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Concert Choir will join conductor’s debut with Wichita Symphony

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – When Daniel Hege, a Bethel College graduate, makes his debut this weekend as music director and conductor of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, he’ll be joined by 56 current Bethel students.

Hege was named to the position last spring and began his tenure in September. The WSO opens its 2010-11 season Oct. 16 and 17 with Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, also called Resurrection Symphony. The performance features the Bethel College Concert Choir, as well as the Friends University Singing Quakers, the WSO Chorus and soloists Sarah Hibbard, soprano, and Christina Wilcox, alto (a total of about 200 singers).

Performances are at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, in the Century II Concert Hall in Wichita. Tickets can be ordered online at www.wso.org/performances/season.html#hege.

A native of Colorado who grew up in Idaho from about age 10, Hege graduated from Bethel College in 1987 with a B.A. in history and music. He continued his studies at the University of Utah, where he earned a Master of Music degree in orchestra conducting.

Hege conducted the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra from 1999 to 2004. Since 1999, he has been music director of the Syracuse (N.Y.) Symphony Orchestra.

Hege has also served as music director of the Haddonfield (N.J.) Symphony, associate conductor of the Kansas City Symphony, music director of the Encore Chamber Orchestra in Chicago and music director of the Chicago Youth Symphony. He has guest conducted the Houston, Detroit, Seattle, Indianapolis, Oregon, Colorado, San Diego, Columbus and Phoenix symphonies; the Rochester, Buffalo and Calgary Philharmonics; and at the Grand Teton and Aspen Music Festivals. International engagements include leading the Singapore Symphony and the St. Petersburg Symphony at the Winter Nights Festival.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is in the first tier in its category in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of “America’s Top Colleges” for 2011. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

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