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“Groundhog cellists” to gather on campus Feb. 2

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Whether he sees his shadow or not, when the groundhog pops his head up on Feb. 2, he might as well go to the cello festival at Bethel College named in his honor.

Bethel and Friends University in Wichita are co-hosting “Groundhog Cello Day” Saturday, Feb. 2, in Bethel’s Fine Arts Center. The event includes a competition for cello ensembles, cello clinics and a big cello recital in the evening.

The cello chamber competition, with $800 in prize money to be given out, begins at 10 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium. The public is invited to watch the competition. There is no admission charge.

Each chamber group that competes (either live or with a recording previously submitted) – whether cello quartet, string quartet or rock band – must include at least one cello and must play at least five minutes of music and no more than 15 minutes. Two $400 first prizes – in “alternative” (which can include rock, folk, electric, original compositions, etc.) and “classical” – will be awarded and the winning groups will play during the evening concert.

The lineup for the competition includes the following groups:

The Park Duo, from Park University in Parkville, Mo., consists of Jesse Henkensiefken and Katrin Dosina. They will play “Duet in C Major, Movement I, Allegro Moderato, and Movement II, Allegro” by Luigi Boccherini; “The Swan” by Camille Saint-Saëns, arranged by Ed Laut (one of the Groundhog Cello Day guest artists); and “Trepak” by Peter Tchaikovsky, arranged by Tatiana Michko.

The Sarch Trio is three Wichita State University student cellists – Quinn Lake, Stephen Palmer and Caitlyn Schmidt – who will play an original composition by Alexander Sarch, a friend of Palmer’s from Cornell University.

The Gram Cracker Quartet is cellists Madeline Harder, Grace Parker, Amanda Whittemore and Roni Worcester, students from Berean Academy in Elbing, Goddard High School, Horace Mann Middle School and Wichita East High School. They will play “Consecration Hymn” by Gruetzmacher.

A cello trio consisting of Joe Consiglio and Sarah Mathews with Caitlyn Schmidt will play “Barbie Girl!,” arranged by Consiglio. He and Mathews are students at Wichita East High School.

The Last, a group with Michael Gurley on percussion and guitar, Dan Overholt on cello, Jesse Parker on guitar, Keeler Russler on bass and Geoff Stanford on drums, will play “Ares,” an original composition by the band, and selected cover tunes. Band members are students at Wichita East High School.

Daniel Chaney and Anna Flora, homeschoolers from the Wichita area, will play “Six Duets For Two Cellos, Opus 156, #V,” a set of variations based on the hymn tune “Thine is the Glory.”

Cellos Forte, a quartet of Bethel College student cellists Bradley McKellip, Matt Moore, Parker Stanley and Terra Wiens, will perform a Metallica tune arranged for cello quartet by the well-known professional cello quartet Apocalyptica.

The Wichita East High School Cello Ensemble will play “Concerto in G Major, Movements II and III” by Georg Phillip Telemann. Members of the group are Adam Black, Joe Consiglio, Seth Girton, Serena Lui, Sarah Mathews, Dan Overholt and Sarah Yun.

The Sarany Piano Quartet from WSU is Sun-Hye, violin, Daniel Colwell, viola, Quinn Lake, cello, and Hyung-Gu Kim, piano. They will play Brahms’ “Piano Quartet in C Minor, Op. 60, Movement III, Andante.”

Audrey and Seth Girton, Wichita East students, and Terra Wiens will play an original work by Seth Girton that was inspired by a gift of a Tibetan singing bowl and is based on Tibetan chant. The piece features Seth on cello and also doing throat singing, Terra on cello and Audrey on the Tibetan singing bowl.

Anna Cook and Anthony Edmondson, from the Kansas City area, will play several tunes, Anna on electric cello and Anthony on piano.

The Bergen Bricoleur Band consists of four family members from North Newton – Deb Bergen on flute and keyboards, Erin Bergen on violin, clarinet and bass guitar, John Bergen on violin, upright bass, bass guitar and ukulele and Wes Bergen on cello, guitar and bass guitar. They will play a medley of hymn tunes.

The afternoon program, which is free and open to all cellists, will include a sight-reading session and two rehearsals for the Groundhog Cello Orchestra and “cello yoga” with Tanya Tandoc. William Lee & Sons will have string instruments and bows to try and Ed Laut of E&E Music LLC will have cello ensemble music for sale.

The Groundhog Cello Orchestra and the winning chamber groups will give a concert at 6:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium. The Groundhog Cello Orchestra is comprised of about 40 cellists from around the state, including Kansas City, Hutchinson, Salina, Newton and the Wichita area.

Coordinators for the Bethel/Friends Groundhog Cello Day are Susan Mayo, cello instructor at both Bethel and Friends, and Richard Tirk, Bethel College assistant professor of music and director of instrumental ensembles and music education at Bethel. For more information, contact Mayo at (316) 258-2342, (620) 983-2199 or

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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