NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – “Classical music” instrumental groups from 66 different Kansas higher education institutions auditioned for the annual Kansas Music Educators Association’s In-Service Workshop next spring in Wichita. Three made the cut, including the Bethel College Wind Ensemble.
The group, under the direction of Timothy Shade, assistant professor of music, will give a preview of its KMEA program Sunday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center. The concert is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to support music study and performance at Bethel.
“This is the first time the Wind Ensemble has ever been accepted to play at KMEA,” Shade said. “It will be the largest venue we’ve ever played, and the music for that concert is very difficult.
“We have been on it pretty hard since right after Fall Festival [in early October],” he continued. “The way Bethel’s schedule works, with a January interterm, we don’t have much time when we come back in February to get the music ready.”
To win this spot, Bethel had to out-perform groups from many larger schools.
“It’s very competitive,” Shade said. “Everyone wants to play at KMEA, because you’re on a statewide stage. And we got in.
“We were going up against the University of Kansas, Kansas State, Wichita State, Pittsburg State – all the big state schools, plus all the private schools like Friends University,” he added. “And the only college ensembles [at KMEA] are us, Wichita State and KU. That puts us with some very large schools that have more resources than we do, which is a testament to how well Bethel students are playing.”
The ensemble is playing music that some might say they should not have a right to play, Shade noted.
“This is music that the largest schools across the country are playing,” Shade said. “We are a private liberal art institution that arguably has no real right to be performing this music, but the students are playing it and it’s going to be great.”
The four pieces are clearly from the growing repertoire of new music for bands and wind ensembles such as Bethel’s.
First on the program is “Firefly” by Ryan George (b. 1978) followed by the second movement, “Terpsichore,” from Images of Song and Dance by Anthony Iannaconne (b. 1948).
The third piece on the program is the first movement, “Montis Dei,” from Lauda by Steve Danyew (b. 1983) and the concert will close with “Rio’s Convergence” by Justin Freer (b. 1980).
Shade hopes the Nov. 20 concert will help prepare the Wind Ensemble for the later venue.
“The format of this concert will be different, because it’s only four pieces – it’s the exact program we will play at KMEA,” Shade said. “We’re only allowed about 35 minutes on stage at KMEA, so that’s basically how long this program’s going to be. I’ll do a little bit of talking maybe, but I really want the students to feel what it’s going to be like on [the KMEA] stage.”
“My usual concert etiquette is: we play a piece, I talk a little bit,” Shade added. “Then we switch [chairs] and there could be two or three minutes in between [numbers]. When we’re in KMEA, I’m not allowed to talk so it happens very fast.”
The Wind Ensemble will likely do one more preview concert next semester, possibly with Jazz Ensemble I, which will also perform at KMEA.
Shade hopes the Nov. 20 concert and the KMEA performance helps change some views of what Bethel is capable of in instrumental music.
“The program in general here is on the rise, so this is sort of a like an arrival point for us,” Shade said. “[I hope we can] wake some people up that Bethel is a music powerhouse in Kansas. That’s ultimately what I want. People already know about the jazz ensembles, and the choirs have been strong for many years.”
After KMEA, the Wind Ensemble will be focusing on playing for the annual Masterworks concert on May 6, 2012. “Normally, that’s the Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, so this school year is a very big one for the ensemble,” Shade said.
Wind Ensemble personnel are: piccolo, Georgia Thiesen, Newton; flutes, Keari Bennett, Sharon, Erin Engle, Salem, Ore., Emily Harder, Newton, Jackie Kamphaus, Clay Center, Rachel Tamerius, Wichita, Anna Voth, Wichita, and Julie Wedel, Peabody; oboes, Megan Leary, North Newton, Karina Ortman, Marion, S.D., and Jocelyn Wilkinson, San Antonio, Texas; English horn, Cassidy McFadden, Elgin, Ill.; clarinets, Gabrielle Baffoni, Joel Boettger, Hesston, Nicole Eaton, Dodge City, Valerie Klaassen, Audra Miller, Hesston, and Natasha Orpin, Moundridge; bass clarinets, Kelsey Ortman, Marion, S.D., and Michelle Unruh, Goessel; bassoons, Kevin Leary, North Newton, and Jessie Pohl, Moundridge; alto saxophones, Daniel Barrera, Newton, Michelle Kaufman, Moundridge, Carl Lehmann, Marion, S.D., Emily Simpson, Gobles, Mich., Brian Skinner, Clay Center, and Paul Voran, Newton; tenor saxophones, Jordan Ortman, Marion, S.D., and Andrew Unruh, Valley Center; baritone saxophone, Abram Rodenberg, Halstead; French horns, Brendan Bergen, Moundridge, Marissa Bontrager, North Newton, R.J. Clark, Christopher Gale, Dixon, Ill., Emily Kliewer, Aurora, Neb., Julia Miller, Hesston, and Genevieve Rucker, Lawrence; trumpets, Arlin Buller, Kyle Doesken, Derby, Evan Koch, Colorado Springs, Colo., Matt Shelly, Newton, Taylor Stucky, Moundridge, and Andrew Zehr, Newton; trombone, Jordan Esau, Hutchinson, Rebecca Trumble, Newton, and Aaron Tschetter, Freeman, S.D.; bass trombone, Eric Goering, McPherson; euphoniums, Sarah Evans, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Vince Meyer; tubas, Shianne DeFreese, Goessel, Jordan Esely-Kohlman, Seneca, Natalia Krahn, Mountain Lake, Minn., and Mark Lyles; percussion, Natalie Butkus, Freeman, S.D., Naomi Graber, Elkhart, Ind., Riley King, Lawrence, Mika Patron, North Newton, Micah Smith, Topeka, and Rachel Voran, Newton; piano, Austin Unruh, Goessel; harp, Faith O’Neal; and double bass, Landon Bartel, Newton.