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Bethel Quartet to give "French-flavored" spring recital

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- The Bethel Quartet’s spring recital will have more than a little French flavor. The Bethel Quartet, established in fall 2001, consists of string instructors at Bethel College and the Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts in Newton, who are also members of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.

Nancy Johnson, first violin, is the principal second violin with the Wichita Symphony. Rebecca Schloneger, second violin, directs the Suzuki violin program for BCAPA. Both Kay Buskirk, viola, and Susan Mayo, cello, also teach at Friends University.

The quartet will perform Thursday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Administration Building chapel on the Bethel College campus. The recital is free and open to the public.

Joining them will be guest performers Karen Bauman Schlabaugh, Bethel College professor of music, on piano; Richard Tirk, Bethel College assistant professor of music, on trumpet; and Bethel College/BCAPA instructor and Wichita Symphony member Eric Crawford on bass.

The recital will include works by French composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The quartet will perform Maurice Ravel’s "String Quartet in F," written in 1903. Johnson and Schlabaugh will play Ernest Chausson’s "Poeme," from 1897. The entire group will finish with Camille Saint-Saëns’ "Septet for Trumpet, Strings and Piano," written in 1881.

"While all three works demonstrate French style, Saint-Saëns was a traditionalist and was not fond of the modern movement," said Johnson. "Ravel was considered an ‘ultramodernist’ in his time, using unresolved dissonance and pandiatonicism [a compositional technique that adheres to the diatonic scale, but unconventionally]. Chausson was perhaps the most grounded in Romantic tradition. He was a student of Massenet and influenced by Wagner--his music is nonetheless clearly French in its elegance and clear structure."

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel web site at

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