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Four Bethel groups to perform for Kansas Music Educators

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Newton/North Newton community will be well represented through Bethel College at the annual meeting of the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) in Wichita this weekend.

The Bethel College Concert Choir earned a prime performance spot during one of KMEA’s major events, the Friday evening concert.

In addition, an honors jazz band based at Bethel and including several Newton High School and McPherson High School students, the Bethel College Jazz Combo and the men’s a cappella vocal group Open Road will be performing at various times Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25 and 26.

Open Road will be the first Bethel group on stage, at 2:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, in Century II Room 203. They will sing six numbers, including two that have become unofficial “Bethel anthems”: “Here by the Water,” written by Jim Croegaert and arranged by Bethel graduate and former Open Road member Aaron Linscheid, and an arrangement of “In lonely mountain ways” from the Mennonite and Church of the Brethren hymnal.

Open Road members are Landon Bartel, Newton, Kellen Goertzen, Henderson, Neb., Kevin Leary, North Newton, Jordan Ortman, Freeman, S.D., Joshua Powell, Basehor, Nathan Snyder, Fruita, Colo., Caleb Stephens, Lawrence, Aaron Tschetter, Freeman, S.D., Andrew Voth, Topeka, and Cameron Voth, Goessel.

Next to perform is the Bethel College Jazz Combo, at 4 p.m. Friday in Hyatt Regency Ballrooms F-H. James Pisano, Bethel director of jazz studies and associate professor of music, directs Jazz Combo with a focus on compositions and arrangements by members and improvisation in performance.

Jazz Combo will play four numbers, all written by group members: one by Austin McCabe-Juhnke, North Newton, one by Joel Boettger, Hesston, and two by Benjamin Harder, Hesston.

In addition to McCabe-Juhnke on trumpet, Boettger on saxophone and Harder on trombone, Jazz Combo members are Paul Voran, Newton, saxophone; Bradley McKellip, Newton, guitar; Nathaniel Yoder, Kalona, Iowa, drums; Landon Bartel, Newton, bass; and Ben Stucky, Moon Township, Pa., piano.

The Bethel College Concert Choir sings Friday evening at 8 p.m. in the Century II Concert Hall.

Four of their seven numbers will feature Bethel College music faculty: Karen Bauman Schlabaugh, chair of Bethel’s music department, on piano for “Gloria” by Randol Allen Bass; James Pisano on soprano saxophone for “Deep River”; Timothy Shade, director of music education and instructor of music at Bethel, on trombone for “John the Revelator”; and Howard Glanton, adjunct instructor of guitar, on guitar for “The Rune of Hospitality” by Alf Houkom.

The 50-voice choir, under the direction of William Eash, professor of music, is preparing for its annual spring break tour, which will take place this year in Washington, Oregon and northern California in mid-March.

Finally, the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble performs Saturday, Feb. 26, at 9:20 a.m. in Hyatt Regency Ballrooms F-H. This is an auditioned honors group of 15 student musicians from area high schools that is based at Bethel College under the direction of James Pisano.

The group includes three Newton High School seniors – Lindsey Regier on alto saxophone, Tim Regier on trumpet and James Conner on drums – as well as three students from McPherson High School – Terry Vickroy on tenor saxophone, Isaac Hopkins on trumpet and Quinn Bowers on trombone.

“It is very significant for our music department to have four ensembles performing at the convention,” said Eash.

All performances are free and open to the public but audience members need to pick up tickets at the KMEA booth, located in the main lobby between the conference center and Century II.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 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

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