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Concert Choir spring tour to include venue in Canada

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College’s Concert Choir will complete an “exchange” with Canadian Mennonite University, whose CMU Singers performed at Bethel two years ago, with a visit to the Winnipeg, Manitoba, campus.

The choir’s concert at CMU is part of the annual spring break tour that will also take the singers to Mennonite churches and schools in Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, as well as St. Joseph Cathedral in Sioux Falls, S.D., and the campus of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.

The choir will begin its tour Friday evening, March 28, with a concert at Manhattan (Kan.) Mennonite Church (1000 Fremont Ave.) at 7:30 p.m. They will travel to Sioux Falls the next day, Saturday, March 29, for a 7:30 p.m. concert at St. Joseph Cathedral (521 North Duluth).

Sunday, March 30, the choir will sing in the Freeman, S.D., area, in the Sunday morning worship services of Salem Mennonite Church (28103 443rd Ave.) at 9:30 and Salem-Zion Mennonite Church (27844 443rd Ave.) at 10:30. There will be a full concert at Salem-Zion Mennonite Church at 7 that evening.

Monday, March 31, the choir will travel to southern Manitoba for a 7 p.m. concert in Laudamus Auditorium in Founders Hall at Canadian Mennonite University (500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg).

Wednesday, April 2, the choir will sing a benefit concert at 7:30 p.m. for the Twin Cities Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale in the Chapel of the Incarnation at Luther Seminary. The chapel is located in the Olsen Student Center at 1490 Fulham, the corner of Fulham and Hendon Ave., in St. Paul. Luther Seminary is also where Emmanuel Mennonite Church meets.

Thursday, April 3, the choir will be in Mountain Lake, Minn., to sing at First Mennonite Church (305 North Seventh Street) at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, April 4, the choir will sing at 1:45 p.m. at Iowa Mennonite School in Kalona (1421 540th Street SW) and at 7:30 p.m. at West Union Mennonite Church in Parnell (3253 305th Street).

The tour will begin to wrap up in Nebraska, with the choir singing at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at First Mennonite Church in Beatrice (6714 West State Highway 4). Sunday, April 6, the choir will sing in the 9:30 a.m. worship service at Bethesda Mennonite Church in Henderson (930 16th Street, Henderson).

The tour will end with the traditional home concert in Memorial Hall at Bethel College at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 6.

The choir’s repertoire includes “Ubi caritas” by David C. Dickau; “I’m going to sing” by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw; “Singet dem Herrn” by Johann Pachelbel; “Alleluia” by Johann Hermann Schein; “Morgenlied” by Josef Rheinberger; “Psalm 92” by Miriam Overholt (commissioned for the 2007-08 Bethel College Concert Choir and premiered at Bethel College, Feb. 27, 2008); “Hear my prayer” by Henry Purcell; “Warum toben die Heiden” by Heinrich Schutz; “Gloria” by César Alejandro Carrillo; “O sacrum convivium” by Javier Busto; “Lamb of God” by Jon Washburn; “Softly and tenderly” by William L. Thompson (arr. René Clausen); “I thank you god” by Eric Whitacre; “Come Sunday” by Duke Ellington; “Precious Lord” by Thomas Dorsey (arr. Thomas Bryant); “Deep River” by Moses Hogan; “Hard times” by Stephen Foster (arr. Mark Keller)

Assistant conductors are Daniel Graber, recipient of the Walter H. Hohmann Choral Conducting Endowed Scholarship at Bethel College, and Joel Linscheid. Student musicians are Brett Jackson and Joel Linscheid (saxophones), Daniel Graber (piano) and Nathaniel Yoder (percussion). Rehearsal accompanists are Kelsey Easterday, Aimee Siebert, Lindsey Ortman, Joshua Powell and Daniel Graber. Student tour coordinator is Caitlin Buerge.

All of the choir’s concerts are free and open to the public. Freewill offerings will sometimes be taken.

Concert Choir personnel are: Holly Anthony, freshman from Sterling; Brittany Baker, junior from Kingman; Allison Banman, sophomore from Hillsboro; Alex Boldt, freshman from Parlier, Calif.; Caitlin Buerge, senior from Kansas City, Mo.; MeLissa Carter, senior from Newton; Chelsea Chaffin, senior from Eudora; Kate Duncan, senior from Kansas City, Kan.; Kelsey Easterday, sophomore from Manhattan; Evan Fast, sophomore from Goessel; Andrew Findley, senior from Coffeyville; Elizabeth Friesen, sophomore from Littleton, Colo.; Julie Fromm, senior from Newton; Daniel Graber, senior from Marion, S.D.; Chelsea Hahn, senior from North Newton; Benjamin Harder, sophomore from Hesston; Brett Jackson, senior from North Newton; Adam Larson, sophomore from Lena, Ill.; Kate Larson, senior from Clay Center; Joel Linscheid, senior from North Newton; Austin McCabe-Juhnke, sophomore from North Newton; Andrea Nickel, senior from Windsor, Colo.; Caley Ortman, senior from Marion, S.D.; Lindsey Ortman, sophomore from Marion, S.D.; Joshua Powell, sophomore from Basehor; Kelly Reed, sophomore from Edinburg, Texas; Leanne Reimer, sophomore from Hesston; Heather Robertsen, sophomore from Newton; Ben Santos, sophomore from Smithville, Mo.; Susan Schmeichel, junior from Hurley, S.D.; Monica Schmidt, freshman from Mount Hope; Charles Schrag, senior from Freeman, S.D.; Greg Shelly, sophomore from Lenexa; Aimee Siebert, sophomore from Topeka; Laurie Steffen, senior from Cunningham; Caleb Stephens, freshman from Lawrence; Kyle Unruh, sophomore from Goessel; Michael Unruh, senior from Peabody; Brittany Voth, sophomore from Goessel; Michael Voth, junior from Topeka; Kristin Wedel, senior from Hutchinson; Max Wedel, junior from Tucson, Ariz.; John Wiens, senior from Goessel; Sharayah Williams, sophomore from Kalona, Iowa; Oliver Whitney, freshman from Peabody; and Nathaniel Yoder, sophomore from Kalona, Iowa.

William Eash directs choral activities at Bethel College, where he is responsible for four choirs. He also teaches conducting and music history. He has been at Bethel College since 1999. Eash is a graduate of Bluffton (Ohio) College with a bachelor’s degree in music performance (voice and string bass). He studied voice at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and completed his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Iowa.

Eash taught at Iowa Mennonite School in Kalona from 1976-79 and 1980-84. While at IMS, Eash also founded the Eastern Iowa Men’s Chorus, the Kalona Community Choir and the Kalona Chamber Orchestra and directed the Mid-Prairie Children’s Choir.

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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