Bethel wraps up 125th celebration with music from Creation to Broadway

Bethel College’s annual Masterworks program will be the final special event in a year celebrating the college’s 125th anniversary.

The concert is Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m. in Memorial Hall on the Bethel campus and will feature a presentation of Haydn’s “The Creation” with the Bethel Oratorio Chorus, the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra and alumni soloists, along with a special performance by alumna Rachel de Benedet ’88.

Ticket prices range from $12-$5, general admission. Tickets are available in the Bethel College Bookstore during regular business hours, or at the door.

Franz Joseph Haydn wrote “The Creation (Die Schöpfung),” which many consider his masterpiece, between 1796-98. The oratorio depicts and celebrates the creation of the world, with the text based on the biblical books of Genesis and Psalms, and John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”

“The Creation” is scored for soprano, tenor and bass soloists -- singing the parts of the archangels Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael -- chorus and symphonic orchestra, and is structured in three parts.

Soloists for the Bethel Masterworks “Creation” are Soyoun Chun, assistant professor of voice, soprano, and alumni Arthur W. Marks ’93, tenor, and Doyle Preheim ’63, bass.

The Bethel Oratorio Chorus is made up of members of the Bethel College Concert Choir, Men’s Ensemble and Women’s Chorus and the Newton Community Chorus.

Conductors are Bethel music faculty members William Eash (chorus) and Timothy Shade (orchestra).

The first part of the Masterworks program will be Parts I and II of “The Creation.” In the second half, Rachel Kasper Fitzsimons (whose stage name is Rachel de Benedet) and Marks will perform “selections from Broadway” -- “Nine,” “The Light in the Piazza” and “Sunday in the Park with George.”

John McCabe-Juhnke ’78, Bethel professor of communication arts, and Annette Thornton, director of music theater at Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, will perform one of the selections from “Sunday in the Park with George” in speaking roles.

Learn more about the Masterworks concert here.

Bethel expands China connections

Jim ’57 and Shirley (Suderman) ’57 Goering, North Newton, love Bethel College, their alma mater, and they love China.

They have spent a dozen summers there teaching English. In January 2012, they took their 23rd group to China -- Bethel students along with President Perry White, Dalene White, Jacob Goering ’41, North Newton, and Allison McFarland, professor of business. They’ll soon be leading their 24th trip.

So it’s no surprise that the Goerings have been a major force in getting Bethel and China together, especially given Bethel’s mission connections to the country in the first half of the 20th century.

Bethel’s three-year-old China initiative, for which the Goerings are major donors, has resulted in Lijun Zhu now being in her second year teaching a Mandarin Chinese language class at Bethel.

Now new efforts are under way to recruit more Chinese students to Bethel. Thanks to the Goerings’ financial support, Zhu has begun working with Bethel Admissions to make connections with Chinese students at Mennonite high schools.

Over spring break, she visited with and made presentations to students at Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite High School, Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, Lansdale, Pa., and Freeman (S.D.) Academy.

Zhu will also be acting as a mentor and support person for any Chinese students who choose to come to Bethel.

“We are excited to have Lijun on board to help bring international students to campus,” said Todd Moore, vice president for admissions. “Associate Director of Admissions Clark Oswald ’03 traveled with her to Pennsylvania and was impressed with how she handled herself with the Chinese students as well as other international students.

“We look forward to having some new Chinese students in fall 2014.”

Lean more here.

New Alumni Council members to be affirmed at banquet

The following alumni have agreed to serve on the Bethel College Alumni Association Council from 2013-2016. Their selection is to be affirmed at the association’s brief business meeting during the Alumni Banquet in May.

  • Greg Bartel ’78, Newton
  • Ted Krehbiel ’89, Hesston
  • Kathy (Kaufman) Preheim ’89, Peabody
  • Nathan Regier ’90, Newton
  • Monica Schmidt ’11, Newton
  • Christy Schunn-Sebes ’92, North Newton
  • David Weaver ’85, Hesston

They will join the following council members in 2013-14:

  • Beverly Baumgartner ’94, Newton
  • Linda Buller ’70, Wichita, also an Alumni Association representative to the Board of Directors
  • Kathy (Friesen) Campbell ’79, North Newton
  • Debbie (Regier) Claassen ’85, Whitewater
  • Shirley Delk ’75, Wichita
  • Heather Fischer ’04, Newton
  • Felice (Voth) Goering ’59, Moundridge
  • Sarah (Duffy) Hershberger ’03, Newton, who will serve as recorder at council meetings
  • Kevin Neufeld ’94, North Newton, who will chair council meetings and serve as president of the Alumni Association
  • Ray Penner ’66, North Newton, also an Alumni Association representative to and chairman of the Board of Directors
  • Delbert Peters ’75, Goessel
  • Morrie Scheffler ’97, Valley Center
  • Greg Shelly ’11, North Newton
  • Dave Stucky ’05, Newton
  • Terry Unruh ’71, Wichita
  • Zach Unruh ’04, Hesston

Members serve three-year terms and are eligible for two terms. For more information, go to the Bethel College website. If you are interested in joining, contact Dave Linscheid ’75, director of alumni relations, 316-284-5252, dlin@bethelks.edu.

