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Wind Ensemble spring concert to feature guests and premieres

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by Erin Bradley

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – After the success of last spring’s Masterworks concert, which featured the Bethel College Wind Ensemble, conductor Timothy Shade decided to structure his group’s 2013 spring concert similarly.

Premiering pieces created for it will be the focus of the Wind Ensemble’s “Masterpieces” concert April 28 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall. There is a $10 admission charge.

“I wanted to program a concert of large, professional literature, of the highest level we could do,” said Shade, Bethel assistant professor of music. “We are doing, in essence, a Masterworks concert without a chorus, so I am calling it ‘Masterpieces.’

“There’s a lot of stuff in this concert,” Shade continued. “There is a guest conductor. There is a guest soloist. The guest conductor is also a guest composer. Then we are having another guest composer, a visual artist, a filmmaker and a world premiere.”

The concert will last a little over an hour. In the first half, the Wind Ensemble will play three pieces by Thomas Sleeper: “Sapphire Overture”; “Leylie’s Dance,” the second movement of Symphony No. 2; and “Parallax.”

The second half of the concert will have Steven Bryant’s “Ecstatic Fanfare”; the world premiere of Steve Danyew’s “This World Alive”; and “Aurora Awakes” by John Mackey.

Sleeper himself will guest conduct in the first half. He is director of music at the University of Miami and a close friend and mentor to Shade, for whom Sleeper wrote “Parallax.” The Wichita Wind Ensembles Professional Band performed the piece’s world premiere in September 2011 with Shade as the euphonium soloist.

“When I was conceiving this concert, I wondered if it might be a good idea to do [‘Parallax’] – but if I was going to play, who was going to conduct?” Shade said.

To his delight, Sleeper agreed to come and do just that. “[This] is a really an amazing experience for the students,” Shade said. “Most of the time I am interpreting someone else’s music. But to have the person who actually created the music conducting it…Whoa.”

Sleeper’s wife, visual artist Sherri Tan, made videos to go with “Leylie’s Dance” and “Parallax.” She will be present at the concert along with Sleeper and the videos will show during the Wind Ensemble’s performance of the pieces.

The second interesting part of the Wind Ensemble’s April 28 concert, Shade said, will be the world premiere of “This World Alive,” a consortium-commissioned piece.

Bethel is part of a consortium of wind ensembles and conductors from 27 colleges and universities across the country that collaborate to help create and produce new music.

As they began talking about it, Shade and Danyew decided they wanted a piece for winds, percussion and media.

“Wind ensemble with electronics is really in right now,” Shade said. “Several pieces are being written or have been written, so I said, ‘Maybe we don’t want to do electronics. What if we did movie or video?’”

According to Shade, Danyew said, “That might be really cool. I have a friend who is a really good filmmaker, Cuyler Bryant. I think he might be interested.”

“So we started having conference phone calls,” Shade said.

“[We] decided Steve was going to create a work of music surrounding a film surrounding the photography of Ansel Adams,” Shade said. “What we have is about 15 minutes of original music that goes along with an original film by Mr. Bryant that incorporates work by Ansel Adams.”

Danyew is not new to the Bethel College music department, having created pieces for the Wind Ensemble and Concert Choir.

“I think Steve’s voice is unique. We’ve done several of his pieces here,” Shade said – most recently “Filled with His Voice,” a piece for choir with saxophone, commissioned for Bethel’s 125th anniversary.

“Steve’s done a lot for us,” Shade said. Danyew, from Rochester, N.Y., along with Boston-based filmmaker Bryant, will be present for the world premiere of “This World Alive.”

Bethel College Wind Ensemble personnel are: piccolo, Georgia Thiesen and guest artist Chastity Pawloski; 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,  Julie Wedel, junior from Peabody, and guest artists Jennifer Kirk and Kristin Shaffer; oboes, Megan Leary, junior from North Newton, Karina Ortman, sophomore from Marion, S.D., and Jocelyn Wilkinson, junior from San Antonio, Texas; clarinets, Joel Boettger, senior from Hesston, Denise Hannon, Bryce Hostetler, freshman from Dodge City, Valerie Klaassen, Audra Miller, senior from Hesston, Natasha Orpin, senior from Canton, James Pisano and guest artists Mary Rose Biltz and Kristin Pisano; bass clarinets, Samantha Jarvis, freshman from Newton, and Michelle Unruh, sophomore from Goessel; contrabass clarinet, Mary Rose Biltz; bassoons, Jessie Pohl, sophomore from Moundridge, Elizabeth Schrag, freshman from Newton, and guest artist Zachary Hague; alto saxophones, Michelle Kaufman, junior from Moundridge, Carl Lehmann, junior from Marion, S.D., Emily Simpson, sophomore from Gobles, Mich., and Paul Voran, senior from Newton; tenor saxophone, Daniel Barrera, junior from Newton; baritone saxophone, Abram Rodenberg, senior from Halstead; French horns, Brendan Bergen, sophomore from Moundridge, Tim Regier, freshman from Newton, Genevieve Rucker, senior from Lawrence, and guest artists Richard Bentson and Melissa LeBlanc; trumpets, Arlin Buller, Kyle Doesken, senior from Derby, Andrew Ewy, freshman from Parlier, Calif., Evan Koch, junior from Colorado Springs, Colo., Braden Unruh, freshman from Goessel, and guest artist Levi Morris; trombones, Andrew Thiesen, Rebecca Trumble, junior from Newton, Aaron Tschetter, junior from Freeman, S.D., Issei Tsuji, freshman from Chiba-shi, Japan, and guest artists Matt Blauer and Steve Traylor; 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, Adam Voth, junior from Wichita, and Adam Yoder; piano, Karen Bauman Schlabaugh; harp, guest artist Abigail Triemer; and string bass, Landon Bartel, senior from Newton.

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the 2012-13 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

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