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Bethel orchestra concert to be out of this world

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – An emphasis on the spiritual and even other-worldly marks the music the Bethel College Philharmonia Orchestra will play for its spring concert

The event has changed venues – from Memorial Hall to Bethel College Mennonite Church.

The concert is April 21 at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to support music study and performance at Bethel.

The concert, which Philharmonia conductor Chris David Westover is calling “Light in the Darkness,” will feature two pieces: Symphony in D minor by César Franck and the overture to the opera Don Giovanni by Mozart, with a concert ending by Ferruccio Busoni.

The Symphony in D minor was Franck’s only symphony. It was originally poorly received and has had fluctuations in popularity.

“The work itself is a great act of faith,” said Westover, Bethel director of instrumental music. “It begins from almost nothing and it traverses such a great chasm and ends on the side of faith.”

“The second movement of the Franck offers an exciting challenge to keep the orchestra on our toes,” added Grace Bradfield, freshman from Derby. “I think it is really important and helpful for us to strive for excellence in our current pursuits while reaching for new levels of expertise.”

“The most exciting part of this concert for me is playing a piece by a composer I’ve never played before,” said Allie Chesbrough, freshman from Leawood. “The Franck Symphony in D minor is new to me and I always enjoy expanding my repertoire.”

The overture from Don Giovanni is stylistically very different from the Symphony in D minor. It is part of the well-known opera that offers the audience a stark moral warning.

The title character of Don Giovanni is a vile murderer and seducer who eventually gets dragged to hell for all his wrongdoings.

“The Don Giovanni [piece] is a classic that the audience will enjoy,” said Bradfield. “The audience can emotionally participate in this fun piece through knowledge of the plot line, in order to form connections between the orchestral motifs and the well-known story.”

Bethel College Philharmonia Orchestra personnel are: violins, Nancy Johnson, concertmaster, adjunct instructor of violin, Rachel Unruh, Grace Bradfield, Emily Wedel, junior from Hutchinson, Abby Schrag, junior from Newton, and Conner Mitchell; second violins, Dominique Corbeil, principal, adjunct instructor of violin, Leah Towle, junior from Lawrence, Lina Adame, junior from Newton, Emma Bradley, junior from Newton, Abigail Christensen, freshman from Gardner, Sam Goertz, Katelyn Sundquist, Reinhild Janzen and Kaitlin Abrahams; violas, Kay Buskirk, principal, adjunct instructor of viola, Erin Regier, junior from Newton, and Rachel Unruh, senior from Raytown, Mo.; cellos, Allie Chesbrough, Riley King, senior from Lawrence, Nicole Smith, senior from Elkhart, Ind., Addie Henley, freshman from Winfield, and Chloe Woodward; contrabasses, Dennis Danders, principal, adjunct instructor of string bass, Rachel Evans, senior from Bel Aire, and Landon Bartel; flutes, Erin Engle, senior from Salem, Ore., and Makayla Epp, sophomore from Marion, S.D.; oboes, Megan Leary, senior from North Newton, Karina Ortman, junior from Marion, S.D., and Jocelyn Wilkinson, senior from San Antonio, Texas; clarinets, Joel Boettger, senior from Hesston, and Bryce Hostetler, junior from Dodge City; bassoons, Elizabeth Schrag, junior from Newton, and Zach Hague, adjunct instructor of bassoon; French horns, Tim Regier, junior from Newton, Genevieve Rucker, Rebecca Schrag and Janis Danders; trumpets, Evan Koch, senior from Colorado Springs, Colo., Braden Unruh, junior from Goessel, Arlin Buller and Andrew Ewy, sophomore from Parlier, Calif.; trombones, Josh Janzen, freshman from Aurora, Neb., Andrew Thiesen, freshman from Newton, and Issei Tsuji, junior from Chiba-shi, Japan; tuba, Taylor Tracy; and timpani, Joe Mikelait.

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