The Alumni Banquet is Saturday, May 18, at 6 p.m. in Memorial Hall. The discount price for the meal is $20 per person if paying by May 3, $22 May 6-8. To make a reservation, visit or phone Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center at 316-284-5205. Payment or credit card information is required when the reservation is made.

Alumni Association honors award recipients, committee seeks nominations

The Bethel College Alumni Association Awards Committee invites nominations for alumni awards: Young Alumnus, Outstanding Alumnus and Distinguished Achievement.

The Alumni Association bestowed this year’s Young Alumnus Award on Will Ortman ’99 and Sherilyn (Graber) Ortman ’98, Marion, S.D., in April. It will honor Justina Neufeld ’55/’57, North Newton, this year’s Outstanding Alumnus Award recipient, and G. John Dick ’61, Claremont, Calif., the Distinguished Achievement Award winner, at its May 18 banquet.

The Young Alumnus Award recognizes character and citizenship, achievement or service rendered, honor and recognition received; the recipient should be age 39 or under. The Outstanding Alumnus Award is given on the basis of character and citizenship, service to church/community or college, or other outstanding achievements, honors and recognition. The Distinguished Achievement Award acknowledges character and citizenship, achievement in a chosen profession or vocation, and work of benefit to humanity.

The committee welcomes a broad range of nominees who reflect Bethel’s many programs, college experiences and diversity as well as achievement or service in a variety of areas. Send names with accompanying comments to Awards Committee, c/o Office of Alumni Relations, Bethel College, 300 East 27th Street, North Newton, KS 67117, or contact Dave Linscheid ’75, director of alumni relations and liaison to the committee, at 316-284-5252 or dlin@bethelks.edu. Past recipients are listed on the Bethel College website.

Photo exhibit features recent additions

Six recent digital photographs have been added to the current special exhibition at Kauffman Museum, “Considering the common place: Prairie towns through the lens of Bob Regier,” Bethel emeritus professor of art and a 1952 graduate of the college.

The new pictures represent Regier’s travels to several small towns in Kansas: Alexander, Cawker City, Pretty Prairie, Reading, Weir and Wilson.

Sunday, May 19, will be the last day the exhibition is open.

Museum offers art, history and nature camps

This summer, Kauffman Museum will host seven half-day, week-long, hands-on camps for children ages 4-14. This is the 18th year that the museum has offered what are now known as Uncle Carl’s Camps, named after Charles Kauffman, founder and curator of the original museum.

During “Little Houses on the Prairie,” Kristin Neufeld Epp ’95, North Newton, will lead pre-kindergarten children ages 4-5 as they explore what it was like to live in pioneer days. Monty Graber ’01, North Newton, will guide those who will have just completed third through sixth grade as they begin “Unraveling History’s Mysteries.” “Survivor: Prairie” with Amber (Layton) Celestin ’04, Newton, is for children who have finished kindergarten through second grade.

Teaching for her 17th summer, LaDonna Unruh Voth ’86, Newton, will offer two watercolor art camps -- one for children just out of kindergarten and first grade and another for those who just completed second through fourth grade. Also teaching art, Kathy Schroeder ’77, Goessel, will lead “True Colors Shining Through” for students who finished fifth through eighth grade.

One additional camp, “One Room, Many Lessons: Sand Creek School 1935,” is taking names on a waiting list. It is for children who completed first through eighth grades. Karen Kreider Yoder, Piedmont, Calif., is camp leader.

All campers receive a T-shirt with their camp fee of $65 (if party responsible for payment is a museum member) or $80 (non-members). For dates, complete descriptions of the camps and a link to a registration form, go to the Bethel or contact Andi Schmidt Andres ’84 at <asa@bethelks.edu> or 316-283-1612.

Mark your calendar for volleyball reunion at Fall Fest

Plans are in motion for Bethel volleyball alumni plus friends of BC volleyball to “relive…renew…reconnect” with teammates, managers, coaches and loyal fans during this year’s Fall Festival. The event celebrates 40 exciting seasons of volleyball at the college.

The event is for all BC team members, managers and assistant coaches under the leadership of coaches Barb Graber (1973-1977), Diane Flickner (1978-1988), Liz Jarnigan (1989-1993), Bev Mayer ’88 (1994-2005) and Chad Schilling ’96 (2006-2012).

The major reunion event is planned for Saturday afternoon, Oct. 5. More information will follow as the plans are finalized. In the meantime, save the date!