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Three Bethel jazz groups invited to play in WSU jazz festival

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Three Bethel College-based jazz groups will take the stage this Thursday, April 21, at the WSU Jazz Invitational, part of the Wichita Jazz Festival on the campus of Wichita State University.

James Pisano, who directs Jazz Ensemble I, Jazz Combo and the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble, says he is pleased with the “prime time slots” his groups received. The performances are all free and open to the public, and take place in the CAC Theater in Rhatigan Student Center on the WSU campus (for directions, go to, "Maps & Directions").

The Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble, an auditioned honors group based at Bethel, rounds out the first section of performances, by mostly middle school and high school groups from across the state, with a 6 p.m. performance time.

The ensemble will play “Escape Velocity” by Jeff Jarvis, “Fables of Faubus” by Charles Mingus, “Naima” by John Coltrane and “Jody Grind” by Horace Silver.

Ensemble members are: alto saxophones, Lance Ponder (Wichita East) and Lindsey Regier (Newton); tenor saxophones, Kendall Slovack (Derby) and Terry Vickroy (McPherson); baritone saxophone, Jeremy Thomas (Wichita Southeast); trumpets, Isaac Hopkins (McPherson), Michael Raehpour (Andover Central) and Tim Regier (Newton); trombones, Quinn Bowers (McPherson), Michael Koegeboehn (Maize), Zach Rich (Maize) and Sara Wilkes (Wichita East); drums, James Conner (Newton); bass, Charles Bradfield (Derby); and guitar, Dustin Chau (Wichita East).

Bethel College Jazz Combo begins the group of performances by jazz groups from WSU, Fort Hays State University, Oklahoma Christian University and the University of Colorado.

Starting at 6:45 p.m., Jazz Combo will play four pieces written by combo members: “Grits” by Joel Boettger, “Last Moments” by Benjamin Harder, “Ben’s Bane” by Austin McCabe-Juhnke and “Pleasures of Paul” by Harder.

Jazz Combo members are Paul Voran, sophomore from Newton, and Boettger, sophomore from Hesston, alto saxophones; Harder, senior from Hesston, trombone; McCabe-Juhnke, senior from North Newton, trumpet; Nathaniel Yoder, senior from Kalona, Iowa, drums; Landon Bartel, sophomore from Newton, bass; Ben Stucky, senior from Moon Township, Pa., piano; and Bradley McKellip, 2010 graduate from Newton, guitar.

Finally, Bethel College Jazz Ensemble I will play at 9:45 p.m. – “Big Dipper” by Thad Jones, “American Express” by Bob Brookmeyer, “Hang Gliding” by Maria Schneider and “Spectrum” by Bob Mintzer.

Members of Jazz Ensemble I are: saxophones, Paul Voran, Newton, Daniel Barrera, Newton, Joel Boettger, Hesston, Jordan Ortman, Marion, S.D., Carl Lehmann, Marion, S.D., and Heather Garrison, Haysville; trumpets, Kyle Unruh, Goessel, Austin McCabe-Juhnke, North Newton, Kyle Doesken, Derby, Evan Koch, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Taylor Stucky, Moundridge; trombones, Benjamin Harder, Hesston, Eric Goering, McPherson, Rebecca Trumble, Newton, and Tim Shade; drums, Nathaniel Yoder, Kalona, Iowa; bass, Landon Bartel, Newton; piano, Ben Stucky, Moon Township, Pa.; and guitar, Bradley McKellip, Newton.

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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