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Concert celebrates American composers, marks JFK death anniversary

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – As the Bethel College Wind Ensemble takes the stage for its second concert of the semester, it will welcome two guest artists.

The ensemble performs Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. (note time change from some printed calendars) 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.

Chris Westover, Bethel director of instrumental music, has titled the concert “Turn Not Thy Face” and intends it to be a celebration of American composers – in this case, Charles Ives, Michael Kallstrom, David Maslanka and Vincent Persichetti.

All are considered 20th-century composers and two are still living. In fact, Michael Kallstrom will be present to direct the Wind Ensemble in a performance of his operatic overture, “Arrival.”

Kallstrom is distinguished professor of music composition at Western Kentucky University, where Westover received his B.A. in music.

Another friend of Westover’s, Canadian-American pianist Michelle Price, will also be on stage with the ensemble as the soloist for David Maslanka’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

Completing the program are the finale of Symphony No. 2 by Charles Ives and Vincent Persichetti’s chorale prelude, “Turn Not Thy Face,” which Westover included as a memorial for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Nov. 22, 1963.

There will be an informal meeting with Kallstrom for students and anyone else interested, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. in Mojo’s Coffee Shop on the Bethel campus.

Westover based the Nov. 10 concert program on “typical Americana.”

“It’s part of the heritage of the band,” he said. “So I wanted to make a very thoughtful meditation on that.

“Bands have always had an association with patriotic music, because of military bands,” Westover continued. “Part of the inspiration for this concert came from it being the day before Veteran’s Day, while very clearly also thinking about Mennonite heritage and how it intersects.”

The concert will end with the Ives – chosen, Westover said, because of the story it tells.

“It’s a metaphor for a greater emancipation. You hear ‘Reveille’ come back a couple times. I really don’t know how to describe the movement other than that, and to say it’s the only really obvious ‘Americana’ piece on the program.”

As this second concert of the year approaches, Westover and the Wind Ensemble have had time to adjust to each other. This fall, Westover began a three-year assignment while Timothy Shade is on leave to continue his education.

Both Westover and students agree things are going well and continuing to get better.

“I think we started out a little rough, because we were adjusting to a new teacher and he also had to adjust to us, but I would say we are getting there,” said Shianne Defreese, junior from Goessel. “He has a different personality and conducting style. It was also harder [to adjust] because I was close to Tim. It’s definitely been different but I think with time it’s gotten better.”

On the Nov. 10 program, Defreese especially enjoys the Ives for the sound and the message.

“My favorite piece is the Ives, because I like it when our tuba part is more bouncy, rather than playing one note for a long period of time.”

Overall, the concert will be a little over an hour in length and Westover said it should be entertaining for listeners.

“Groucho Marx does a dance on Adolf Hitler’s grave [Maslanka], there are aliens [Kallstrom], there is Americana [Ives] – it shouldn’t be too boring,” he said.

Bethel College Wind Ensemble personnel are: flutes, Erin Engle, Salem, Ore., Makayla Epp, Freeman, S.D, Olivia Gehring, Manhattan, Rachel Tamerius, Wichita, Georgia Thiesen, Goessel, Amy Wedel, Peabody, and Julie Wedel, Peabody; oboes, Megan Leary, North Newton, Karina Ortman, Marion, S.D., and Jocelyn Wilkinson, San Antonio, Texas; clarinets, Jacob Anderson, Newton, Joel Boettger, Hesston, Heather Eddy, Park City, Bryce Hostetler, Dodge City, community member Valerie Klaassen, and Carl Lehmann, Marion, S.D.; bass clarinet, Michelle Unruh, Goessel; bassoons, Jessie Pohl, Moundridge, and Liz Schrag, Newton; alto saxophones, Daniel Barrera, Newton, Michelle Kaufman, Moundridge, and Emily Simpson, Lebanon, Tenn.; tenor saxophones, Ryan Fritz, Salina, and Westen Gesell, Winnipeg, Manitoba; baritone saxophone, community member Charles Ebbeling; French horns, Brendan Bergen, Moundridge, Tim Regier, Newton, community member Genevieve Rucker, and Caroline Schrag, Marion, S.D.; trumpets, community member Arlin Buller, Andrew Ewy, Parlier, Calif., Evan Koch, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Braden Unruh, Goessel; trombones, Josh Janzen, Aurora, Neb., Andrew Thiesen, Newton, Rebecca Trumble, Newton, Aaron Tschetter, Freeman, S.D., and Issei Tsuji, Chiba-shi, Japan; euphonium, Sarah Evans, Colorado Springs, Colo.; tubas, Ben Carlson, Hurley, S.D., Shianne Defreese, Goessel, and community member Mark Lyles; percussion, Riley King, Lawrence, Mika Patron, North Newton, Micah Smith, Topeka, Leah Towle, Lawrence, and Adam Voth, Wichita; and string bass, community member Landon Bartel.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2013-14 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 2013-14. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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