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Jazz on the Green will have ‘something for everyone’

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Grab your lawn chairs and blankets and come listen to Bethel College’s Jazz Ensemble I and II Wednesday, May 9, in the annual Jazz on the Green spring concert.

Music begins at 8 p.m. on the Green in front of the Administration Building in the middle of campus, with Krehbiel Auditorium as the rain location.

“I am so thrilled with the effort that both groups have exhibited throughout the year, putting together the various programs,” said James Pisano, associate professor of music. “And you will have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of that effort. It’s going to be a very fun concert.”

Jazz Ensemble II will play songs from the Count Basie Orchestra library, including “Sweet Georgia Brown” and the Sammy Nestico ballad “Samantha.” Also on the program are “But Not for Me” by George Gershwin, featuring Renee Reimer on vocals, and “Polar Ice” by Jeff Jarvis.

“I am really excited by the progress Jazz Ensemble II has made,” Pisano said. “It is also the largest the ensemble has been thus far. We have gained a lot of momentum this year and I look forward to continuing that.”

Jazz Ensemble I recently traveled to the Wichita Jazz Festival where, Pisano says, the group “had an amazing performance.”

Since this was an adjudicated event, Pisano received judges’ comments, including: “Gorgeous control on everybody’s part”; “Awesome dynamics in shout chorus”; “Holy Cow! You guys are very brave and are pulling it off very well”; “That’s hard to do but again you sound wonderful”; and “What a joy it is to listen to this band – we are so grateful to have you here.”

For Jazz on the Green, Jazz I will play one of their festival pieces, “Groove Merchant” by Thad Jones.

“For those who weren’t able to check us out at the Wichita Jazz Festival, it will be a great opportunity for you to hear the work they put in,” Pisano said. “We are going to have something for everyone in this concert.”

Jazz I will also perform “Pulse” by Dan Cavanagh, “Splanky” by Neal Hefti (arranged by Sammy Nestico) and a selection from the Glenn Miller Orchestra library.

“Also, we have a surprise special guest vocalist who will be singing two numbers with Jazz Ensemble I,” Pisano said. “You will not be disappointed.”

The concert is free, and there will be a freewill offering taken to support jazz studies at Bethel.

Jazz Ensemble II members are: Emily Simpson, Gobles, Mich., alto saxophone; Andrew Unruh, Valley Center, baritone saxophone; Anna Cook, Lawrence, cello; Sarah Evans, Colorado Springs, Colo., trombone; Andrew Zehr, Newton, Jason Friesen, Inman, Ethan Knight, Moundridge, and Matthew Shelly, Newton, trumpets; Adam Voth, Wichita, drums; Joe Kondziola, North Newton, bass; Renee Reimer, Sioux Falls, S.D., piano and vocals; and Megan Siebert, Topeka, guitar.

Members of Jazz Ensemble I are: Daniel Barrera, Newton, and Paul Voran, Newton, alto saxophones; Jordan Ortman, Marion, S.D., and Joel Boettger, Hesston, tenor saxophones; Carl Lehmann, Marion, S.D., bari sax; Alex Boldt, Parlier, Calif., Evan Koch, Colorado Springs, Colo., Taylor Stucky, Moundridge, Andrew Zehr, Newton, and Kyle Doesken, Derby, trumpets; Rebecca Trumble, Newton, Tim Shade and Quinn Bowers, McPherson, trombones; Eric Goering, McPherson, bass trombone; Landon Bartel, Newton, bass; Megan Siebert, Topeka, guitar; Ian Gingrich-Gaylord, piano; and Nathaniel Yoder, drums.

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the 2011-12 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2011-12. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

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