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Concert a celebration of wind ensemble “color,” includes premiere

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by Erin Bradley

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Bethel College Wind Ensemble will “color the air” with abstract pieces in their spring concert, March 10 at 4 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium.

The concert is at 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to support instrumental music study and performance at Bethel.

“This concert's really about color – an exploration of color with winds,” said Timothy Shade, associate professor of music and Wind Ensemble conductor.

“This music is abstract, but I don’t think it’s what a lot of people would call abstract. They will recognize sounds in it and should be able to grab hold of what’s going on.

“All the pieces in the concert were written within the last 20 years,” Shade added. One of his trademarks is his championing of newer music. “I believe that all of this music is relevant and has a very strong sound resonance to it with the audience.”

The concert will feature four pieces: “Songs”by Yo Goto (b. 1958), “Under the Influence”by Murray Gross (b. 1952), Sinfonietta by James Syler (b. 1961) and “Christina’s World" by Kenneth Fuchs (b. 1956).

“Songs,” a true small wind ensemble piece, was written for just 24 instruments, and pulls from each on a smaller scale, Shade said. The piece combines bird-like songs with “chants” made up of trios and quartets.

Although it has a provocative title, Gross’s “Under the Influence” was written “under the influence of Igor Stravinsky.” Another small-ensemble piece, this one relies on just 10 players: one flute, one oboe and two each of clarinets, saxophones, bassoons and horns.

“Christina’s World,” which concludes the concert,is based on the famous painting of the same name by Andrew Wyeth.

The centerpiece will be Syler’s Sinfonietta, one of the composer’s most recent works, which was commissioned by a consortium. Wind ensembles and conductors from 20 colleges and universities, including Bethel, collaborated to help produce and create the piece.

The March 10 concert is Bethel’s premiere of Sinfonietta.

As the name translates, the piece is a small symphony. It has four movements over a 13-minute period compared to the usual 20-30 minutes for longer symphonies.

“It’s kind of funny, because you go, ‘How do you know there are individual movements?’” Shade noted. “It’s all played together, but it is very clear. To me, it’s a very intelligent piece, but there are also very emotional undertones and overtones in it. It’s pretty heavy.”

Syler visited Bethel for the spring 2012 Masterworks concert, when the Wind Ensemble played his Symphony No.1 "Blue." He will also be on campus this weekend, to attend Friday’s Wind Ensemble rehearsal and to speak about Sinfonietta at Sunday’s concert.

With all newer pieces, Shade hopes the concert will give the audience a chance to experience some new sounds.

“I don’t want you to come to a concert [feeling like] ‘Oh, yeah, I heard this all before,’” Shade said. “I am hoping to create new sounds, new feelings, new thoughts at every concert. I think this music is very important.”

Bethel College Wind Ensemble personnel are: piccolo, Georgia Thiesen; flutes, Keari Bennett, sophomore from Sharon, Erin Engle, junior from Salem, Ore., Makayla Epp, freshman from Marion, S.D., Olivia Gehring, freshman from Manhattan, Emily Harder, junior from Newton, Rachel Tamerius, junior from Wichita, Amy Wedel, freshman from Peabody, and Julie Wedel, junior from Peabody; oboes, Megan Leary, junior from North Newton, and Karina Ortman, sophomore from Marion, S.D.; English horn, Jocelyn Wilkinson, junior from San Antonio, Texas; clarinets, Joel Boettger, senior from Hesston, Bryce Hostetler, freshman from Dodge City, Valerie Klaassen, Audra Miller, senior from Hesston, and Natasha Orpin, senior from Canton; bass clarinets, Samantha Jarvis, freshman from Newton, and Michelle Unruh, sophomore from Goessel; bassoons, Jessie Pohl, sophomore from Moundridge, and Elizabeth Schrag, freshman from Newton; soprano saxophone, Paul Voran, senior from Newton; alto saxophones, Michelle Kaufman, junior from Moundridge, Carl Lehmann, junior from Marion, S.D., Emily Simpson, sophomore from Gobles, Mich., and Voran; tenor saxophone, Daniel Barrera, junior from Newton; baritone saxophone, Abram Rodenberg, senior from Halstead; French horns, Brendan Bergen, sophomore from Moundridge, Julia Miller, senior from Hesston, Tim Regier, freshman from Newton, and Genevieve Rucker, senior from Lawrence; trumpets, Arlin Buller, Kyle Doesken, senior from Derby, Andrew Ewy, freshman from Parlier, Calif., Evan Koch, junior from Colorado Springs, Colo., and Braden Unruh, freshman from Goessel; trombones, Andrew Thiesen, Rebecca Trumble, junior from Newton, Aaron Tschetter, junior from Freeman, S.D., and Issei Tsuji, freshman from Chiba-shi, Japan; euphoniums, Sarah Evans, junior from Colorado Springs, Colo., Vince Meyer and Asher Segard; tubas, Shianne DeFreese, sophomore from Goessel, Brenan Erb, freshman from Henderson, Neb., Jordan Esely-Kohlman, senior from Seneca, and Mark Lyles; percussion, Riley King, junior from Lawrence, Mika Patron, freshman from North Newton, Renee Reimer, senior from Sioux Falls, S.D., Micah Smith, junior from Topeka, Leah Towle, freshman from Lawrence, and Adam Voth, junior from Wichita; piano, Jordan Ortman, senior from Marion, S.D.; and string bass, Landon Bartel, senior from Newton.

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the 2012-13 Forbes.com analysis of premier colleges and universities in the United States and ranks in the top five “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2012-13. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

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