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Orchestral concert at Bethel to feature work of local musicians

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The forthcoming Bethel College Chamber Orchestra and Wind Ensemble concert will feature a piece written by an area composer and a performance by one of the college’s own professors.

The Chamber Orchestra will perform John Mackey’s “Under the Rug,” Steve Bryant’s “Rise” and Miriam Overholt’s “Jig.” Overholt, a composer who lives in Wichita, will visit campus to work with the orchestra on her piece.

“She’ll be coming up to work with the students to provide some insight into the piece and into what it’s like to be a composer,” said orchestra and ensemble director Richard Tirk, assistant professor of music.

Following the Chamber Orchestra’s portion of the concert, the Wind Ensemble will perform Warren Benson’s “Solitary Dancer,” Ronald Lo Presti’s “Elegy for a Young American” and Donald Hunsberger’s arrangement of George Gershwin’s classic “Rhapsody in Blue.”

Karen Schlabaugh, professor of music at Bethel, will be the piano soloist for the Gershwin.

“‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is a wonderful piece that shows the influence of many styles popular in the 1920s – jazz, blues and popular songs,” said Schlabaugh. “It was called a ‘jazz concerto’ and was one of the first to combine elements of jazz and blues with more traditional classical music, something that would be continued by many later composers.”

Donald Hunsberger’s arrangement of the piece combines the original jazz band version written for the Paul Whiteman Band and the theater orchestra version, said Tirk.

“It’s a very challenging work and the students are doing an excellent job,” Tirk continued. “It will be a treat to hear it performed by Karen – she’s a wonderful musician.”

The event will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 29, in Krehbiel Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center. The concert is free and the public is invited to attend.

Members of the Wind Ensemble are: flutes Jana Jensen, junior from Prescott Valley, Ariz., Jennifer Regier, junior from Newton, Megan Schrag, sophomore from McPherson, Kayla Stone, freshman from Newton, and Erin White, sophomore from Bel Aire; oboes Leanne Reimer, freshman from Hesston, and Sharayah Williams, freshman from Kalona, Iowa; clarinets Megan Abrahams, junior from Canton, Daniel Graber, junior from Freeman, S.D., and Joel Linscheid, junior from North Newton; bass clarinet Kasey McClendon, sophomore from Cunningham; bassoons Rebecca Claassen, sophomore from Moses Lake, Wash., and Heather Robertsen, freshman from Hesston; alto saxophones Brett Jackson, junior from North Newton, Nikki Rodgers, junior from LeRoy, and Susan Schmeichel, sophomore from Hurley, S.D.; tenor saxophones Kyle Claassen, freshman from Andover, and Joel Linscheid; baritone saxophone Brent Badawieh, junior from Parsons; French horn Jesse Mueller, freshman from Halstead; trumpets Arlin Buller, guest artist from North Newton, Peter Goerzen, senior from Goessel, Aaron Linscheid, senior from North Newton, Austin McCabe-Juhnke, freshman from North Newton, David Mueller, freshman from Halstead, Kyle Unruh, freshman from Goessel, and Kelcy Voth, senior from Goessel; trombones Jerel Fast, senior from Boulder, Colo., Daniel Glascock, sophomore from Cunningham, Benjamin Harder, freshman from Hesston, Matthew Root, sophomore from Topeka, and Andrew Toews, junior from North Newton; baritone Natasha Esau, freshman from Hutchinson; tubas Joel Garber, senior from Hesston, and Mark Lyles, guest artist from North Newton; percussionists Matthew Hershberger, freshman from Clay Center, Blake Long, junior from Moran, John Murray, guest artist from Hesston, Anthony Redelfs, senior from Mansfield, Texas, Parker Stanley, senior from Liberty, Mo., and Nathaniel Yoder, freshman from Kalona, Iowa; and pianists Chelsea Vaught, senior from Henderson, Neb., Daniel Graber and Karen Schlabaugh.

Members of the Chamber Orchestra are: violins Elizabeth Lang, sophomore from Davenport, Iowa, Blaire Mayhue, freshman from North Newton, Isaac Olson, sophomore from Denver, Colo., Paul Regier, sophomore from Newton, and Kelsey Easterday, freshman from Manhattan; violas Emma Lewis, senior from Newton, Nicole Schmidt, freshman from Newton, and Amy Swartz, junior from Wichita; cellos Bradley McKellip, freshman from Newton, and Parker Stanley, senior from Liberty, Mo.; and basses Michael Voth, sophomore from Topeka, and Thomas Stoddard, freshman from Wichita.

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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