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Distinguished Achievement Award winner shares her love of singing

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Janeal Crabb Krehbiel, Lawrence, Bethel College’s Distinguished Achievement Award winner for 2010, has spent a career teaching children to sing and to love music.

Krehbiel graduated “with distinction” from Bethel College in 1968 with a B.A. in music, and earned a master’s degree in music education from Wichita State University. She taught elementary vocal music in the Denver public schools, vocal music at Hesston High School, and Grade 7, 8 and 9 music in the Lawrence public schools. Before moving to Lawrence, she served 18 years as children’s choir director at Bethel College Mennonite Church.

Krehbiel and her sister, Bethel alumna Marilyn Crabb Epp, co-founded the Lawrence Children’s Choir in 1991. Krehbiel serves as LCC director and Epp as tour choir accompanist. Under Krehbiel’s leadership, the choir has sung at a number of regional and national conventions for choir directors and music educators. It was the featured choir for the “World’s Largest Concert” on PBS in 1994 and, in 1998, the artist-in-residence choir for the North Carolina Summer Institute of the Choral Art. In 2000 and 2007, the choir sang the featured concert at Carnegie Hall for the FSI Festival, where Krehbiel was the conductor of the National Children’s Choir. The choir performed at St. Martin-in-the-Field and St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, in 2003, toured Germany in summer 2005, was one of four American choirs to sing at the International Choral Festival in Missoula, Mont., in summer 2006, and was the “Premier Choir” for the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) 50th annual conference in Oklahoma City in 2009.

The Lawrence Children’s Choir will do a Kansas tour June 4-10 to usher in its 20th anniversary season. The tour includes a concert in the Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts Series Sunday, June 6, at 3 p.m. at Hesston Mennonite Church; call 620-327-8158 or e-mail for more information.

In addition to her work with the Lawrence Children’s Choir, Krehbiel is a clinician and festival director throughout the United States. She was a member of the Chorister’s Guild Board of Directors and has been the featured clinician at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn.; Montreat (N.C.) Music Conference; Westminster Choir College, Princeton, N.J.; and the North Carolina Summer Institute of the Choral Art. She has held seminars at colleges and universities, directed camps and festivals and published many articles about choral music for children and youth.

Krehbiel is an active member of ACDA (for which she is a past president of the Kansas chapter), MENC (the National Association for Music Educators), Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) and Chorus America. She organized the Kansas Honors Children’s Choir and directs regional and all-state honors choirs for children and junior high students throughout the United States. In July 1999, Krehbiel’s colleagues in the Kansas chapter of ACDA awarded her the Harry Robert Wilson Award, recognizing her outstanding contribution to choral music, and in December 1999, she was honored as Outstanding Middle Level Music Educator for Northeastern Kansas. In March 2009, she taught and conducted in Singapore.

Janeal and Randall Krehbiel, a 1966 Bethel graduate, have two daughters, Heather McDonough and Melissa Krehbiel, and three grandchildren.

The Distinguished Achievement Award, presented by the Bethel College Alumni Association, acknowledges character and citizenship, achievement in a chosen profession or vocation, and work of benefit to humanity.

Krehbiel and other alumni award winners will be honored at the annual Alumni Banquet Saturday, May 22, at 6 p.m. in Memorial Hall on the Bethel College campus. To make a reservation, visit or phone Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center, Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 316-284-5205. Cost of the banquet is $18 per person if paying by May 7, $20 regular price, May 10-12. Payment or credit card information is required when the reservation is made. (No refunds can be given after May 14, since the Alumni Office will have been charged for reserved meals by that date.) Attenders receive a nametag at the door that serves as their banquet ticket.

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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