NORTH NEWTON, KAN., AND HESSTON, KAN. – Bethel College and Hesston College will hold a joint celebration and worship service remembering the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday evening, January 15. The 7 p.m. service will be held in Bethel College’s Memorial Hall.
This marks the beginning of cooperation on King Day celebrations for the two colleges. Next year’s event is planned for the new sanctuary now under construction at Hesston Mennonite Church.
The service will include a variety of music, including the gospel choir ARISE (African-Americans Renewing Interest in Spirituals Ensemble) from Wichita under the direction of Josephine Brown. Hesston College artist-in-residence and internationally acclaimed baritone Tony Brown and Hesston College sophomore Crystal Steiner, Orrville, Ohio, will sing “Each Other’s Light,” the title song from Brown’s 2006 CD, written by a friend of Brown’s, violinist Alia Gonzalez of Houston.
A college-community choir directed by Huron Breaux, Wichita, and a children’s choir, directed by Bethel College faculty member Jennifer Chappell Deckert, will perform. In addition, the children will dance to a number by ARISE, with choreography by Peggy Mead-Finizio, director of the department of dance for Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts and instructor of theater and dance at Bethel. Mead-Finizio is serving as technical director and creative consultant for the King Day celebration.
The program will also include instrumental musicians Breaux on piano, Nathan Webb, Newton, on bass, DeAndre Manning, Wichita, on drums, and Stephan Dailey, Wichita, and Jacob Webb, Newton, on keyboards; a reader’s theater performed by students from both colleges; and a photo montage of images from the life and ministry of Martin Luther King Jr., compiled by Mead-Finizio.
The guest speaker will be Rob Simon, Wichita, director of Programs and Diversity Training for the National Conference of Community and Justice. He is a singer, writer and motivational speaker and is known to many as a commentator for KMUW-FM, Wichita Public Radio.
The King Day celebration is free and open to the public.