HESSTON, KAN. – The Lawrence Children’s Choir will take the stage at Hesston Mennonite Church for a 3 p.m. concert, Sunday, June 6. The concert is the final event in the 2009-10 Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts season.
After 19 years of touring to places such as New York, Los Angeles, Germany and Lithuania, the world-renowned Lawrence Children’s Choir (LCC) is set to embark on its most remarkable location yet – its home state.
“It thrills me,” said LCC Artistic Director Janeal Crabb Krehbiel. “I think we often forget about the importance of this beautiful state, with his prairies and hills, its unique and picturesque places. I’m happy to put our hard-earned tour money into the Kansas economy, and especially excited to share our repertoire with our fellow Kansans who appreciate the arts, while spreading the joy of music-making.”
Krehbiel is the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Bethel College Alumni Association, presented at the annual Alumni Banquet Saturday, May 22.
Other venues in LCC’s Kansas tour include the state Capitol rotunda, the Hoover Opera House in Junction City, Victoria’s St. Fidelis Catholic Church (Cathedral of the Plains) and Beloit’s St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
“We planned our tour around some of the beautiful and historic places of Kansas, so our students would learn about their state’s rich heritage,” said LCC Executive Director Jane Roesner Graves, a sixth-generation Kansan originally from Salina. “From cowboy singers and ‘Home on the Range’ to the immigrant songs of our ancestors who made Kansas the ‘breadbasket of the world’ [to] the quiet beauty of the Flint Hills – there’s much to appreciate about our state.”
“It’s a way to give back to Kansas – both through music and tourism dollars,” said Krehbiel. “As we kick off our 20th-anniversary season and celebrate Kansas’ 150th anniversary, we thought it would be a wonderful way to thank our home state for supporting us through the years.
“We’ve received international recognition as being one of the top children’s choirs in the United States,” she added, “so we’re invited to perform at many festivals and events. With this economy, however, we wanted our tour dollars to stay in Kansas, and of course the tour will be an exciting learning opportunity for our singers.”
The program features American masterpieces, folk songs, African-American spirituals and arrangements by Kansans. The Newton Community Children’s Choir will join LCC to perform a new arrangement of “Over the Rainbow” by Paul Epp. Epp grew up in Lawrence and is an alumnus of LCC. He is currently serving as adjunct faculty at Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, Tenn. The Newton choir will also join LCC in singing “Here’s To Song” by MacGillivray (arr. Adams).
“This is a real honor for the Newton Community Children’s Choir to be collaborating with the LCC in this way,” said Brenda Bartel, NCCC director. “The exposure to a large, experienced and renowned choir will no doubt inspire and encourage the singers of NCCC. Singing under the directorship of Janeal Krehbiel will also be an exceptional, educational and delightful experience.”
Tickets for the Hesston concert range from $12 to $15 with discounts available for students and senior citizens. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 620-327-8158 (Hesston College) or 316-284-5205 (Bethel College), e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or purchase online at www.hesston.edu/hbpa.
The Lawrence Children’s Choir is a not-for-profit organization that offers children vocal music education through its five choirs: Tour Choir, for students in grades 5-9; Choristers, for students in grades 3-6; Cadenza, for students in grades 1-3; Capo, for children in preschool through kindergarten (accompanied by a caregiver); and Senior Choir, for residents of a local retirement community. The combined choirs include 200 students from 20 schools in 10 communities in northeast Kansas.
The Lawrence Children’s Choir as part of HBPA is presented in part by the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes a great nation deserves great art, and is supported by Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kansas Arts Commission and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
The Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts series started in 1982 as Hesston Performing Arts (HPA) with funding and planning provided by Hesston College and the Hesston community. In 1998, HPA planners launched a partnership with Bethel College, North Newton, and the series name changed to Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts. Hesston College and Bethel College host five performances by world-renowned or regionally acclaimed artists each year.