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Masterworks concert to feature flute, Schubert ‘Mass’

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Flutist Kristen Schaffer and Bethel College student and alumni vocal soloists will be among the features of this year’s annual spring Masterworks concert at Bethel.

The Bethel College Oratorio Chorus, which includes all Bethel student choirs along with community singers, and the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra will perform in Memorial Hall on the Bethel campus on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8, at 4 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and $6 for non-Bethel students. Bethel College faculty, staff and students pay $5.

The featured works are Poem for Flute and Orchestra by Charles Griffes and Mass in E-flat Major by Franz Schubert.

The flute soloist for the Griffes piece is Kristen Schaffer, Bethel College adjunct instructor of flute since 1996. She has also been principal flutist for the NMKSO since that time, and was principal flutist for the Hutchinson Symphony Orchestra from 1998-2006. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Wichita State University, and also teaches at Hesston College.

Schubert began writing the Mass in E-Flat Major in the spring or summer of 1828 and died that November. Although he finished the mass, he never heard it performed – the first performance came in October 1829 in Vienna, conducted by the composer’s brother, Ferdinand Schubert. It was not published until 1865, at the instigation of Johannes Brahms.

The Mass is scored for solo soprano, mezzo-soprano, two tenors and bass, along with orchestra. Soloists for the Bethel performance are Bethel seniors Kelsey Easterday, Manhattan, soprano, Monica Schmidt, Mount Hope, mezzo-soprano, and Joshua Powell, Basehor, tenor; Hesston College music faculty member Matthew Schloneger, North Newton, tenor; and Bethel alumnus Christopher Kliewer, Wichita, bass.

Conductor for this Masterworks performance is William Eash, Bethel College professor of music and director of choral activities at Bethel. In addition to directing four choirs, Eash teaches conducting and music history. He is a graduate of Bluffton (Ohio) College with a bachelor’s degree in music performance (voice and string bass), studied voice at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna and completed his master’s and doctoral degrees in choral conducting at the University of Iowa.

The Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, now in its 54th season, is a nonprofit organization that promotes and supports the performance of orchestral music for south central Kansas audiences. NMKSO is comprised of musicians from the Newton, Harvey County and the surrounding area, including professional musicians, music educators, community players and advanced high school and college students. NMKSO recently announced the appointment of Thomas W. Douglas of Pittsburgh as its new music director, beginning with the 2011-12 season.

Tickets for the Masterworks concert are available at Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center on the Bethel College campus during regular business hours, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., phone 316-284-5205, or at the door. All seats are general admission.

Eash will make a presentation on the Mass in E-flat Major Monday, May 2, for convocation at 11 a.m., and again Wednesday, May 4, for Life Enrichment at 9:30 a.m., both in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center and both open to anyone interested.

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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