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Jazz groups to preview festival pieces

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Two Bethel-based jazz groups are headed to festivals at the end of this month and will preview their programs at the college.

Bethel College Jazz Ensemble I and the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble, an auditioned honors high school ensemble, will perform their Festival Preview Concert April 15 at 7 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center.

Joel Linscheid, Bethel director of jazz studies, directs both groups.

“This concert is a chance to hear what we’ll be playing at the KC Jazz Summit on Thursday, April 24, and at the Wichita Jazz Festival on Friday, April 25,” Linscheid said. “On our way to Kansas City, Jazz Ensemble I will also stop and play a concert for students at Lawrence High School.

“Playing at these festivals is a great way to showcase the strength of Bethel’s jazz program to high school students and directors in the Kansas City and Wichita areas,” he continued. “Our Bethel students are playing at a very high level. I’m glad we have the chance to get out and play for an audience that may not be too familiar with Bethel or realize just how strong our music department is.”

The Krehbiel Auditorium concert is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to support jazz study and performance at Bethel College.

The KC Summit Jazz Festival is held at Kansas City Kansas Community College, and on the Wichita Jazz Festival at Wichita State University. The Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble will also play at the Wichita festival.

Jazz I’s festival program is “Blues in Hoss’ Flat” by Frank Foster; “Transit” by Darcy James Argue; “Central Park West” by John Coltrane (arr. John Fedchock); and “Little Pixie” by Thad Jones.

Jazz Ensemble I personnel are: saxophones, Danny Barrera, senior from Newton, Matt Lind, freshman from Harrisonburg, Va., Joel Boettger, senior from Hesston, Westen Gesell, freshman from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Carl Lehmann, senior from Marion, S.D.; trumpets, Kyle Doesken, Derby, Evan Koch, senior from Colorado Springs, Colo., Tim Regier, junior from Newton, and Braden Unruh, junior from Goessel; trombones, Josh Janzen, freshman from Aurora, Neb., Andrew Thiesen, freshman from Newton, Rebecca Trumble, senior from Newton, and Issei Tsuji, junior from Chiba-shi, Japan; drums, Adam Voth, junior from Goddard; bass, Landon Bartel, Newton; and piano, Ian Gingrich-Gaylord, Newton.

The Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble’s festival program is “Cottontail” by Duke Ellington (arr. Mark Taylor); “M.O.T.” by Matt Harris; “Jamie” by Sammy Nestico; and “Spain” by Chick Corea (arr. Paul Jennings).

Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble personnel are: alto saxophones, Neil Smucker (Newton High School) and Rayshaad Cunningham (Wichita Southeast High School); tenor saxophones, Zane Richter (McPherson High School) and Gus Williams (Hesston High School); baritone saxophone, Jesus Martinez (Newton); trombones, Billie Selichnow (Maize High School) and Wesley Crow (Valley Center High School); trumpets, Jacob Carl (Circle High School, Towanda), Caleb Zook (Newton), Connor Born (Newton) and Isaac Penner (Hesston); drums, Vaughn Craddock (Wichita Collegiate High School) and Jonathan Shirley (Wichita Southeast); bass, Deion Burton (Wichita Southeast); and guitar, Ben Peyton (Newton).

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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