Fine Arts

Finding Beauty Everywhere

Whew! Having fun is tiring work! The week is nearing a close, and as we travel I continue to be amazed at the beauty around me, both in the landscapes we are surrounded by and the people surrounding me. There are a lot of new members in the choir this year, and we have had a lot of fun as a group, getting to know one another better and laughing a lot. Every day I grow closer to people I have cared about for a long time as well as people I am just beginning to know and care for.

We work hard on our music, and performing concerts every night can be tiring. But the energy for that work often comes from our friendships and community. We lean on each other and learn from each other, bringing our joy to the music we create together. I love to sing no matter where or what or with whom, but to sing beautiful music in gorgeous landscapes with people I love . . . how can I keep from singing?


Naomi Graber: 3-25-2011

More Blogs From Oregon

Today is our sixth day on tour. The first full day of concerts in Washington was a difficult one; we had the privilege of singing in a Catholic cathedral with amazing acoustics. We arrived there with no time to rehearse in the space so we went on cold turkey. This was a challenging concert but we persevered through, and over the next few days sang three of the best concerts we have ever done. Today is our second day in Oregon. Today we spend the majority of the day on the beach throwing the Frisbee or just walking around the gorgeous Oregon coast. My favorite thing about this day involved Open Road. We made a circle right on the water and sang “Here by the Water” and we took stones and placed them in the water. This event made me realize how truly lucky I am to be involved in this group, and how much I am looking forward to the rest of this tour. Read More

Finding Meaning in New Life

When we were all loaded on the bus and ready to leave Menno Mennonite Church on Sunday, Dale announced, “The service this morning made this entire choir tour worth our time.” I fully agree with this statement. We started the morning after a full night’s sleep in the beautiful landscape of western Washington. I had the opportunity to give the senior reflection before we sang, and I talked about feeling overwhelmed before leaving for choir tour but being thankful for everyone in the choir and everyone who helped comfort me and encourage me during the past few days that we were traveling. I also talked about how I picture the music we sing. I see it as something more than sound waves bouncing off the walls and people in the places we sing. I picture the choir’s harmonies as love that is being poured out to our audiences.

Read More

On the Road Again With a Bunch of Friends


Hello, Bethel College Community, family, and friends. Greetings from the Concert Choir in the great state of Washington! Yesterday we drove to Wichita, KS and began our tour with an evening program at Lorraine Avenue Church. Several members of the congregation treated us to a wonderful meal and shortly afterward we performed our first concert, which went well, though I think we can perform even better if we’re able to get a little more rest somewhere in the next few days. The last week of midterms was hard for me at least. The people of Lorraine Avenue and Hope Mennonite church graciously let us stay at their homes afterward, giving us soft beds and lots of food. After an early flight and a slight delay in Denver we arrived in Spokane, where we ate a hearty dinner at a cool local restaurant called the Rusty Moose before rushing off and performing in a cathedral called St. Aloysius on the campus of Gonzaga University. Read More


Tonight I’ll be vicariously involved in a special tradition that Bethel takes part of every year: the yearly KMEA concerts. This is the showcase for all musical groups, both high school and collegiate, that sing or play in the state of Kansas. And this year, of all the groups that could have been chosen, our very own concert choir achieved the very prestigious distinction of singing in the final slot on Friday night. This means that in the eyes of the KMEA, the Bethel College concert choir is the best choir in all of Kansas, better than any of the KCAC, better than Newman or any of the other Division II schools, and even better than the three Division I schools that are located in Kansas. Read More

A night at the Orchestra

This past weekend, most of the students at Bethel enjoyed a 4-day fall break where they could go home and spend a few days with their families. I wish I could have gone home to visit my family and get some home cooking, but instead I stayed at Bethel and had the pleasure of singing with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. This was a new experience to me and I felt a bit overwhelmed by it and unsure how it would be. Once we got there, and started practicing, it took no time to change my mind. We sang the second symphony by Mahler, which our choir has been preparing for since the beginning of the school year. It was fairly difficult for me to enjoy the music and I thought it was going to be a very long and dull weekend. Boy was I wrong. Read More

Die Fledermaus!

Well, hello, my faithful readers! It has been a few weeks, hasn’t it? If you read Ryan’s post, then you probably already have an idea of what I am going to talk about: our upcoming operetta, “Die Fledermaus”! This will be my second opera to perform in at Bethel. My freshman year I was in “The Magic Flute,” which was a lot of fun, so I was excited to have another chance to be in an opera here. I was also in the musical, “The Light in the Piazza,” last year (we alternate between musical and opera each year). You may have noticed I wrote “operetta” instead of opera. I’m not an expert on this stuff, but from my understanding, operettas are always more comical than regular operas and also have more dialogue. This is definitely true of “Die Fledermaus”–we’ve been rehearsing for almost a month now, and we’re still laughing during rehearsals! Read More

Thoughts from Homestays

During any choir tour we have (sometimes) luxurious evenings at hotels, but often the most cozy, awkward or hilarious stories come from the nights when we stay with members of the host congregations.The past week was night after night of these stays in Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Read More


Hey there. So today I’m thinking about our upcoming European Choir Tour in January. I’m really glad that I’ve been able to be in this choir and have these kinds of opportunities. I really enjoyed our tour through the southwest last year, but I anticipate that going to Europe for 3-4 weeks is going to be infinitely better. Read More

An eventful weekend

Whew! This weekend sure has gone by in a whirl. You could say mine started Friday morning when I headed up to Manhattan to participate at NATS at Kansas State University. NATS stands for National Association of Teachers of Singing. It is a voice competition for college students in the West Central region, including Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. So, as I was saying, I piled into the car with four other girls participating in the competition Friday morning and made the 2-hour drive to Manhattan. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other better. Three other students from Bethel also participated–so overall we had 2 guys and 6 girls. Each of us sang in one preliminary round on Friday. One has the option of participating in either the classical division or the music theatre division–or both–and each division is also divided into classes, i.e. freshman, sophomore, junior, senior. Read More