graduates have had significant success in the music profession, attending graduate schools and/or serving as music teachers at the K-12 and collegiate levels. Alumni representatives in the music field include:
- Dr. Paul Crabb (University of Missouri)
- Janeal Krehbiel (retired, Lawrence [Kan.] Children’s Choir)
- Dr. Paul Wiens (retired, Wheaton [Ill.] College)
- Dr. Doyle Preheim (retired, Goshen [Ind.] College)
- Greg Bontrager (past president, KCDA, Inman [Kan.] High School)
- Steve Miller (Senseney Music, Wichita)
- Garret Epp (Olathe [Kan.] North High School, Kansas City Chorale)
- Joel Linscheid (principal saxophone, Glenn Miller Orchestra)
- J. Harold Moyer (Bethel College [Ks.]), composer
- Paul Rudy (University of Missouri-Kansas City), composer
In professional theater, Bethel alumnus Arthur W. Marks has sung with orchestras throughout the United States and in numerous international venues, and he is in great demand as a choreographer. In addition, he performed in off-Broadway productions of SIDD, The Screams of Kitty Genovese and Backstage at the Funky B. His work in regional musical theater is substantial. He was featured as the
Ugly Duckling in HONK! and his vocal work in that production resulted in the first American cast recording of the musical with Music Theater of Wichita.
Bethel alumna Rachel de Benedet has appeared with Nathan Lane as
Morticia in the Broadway production of The Addams Family. She created the role of
Paula Abagnale in the world premiere of Catch Me If You Can, played at the Chicago Goodman Theater in the world premiere of Turn of the Century and spent nine months in the role of
Guenevere in the recent national tour of Camelot. Other Broadway appearances include
Muriel in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,
Diana in Nine and The Sound of Music, in which she also toured as
Elsa, winning the JUDY award. Among her recordings are Adrift in Macao, Three Musketeers, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Nine and Carols for a Cure 2003, 2005 and 2006.
In May 2013, Rachel de Benedet and Arthur Marks were featured in Bethel College’s 125th-anniversary celebration choral masterworks concert with the Bethel College Oratorio Chorus and the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra.