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Verdi’s “Requiem” to be spring Masterworks performance at Bethel

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The spring Masterworks concert at Bethel College returns to its traditional Mother’s Day spot on the calendar (May 10) for a second consecutive year.

The Bethel College Oratorio Chorus, consisting of members of all Bethel student choirs along with community singers, with soloists and the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, will perform Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem in Memorial Hall on the Bethel campus, Sunday, May 10, at 4 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and $6 for non-Bethel students. Bethel College faculty, staff and students pay $5.

Verdi’s Messa de Requiem is a musical setting of the Roman Catholic funeral mass. Verdi completed it in April 1874 and conducted the first performance May 22, 1874, in Milan. Before composing the Requiem, Verdi was known exclusively for his operas, and much of his operatic skill comes through in the Requiem. Vigorous rhythms, sublime melodies and dramatic contrasts – all elements of Verdi’s operatic works – express the powerful emotions conveyed by the text, and it is not uncommon for the Verdi Requiem to be described as “opera for the church.”

Conductor for this Masterworks performance is William Eash, Bethel College professor of music, who chooses the music to be performed for the event each year. Eash is the director of choral activities at Bethel, where he is responsible for four choirs. He also teaches conducting and music history. He graduated from Bluffton (Ohio) College with a bachelor’s degree in music performance (voice and string bass), studied voice at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Austria, and completed his master’s and doctoral degrees in choral conducting at the University of Iowa.

Verdi’s Requiem calls for four soloists, who in the Bethel performance will be Soyoun Lim Chun, soprano, Karen Archbold, alto, David Adams, tenor, and Matthew Scrivner, bass.

Soyoun Chun is assistant professor of music and instructor of voice at Bethel College. She has performed in a variety of settings, from opera to solo recitals, with orchestras and in chamber music settings. Chun earned a D.M.A. with honors at the University of Kansas and has her Master’s of Music from the New England Conservatory and her B.A. from Seoul National University. She has also participated in master classes at the famed Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.

Karen Archbold completed her undergraduate education at Southwestern College in Winfield. She recently moved to Wichita from Bremen, Germany, where she studied at the Hochschule für Künste and participated in numerous productions. She appeared this year as Buttercup in the Wichita Grand Opera’s production of HMS Pinafore. Among many recent solo appearances was the Verdi Requiem with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.

David Adams has performed throughout the United States and Europe, specializing in the music of Handel, Mozart and Rossini. He possesses an extensive list of opera roles and oratorio solo performances, including, among many others, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and the Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. American companies with which he has performed include the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and Syracuse Opera. Adams may be heard as the Celebrant in Rachmaninov’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom on a critically acclaimed recording by the Kansas City Chorale for Nimbus Records.

Matthew Scrivner is currently studying for degrees of Master of Music Performance in voice and Master of Music (musicology) at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, having previously graduated from Washburn University, Topeka, with bachelor’s degrees in music performance and German. Since his arrival at the conservatory in the fall of 2007, he has sung several opera roles and performed as bass soloist for Bach’s Christ lag in Todesbanden. With the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Scrivner sang in the premier of the opera John Brown and in a production of The Pirates of Penzance.

The Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, now in its 52nd season, is a non-profit organization that promotes and supports the performance of orchestral music for south central Kansas audiences. NMKSO is comprised of musicians from the Newton, Harvey County and the surrounding area, including professional musicians, music educators, community players and advanced high school and college students.

Tickets for the Masterworks concert are available at Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center on the Bethel College campus during regular business hours, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 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 only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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