I’ve blogged about music at Bethel many times before, and for good reason. Music is a huge part of campus life with a large portion of the student body involved in choir, wind ensemble, jazz band or orchestra. The end of the semester brings many concerts, including Masterworks, the annual mass choir performance. The choir is made up of the Concert Choir, Men’s Ensemble, Women’s Chorus and community members.

Usually the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony performs with the choir but this year the program on Sunday included James Syler’s Symphony No. 1 ‘Blue’ which uses a wind ensemble instead of a string and wind group. The wind ensemble, comprised of students, community members and professionals, also performed Maslanka’s Symphony No. 4.

As a member of the wind ensemble, I was very excited to be a part of the concert this year. We had been preparing the pieces since March. The Maslanka piece in particular was huge-both musically and in number of players. A symphony written for wind ensemble is rare, and this one in particular is spectacularly awesome and worth looking up online.

The performance in Memorial Hall was unforgettable. For one thing, there is no air conditioning in the performance hall so that made everything more exhausting. With 80-some performers in the wind ensemble and 200+ including the chorus, the sound was incredible.

Masterworks happens every year. It’s a staple in Bethel’s musical tradition, but this year was particularly spectacular.