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Schlabaugh and Tirk to conduct mini-tour in the upper Midwest

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Last January’s mini-tour in Colorado was so much fun, two Bethel College music faculty decided to do it again, this time in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Bethel College professor of music Karen Bauman Schlabaugh, piano, and assistant professor of music Richard Tirk, trumpet, will conduct several master classes and give recitals featuring 21st-century composers, including a brand new work by Los Angeles composer Jeff Kurtenacker.

Schlabaugh and Tirk will perform first in Yoder Recital Hall on the Bluffton (Ohio) University campus, Sunday, Jan. 13, at 2:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.

They will hold a master class Monday, Jan. 14, from 4-5 p.m., also in Yoder Recital Hall. For more information, call (419) 358-3000.

Tuesday, Jan. 15, Tirk and Schlabaugh will perform in the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Tirk’s alma mater. The concert starts at 8:15 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

They will conduct a master class the following day from 5-7 p.m. in the recital hall. Call (269) 387-4667 for more information.

The tour concludes Jan. 17 with a free public performance at another institution where Tirk studied, Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wis. He and Schlabaugh will perform at 11 a.m. in the Lawrence University Chapel. The contact number for that event is (920) 832-7000.

The two musicians are also planning stops at several high schools, including Bluffton High School, in conjunction with their performances.

Karen Bauman Schlabaugh has degrees from Oberlin (Ohio) College, Ithaca (N.Y.) College and the University of Iowa and spent a semester studying at the Royal College of Music in London with the support of an Alumni Fellowship from Oberlin. She has been chair of Bethel’s music department since 1998. Her current teaching assignments include piano, music theory and music history, as well as involvement in a piano pedagogy program. Schlabaugh performs frequently as a soloist and chamber musician.

Richard Tirk has degrees from Lawrence Conservatory of Music, Western Michigan University and Michigan State University. While studying, Tirk was active as a performer in mid-Michigan, holding the post of principal trumpet with both the Saginaw Bay and Midland Symphony Orchestras. He has performed with such artists as Doc Severinsen, Dave Brubeck and the Julliard String Quartet. He is currently director of instrumental ensembles and music education at Bethel, a position he assumed in fall 2005. He recently earned the position of principal trumpet for the Wichita Grand Opera.

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 was the highest ranked Kansas college in the national liberal arts category of U.S. News & World Report’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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