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Spring Masterworks concert to have a theme of “Magnificat”

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The annual spring Masterworks concert at Bethel College, with the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, Bethel College Oratorio Chorus and soloists, will feature works by Bach, Mozart and Fasch.

The concert is at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 11, in Memorial Hall on the Bethel College campus. Tickets are $11 for adults and $9 for students and senior citizens, available at Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center on campus, or at the door.

The chorus and orchestra will perform Magnificat by Johann Sebastian Bach and Vesperae solennes de Confessore (Solemn Vespers) – which concludes with a setting of the Magnificat – by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In between, the orchestra will present Trumpet Concerto in D major by Johann Friedrich Fasch, featuring Richard Tirk, Bethel College assistant professor of music, as the trumpet soloist.

The conductor is Bethel College Professor of Music William Eash, who chooses the Masterworks program each year. By coincidence, a repertoire based around the Song of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as found in the Gospel of Luke, is being performed this year on Mother’s Day. (It was originally scheduled for May 4 but had to be postponed because of a Wichita Symphony Orchestra concert on that day.)

Eash is also planning a convocation, to be held Friday, May 9, at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium, in which three Bethel College professors will give reflections on Mary, looking at the image of “the mother of God” and her role in Christianity and the church. Christine Crouse-Dick, assistant professor of communication arts, Penelope Adams Moon, associate professor of history, and Ada Schmidt-Tieszen, professor of social work, will speak briefly, interspersed with selections from Bach’s Magnificat and the “Magnificat” portion of Mozart’s Solemn Vespers.

“The Magnificat is actually a very political, even subversive, text,” Eash noted. “[The government of] Guatemala banned public recitation of the Magnificat in the ’80s [during the civil war years].” Convocation is free and open to the public.

Eash also pointed out a special significance to Tirk’s solo in the Fasch Trumpet Concerto – this will be one of his last local performances, as he has accepted a position at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, beginning in the fall.

Vocal soloists for Bach’s Magnificat are sopranos Soyoun Lim Chun, Bethel College assistant professor of voice, and Carolyn Welch, Lawrence; alto Hannah Neufeld, rural Inman; tenor Joseph Perniciaro from Fort Hays State University; and bass Christopher Kliewer, Wichita.

Chun began teaching at Bethel College in fall 2006. She has her bachelor’s degree from Seoul National University and her master’s degree from the New England Conservatory and earned her doctorate with honors from the University of Kansas. Among her many solo and recital appearances are the Wichita Grand Opera and the renowned Cantata Singers Recital Series in Boston.

Welch holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in vocal performance from the University of Colorado, as well as a degree in music education. She has been teaching vocal music in the Lawrence Public Schools for the past 10 years. Welch appeared in a recital on campus in November with her daughter, Caitlin Linscheid, a 2008 Bethel graduate.

Neufeld graduated from Bethel College in 1999 and earned a Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Notre Dame. She currently teaches voice at Bethany College, Lindsborg, and is director of music at Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church in rural Inman.

Perniciaro is a cum laude graduate of Simpson College with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance and an honors graduate of the University of Houston with a Master of Music in vocal performance, and earned his Doctor of Musical Arts, also in performance, from Louisiana State University. He has sung with a number of opera companies in the South, Southwest and Midwest, including the Wichita Grand Opera. He is currently artist-teacher of voice and director of opera at Fort Hays State University.

Kliewer graduated from Bethel College in 1997 and earned a Master of Architecture at the University of Kansas. He will sing the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah later this spring at Bethel College Mennonite Church. He works as an architect with WDM Architects P.A. in Wichita, where his focus is on commercial project management and sustainable design.

Tirk completed a Music Education degree at the Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wis., and earned a master’s degree in trumpet performance from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. He held the post of principal trumpet with both the Saginaw Bay and Midland Symphony Orchestras, appearing with such artists as Doc Severinsen, Dave Brubeck and the Julliard String Quartet..

The Bethel College Oratorio Chorus is comprised of members of Bethel College’s four choral groups and singers from surrounding communities. Professionals, Bethel College students and area musicians make up the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets for the Masterworks concert are available during regular business hours, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., at Thresher Bookstore, phone (316) 284-5205, or at the door. All seats are general admission.

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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