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Jazz groups to perform at WSU Jazz Fest

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. — Bethel College’s Jazz Ensemble I and Jazz Combo will perform before professional clinicians and jazz enthusiasts at Wichita State University’s Jazz Festival Friday, April 16.

Both Bethel groups will perform in the CAC Theater in Rhatigan Student Center on the WSU campus, Jazz Combo at 4:30 p.m. and Jazz I at 9 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. (For the location, see )

At the festival, Bethel will perform alongside ensembles from other universities including WSU and Kansas State – and this won’t be the first time.

“Bethel Jazz groups have gained quite a lot of respect and are always highly commended by the judges for solo and ensemble work,” said James Pisano, Bethel College director of jazz studies. “They also have remarked, on more than one occasion, that in addition, the Bethel groups look like they are having a lot of fun.”

The fun will continue this year with a diverse repertoire. Jazz Ensemble I will perform “Central Park North” and “Second Race” both by Thad Jones, “I’ve Got What?!” by Steve Owen, and “Off the Cuff” by Jim McNeely.

Jazz Combo will round off the performance with the pieces “Untitled” and “It’s No Body’s Fault But Mine” by Austin McCabe-Juhnke, senior from North Newton; “If I Only Had a Brain” by Harold Arlen, arranged by Bradley McKellip, senior from Newton; “Child’s Play” by Bethel composer-in-residence Paul Rudy, Kansas City; and “Straight, No Chaser” by Thelonious Monk, arranged by Nate Yoder, senior from Kalona, Iowa.

The Wichita Jazz Festival has been in existence since 1972 and has a long tradition of hosting concerts and clinics with local and national jazz artists. This year’s festival lasts from April 14-17 and will feature women in the arts and society.

Future events this school year for Bethel jazz groups include: Jazz Combo at Reba’s Restaurant, Newton, Saturday, May 1, starting at 9:30 p.m. ($3 cover); and Bethel Jazz Ensembles I and II with the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble (high school musicians), Wednesday, May 12, 8 p.m., for the annual Jazz on the Green concert. Jazz on the Green is held on the lawn outside the Administration Building and is free and open to the public – bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on. In case of inclement weather, the event will be in Memorial Hall.

Jazz Ensemble I personnel are: saxophones, Joel Boettger, freshman from Hesston, Evan Fast, senior from Goessel, Jordan Ortman, freshman from Marion, S.D., Camden Pankratz, sophomore from North Newton, and Paul Voran, freshman from Newton; trombones, Eric Goering, sophomore from McPherson, Benjamin Harder, senior from Hesston, and Christian Loganbill, senior from Wichita; French horn, Genevieve Rucker, junior from Lawrence; trumpets, Alex Boldt, junior from Parlier, Calif., Kyle Doesken, sophomore from Derby, Austin McCabe-Juhnke, senior from North Newton, and Kyle Unruh, senior from Goessel; drums, Nathaniel Yoder, Kalona, Iowa; bass, Landon Bartel, freshman from Newton; guitar, Bradley McKellip, senior from Newton; and piano, Benjamin Stucky, junior from Moon Township, Pa.

Jazz Combo personnel are Landon Bartel, Joel Boettger, Benjamin Harder, Austin McCabe-Juhnke, Bradley McKellip, Ben Stucky, Paul Voran and Nathaniel Yoder.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges profiled in Colleges of Distinction 2009-10. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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