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Music faculty to reprise mini-tour recitals

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College music faculty members Karen Bauman Schlabaugh and Richard Tirk, joined by two Wichita university faculty musicians, will give a free recital Monday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Administration Building chapel on the Bethel College campus.

In mid-January, Schlabaugh, piano, and Tirk, trumpet, did a mini-tour in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. They conducted master classes and gave recitals at three educational institutions – Bluffton (Ohio) University and two of Tirk’s alma maters, Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wis.

The tour recitals featured 21st-century composers, including the world premiere at Bluffton’s Yoder Recital Hall of “Elements” by Los Angeles composer Jeff Kurtenacker.

Tirk describes the Bethel recital as a “coda” to the mini-tour. The program will be the same, except for the replacement of one piece with a trumpet trio, “Triangles” by Thomas Stevens. Tirk will be joined in this by Don Duncan, professor of trumpet at Wichita State University and principal trumpet for the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, and Gary Leopold, professor of trumpet at Friends University.

Schlabaugh is professor of music at Bethel College. She has degrees from Oberlin (Ohio) College, Ithaca (N.Y.) College and the University of Iowa and studied at the Royal College of Music in London. 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.

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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