NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – When three Bethel College groups preview the concerts they’ve prepared for the 2008 meeting of the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA), they will also be performing the world premiere of a piece by a Wichita composer.
Bethel College’s Concert Choir, Jazz Ensemble I and Jazz Combo were selected to perform during the KMEA’s annual in-service workshop, Feb. 28-March 1 at the Century II Convention Center in downtown Wichita. On Sunday, Feb. 24, the groups will feature their KMEA programs in a free concert at 4 p.m. in Memorial Hall on the Bethel College campus.
One of the numbers the Concert Choir will sing is “Psalm 92” by Miriam Overholt, commissioned especially for Bethel College singers and music faculty. “Psalm 92” represents something of a departure for Overholt, who normally writes for band and orchestra. On Feb. 24, this piece will be done with student soloists Dan Graber, senior from Marion, S.D., piano, Brett Jackson, senior from North Newton, soprano saxophone, Joel Linscheid, senior from North Newton, alto saxophone, and Kelly Reed, sophomore from Edinburg, Texas, soprano vocals, with Nathaniel Yoder, sophomore from Kalona, Iowa, on rhythm. At KMEA, the piece will feature Soyoun Chun, Bethel College assistant professor of voice, soprano, James Pisano, assistant professor of music and director of jazz studies, clarinet, Karen Bauman Schlabaugh, professor of music, piano, and Richard Tirk, assistant professor of music and director of instrumental ensembles and music education, trumpet.
In addition to “Psalm 92,” the Concert Choir, directed by Professor of Music William Eash, will sing “Gloria” by César Alejandro Carrillo; “O Sacrum Convivium” by Javier Busto; the African-American spiritual “Deep River” arranged by Moses Hogan; “I thank You God for most this amazing day” by Eric Whitacre, based on a text by e.e. cummings; “Hard Times Come Again No More” by Stephen Foster, arranged by Mark Keller; and “Come Sunday” by Duke Ellington, arranged by Alice Parker.
Dan Graber, recipient of the Walter H. Hohmann Choral Conducting Endowed Scholarship at Bethel College, will direct “Deep River.” Joel Linscheid will direct “Come Sunday,” with Chelsea Chaffin, senior from Eudora, as alto vocal soloist and Brett Jackson on alto saxophone. The Concert Choir’s KMEA concert is at 3:55 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in Century II’s Mary Jane Teall Little Theater.
The jazz groups are directed by James Pisano. Jazz Ensemble I will play “Cottontail” by Duke Ellington; “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise” by Sigmund Romberg, arranged by Robert McCurdy; “Ask Me Now” by Thelonious Monk, arranged by Greg Yasinitsky; the traditional tune “Wade in the Water” arranged by Wendell Logan; and “Magic Flea” by Sammy Nestico. The Jazz Combo will play “Satin Doll” by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, arranged by Aaron Linscheid, fifth-year senior from North Newton. Jazz Ensemble I and Jazz Combo’s KMEA performance will perform at 11 a.m. March 1 in Hyatt Regency Ballrooms F-H.
The Bethel musicians join 46 other instrumental and vocal groups and ensembles from across the state, representing all age levels from elementary through collegiate. Every group that performs at the KMEA annual meeting is chosen by audition. The last time a Bethel College group was selected was 2003.