Hesston College freshman Quinn Kathrineberg (Salina, Kan.) spends a significant amount of time each week with her viola. Between String Ensemble practices and performances, private lessons and her own practice time, she has many opportunities to satisfy her love of music.
Starting with the 2014-15 year, the music program will shift from a concert band focus to a chamber orchestra emphasis in an effort to incorporate string players like Kathrineberg more fully into the program.
“We have a core of strong string players and want to create more opportunities for them to be involved in a chamber orchestra context,” said music instructor Bradley Kauffman.
Since 2007, the college has maintained an instrumental music presence and offered group concert band. The addition of strings to the larger ensemble will offer more opportunities for string players who want personalized instruction in their instrument and is expected to result in a larger performing group.
While music has played an integral role at the college since its first day almost 105 years ago, strings were not an ongoing part of the musical history until recently.
Music instructors noticed a trend in more string players considering Hesston. As students with those interests arrived on campus, a string ensemble was formed to incorporate their talents and interests in the music program in addition to private lessons with accomplished faculty. Rebecca Schloneger, a local violinist with the Wichita (Kan.) Symphony Orchestra, adjunct Hesston College faculty member and teacher at Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts (Newton, Kan.), has played a large part in enhancing Hesston’s offering to string players through private lessons and directing the String Ensemble.
The String Ensemble for the 2013-14 year is made up of six students who have performed as a small group at several campus events, music program concerts and as part of a larger chamber orchestra with local musicians for the college’s production of the opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in November.
Kathrineberg is not a music major, but has been heavily involved in music for many years and her ability to continue being involved played a role in her college decision.
“I came to Hesston because I knew I would get more individual music instruction, which would also help me in large ensembles,” Kathrineberg said. “Music is something I love to do and even though it is not my major, it will always be a part of my life and I will always play in an ensemble or orchestra. I am excited that the program will have more to offer string players moving forward.”
Each year, about 20 percent of Hesston College students participate in the college’s music program vocal and instrumental offerings. Students with all levels of interest in music are welcomed into the various vocal and instrumental ensembles. Hesston College offers private lessons and unique ensemble and solo performance opportunities.