NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – After a busy semester of singing, mostly in churches around the area, the Bethel College men’s a cappella group Open Road will finish up with a home concert Sunday, May 13.
The concert is at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall and is free and open to the public.
This student-organized and student-led group will say goodbye to five seniors: Kellen Goertzen, Henderson, Neb.; Kevin Leary, North Newton; Nathan Snyder, Fruita, Colo.; Andrew Voth, Topeka; and Cameron Voth, Goessel.
When Snyder, a two-year member, was invited to join Open Road, he did so because of his love for smaller-group performances.
“The way Open Road operates is you get to join [if the existing members] pick you, which is really nerve-wracking,” Snyder said. “I’ve always loved small groups. Especially singing with men’s voices, there’s something about getting a small group together [and] about that music, that’s different from a large chorus – just something special.”
Snyder’s favorite Open Road memory is from the 2011 Bethel College Concert Choir spring break tour. When the choir stopped at a beach along the Pacific Ocean, Open Road sang one of their favorite songs, “Here by the Water,” there.
“It was really corny,” Snyder said. “We were by the ocean and we sang it. Right at the end of the song, a wave came in and it was so cold, but it was funny. That was one of my fonder memories.”
The group has been as large as 11 singers, but last year decided to return to its original size of nine to help accommodate scheduling. In addition to the five seniors, Open Road comprises Landon Bartel, junior from Newton, Jordan Ortman, junior from Freeman, S.D., Taylor Stucky, sophomore from Moundridge, and Aaron Tschetter, sophomore from Freeman, S.D.
This year, the group has been working on a CD they hope to release at the 2012 Fall Festival. Since this has taken up a lot of the usual practice time this semester, Open Road plans to spend the week leading up to Sunday’s performance focusing more on their concert pieces.
They will be singing, among other numbers, “Hard Times Come Again No More” by Stephen Foster (arr. Patrick Rose); “I Will Arise,” traditional (arr. Alice Parker and Robert Shaw); “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” by Bethel alumnus Tim Shue; “Lux Aurumque” by Eric Whitacre; “A Red, Red Rose” by Eric William Barnum; and “Heart of Gold” by Neil Young (arr. Tim Shue).