Music and theatre performances part of Commencement Weekend

Arts enthusiasts can enjoy several performances to close out the 2014-15 academic year during Hesston College’s Commencement Weekend May 8 to 10.

Students in the college’s Directing class will direct one-act plays in two performances during the weekend – at 7 p.m., Friday, May 8 and at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 9. Both performances will be at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains Prairie Pavilion. Admission is free. The performances are rated PG due to some language.

Freshman Erika Byler, Shipshewana, Ind., will direct The True Story of Cinderella by Richard Conlon, which looks at the familiar fairytale from a new perspective. Freshman RaeLee Hightower, Tulsa, Okla., will direct Sure Thing and English Made Simple by David Ives, which are commentaries on second chances and the complexity of human nature.

The Bel Canto Singers, under the direction of Bradley Kauffman, will present the “Asylum: worth, beauty and refuge” program at 4 p.m., Saturday, May 9, at Hesston Mennonite Church on the Hesston College campus. The concert is a sendoff for their tour to the Northwestern United States following graduation, May 13 to 19.

The concert draws inspiration from Hesston College’s 2014 common read Escape from Camp 14, a New York Times bestseller by Blaine Harden. The program champions the cause of human rights and celebrates refuge in its many forms with music ranging from renaissance motet to South African and African-American freedom songs and recent works.

Bel Canto members are: Rachelle Adrian (Mt. Lake, Minn.), Erika Byler (Shipshewana, Ind.), Alaina Beatty (Washington, Iowa), Mary Bender (Harrisonburg, Va.), Brady Bilderback (Caldwell, Idaho), Kiara Boettger (Harrisonburg, Va.), Zachary Headings (Haven, Kan.), Ben Helmuth (Goshen, Ind.), Galed Krisjayanta (Surakarta, Indonesia), Havela Lehman (Keizer, Ore.), Elliott Leichty (Harrisonburg, Va.), Matt Lind (Harrisonburg, Va.), Jay Marston (Murpheysboro, Ill.), Anna Martin (Harleysville, Pa.), Karli Mast (Hubbard, Ore.), John Miller (Partridge, Kan.), Lorren Oesch (Caldwell, Idaho), Casey Perez (Kalona, Iowa), Eleya Raim (Oxford, Iowa), Emma Roth (Goshen, Ind.), Caleb Schrock-Hurst (Harrisonburg, Va.), Rachel Shenk (Waynesboro, Va.), Andry Stutzman (Harrisonburg, Va.) and Taylor Zehr (Archbold, Ohio).