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Jazz on the Green to feature original compositions

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – A long-standing Bethel College tradition, Jazz on the Green, will take place Wednesday, May 11, starting at 8 p.m.

The concert will feature all three Bethel jazz groups: Jazz I, Jazz II and Jazz Combo. The groups will be playing a variety of pieces, including favorites from throughout the year and new pieces.

Jazz I will perform “The Eternal Triangle” by Sonny Stitt, “Truth” and “Swangalang” by Bob Mintzer. The group had a chance to play with Mintzer when he came for a jazz clinic followed by a concert this past March.

James Pisano, who directs Bethel's jazz groups, says Mintzer had a great influence on the students, and that it will show in the concert.

Members of Jazz Ensemble I are: saxophones, Paul Voran, Newton, Daniel Barrera, Newton, Joel Boettger, Hesston, Jordan Ortman, Marion, S.D., and Carl Lehmann, Marion, S.D.; 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 Timothy Shade, instructor of instrumental music; drums, Nathaniel Yoder, Kalona, Iowa; bass, Landon Bartel, Newton; and piano, Ben Stucky, Moon Township, Pa.

Jazz II will play a variety of music, with selections including some with vocals by Renee Reimer, junior from Sioux Falls, S.D.

“They’ll play everything from Latin and funk inspired music to classic tunes from the swing era,” Pisano said. “The repertoire for this concert is varied – there will be something for everyone, for sure.”

Members of Jazz Ensemble II are: saxophones, Amy Flax, Brownell, Ryan Goertzen, Newton, and Carl Lehmann, Marion, S.D.; trumpets, Alex Boldt, Parlier, Calif., Garrett Byler, Hesston, and Matt Shelly, Newton; trombone, Sarah Evans, Colorado Springs, Colo.; cello, Anna Cook, Lawrence; bass, Miriam Weaverdyck, Ann Arbor, Mich.; guitar, Megan Siebert, Topeka; piano, Renee Reimer, Sioux Falls, S.D.; and drums, Ryan Cummins, Joshua, Texas, and Brandan Dixon, Independence.

Jazz Combo will play original compositions that the group has been working on all year: “Grits” by Joel Boettger, junior from Hesston, and “Pragmatism” by Austin McCabe-Juhnke, senior from North Newton. Pisano said he had “really pushed” Jazz Combo to do original compositions derived from their improvisations.

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

After bad weather forced the Jazz on the Green inside the past two years, there are high hopes for good weather this year. The alternate location is Memorial Hall.

“Mem Hall is actually pretty decent to play in – it’s just nice to have this outside,” Pisano said. “Bring a blanket or lawn chair.”

There will be a freewill offering during the performance.

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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