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Lift Every Voice

Lift Every Voice - Bel Canto Singers concert

Bel Canto Singers are excited to share our music through this unique tour experience. We invite you to join us in person – bring your lawn chair and enjoy a socially distanced outdoor concert – or through our Virtual Concert.

Make a donation to support our program (choose “Bel Canto Offering” for the designation) or sign up to receive emails about upcoming events, performances and news from Hesston College Fine Arts.


Itinerary and host churches

Changes due to weather will be announced via the Hesston College Music Facebook page.

  • *Friday, April 30, 7 p.m. – Hesston College Mullet Drive, Hesston, Kan.
  • *Monday, May 3, 7 p.m. – Dyck Arboretum of the Plains with Marie Engle, Hesston, Kan. – Opera at the Arb
  • Tuesday, May 4, 7 p.m. – First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson, Kan.
  • Thursday, May 6, 7 p.m. – Harper Community Park, 799 West Main Street, Harper, Kan.
  • Friday, May 7, 7 p.m. – Heartland Community High School, Henderson, Neb.
  • Sunday, May 9, 4 p.m. – Salem-Zion Mennonite Church, Freeman S.D.
  • Monday, May 10, 7 p.m. – Bethel Mennonite Church, Mountain Lake, Minn.
  • Thursday, May 13, 7 p.m. – Banman Residence, 8538 Mette Street, Lenexa, Kan.
  • *Friday, May 14, 7 p.m. – Tabor Mennonite Church, Goessel, Kan.

All concerts will be broadcast on 107.1 FM with a signal range of about one block.
*Concert is available for livestream viewing.


Program

Hope. . . . .Ysaye M. Barnwell
The Song We Sing. . . . .Jacob Narverud
We Can Mend the Sky. . . . .Jake Runestand
Anna Banman, soloist; Ethan Klassen, djembe
Psalm of Life. . . . .Craig Hella Johnson
Way Over in Beulah Lan’. . . . .Traditional Spiritual, arr. Stacey V. Gibbs
Interlude
Blessed Lamb, On Calvary’s Mountain. . . . .Beach Springs, arr. K. Lee Scott
Kelly Miller, piano
He Was Wounded. . . . .Craig Courtney
Alyssa Nolt, piano
Early in the Morning. . . . .A. P. Van Iderstine
The Ground from Sunrise Mass. . . . .Ola Gjeilo
Lift Every Voice and Sing. . . . .John Rosamond Johnson, arr. Jon Nicholas
Interlude
Cornerstone. . . . .Shawn Kirchner
Alexander Miller and Kara Longenecker, soloists
Anna Banman, Alyssa Nolt and Kara Longenecker, trio

Interludes

Selected from the following pieces:

Climbin’ Up the Mountain. . . . .Spiritual, arr. Patsy Ford Simms
Aidan Swartzendruber
Cold Is the Night. . . . .The Oh Hellos
Kara Longenecker and Caleb Oesch
Dancing on the Waves. . . . .We the Kingdom
Anna Banman and Addy Powers
Dear Theodosia (Hamilton). . . . .Lin-Manuel Miranda
Alex Miller and Ethan Klassen
Fly Me to the Moon. . . . .Bart Howard
Caleb Oesch
Long Time Traveler. . . . .The Wailin’ Jennys
Kara Longenecker, Addy Powers and Anna Banman
King of Love. . . . .I Am They
Anna Banman, Kara Longenecker and Addy Powers
My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord. . . . .Spiritual, arr. Florence B. Price
Meg Beyer
Wade In The Water. . . . .Spiritual, arr. Mark Hayes
Caleb Oesch
What Love is This?. . . . .Kari Jobe
Anna Banman
You Say. . . . .Lauren Daigle
Anna Banman

2020-21 Bel Canto Singers

Personnel

Dr. Russell Adrian, conductor
Kenneth Rodgers, piano

Soprano

Anna Banman, Fr., Lenexa, Kan.
Bethany Masters, Fr., Mount Eaton, Ohio
Kelly Miller, Fr., Archbold, Ohio
Adaylia Powers, Fr., Buhler, Kan.
Rachel Teeter, Fr., Hesston, Kan.

Alto

Alyssa Burkholder, Fr., Goessel, Kan.
Meg Beyer, Fr., Harrisonburg, Va.
Madison Higdon, So., Kalona, Iowa
Natalie Ladd, So., Hesston, Kan.
Kara Longenecker, So., Harrisonburg, Va.
Alyssa Nolt, Fr., Shickley, Neb.

Tenor

Luke Allison, So., Freeman, S.D.
Alexander Miller, So., Arlington, Kan.
Isaac Tice, Fr., Buhler, Kan.

Bass

Ethan Klassen, So., Mt. Lake, Minn.
Xavier Jang, So., Siheung, Republic of Korea
Caleb Oesch, So., Caldwell, Idaho
Aidan Swartzendruber, Fr., Henderson, Neb.


Texts and Translations

Hope. . . . .Ysaye M. Barnwell (b. 1946)

If we want hope to survive in this world today, then every day we’ve got to pray on.
If we want hope to survive in this world today, then every day we’ve got to walk on.
If we want hope to survive in this world today, then every day we’ve got to work on.
If we want hope to survive in this world today, then every day we’ve got to march on.
If we want hope to survive in this world today, then every day we’ve got to teach on.
If we want hope to survive in this world today, then every day we’ve got to sing on.

Ysaye Barnwell is a singer and composer well known from her years singing bass in the African American a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock (1979-2013). Dr. Barnwell has led Building a Vocal Community workshops for over 30 years focused on the power of bringing people together through singing. After missing out on concerts and touring since March, Hope is a fitting piece to open our concert this afternoon. The relentless message shines through in the text and composition style of the music. Return to program


The Song We Sing. . . . .Jacob Narverud (b. 1986), Text by Robert Bode

The song we sing is meant to bring
A moment of soft weather,
Where care and worry lift away
And we can breathe together.
We seldom find a quiet space
(In public, almost never)
Yet here we sit and know we fit,
And we belong together.

For we are home (yes, everyone),
The poet and the beggar,
The lover and the rebel, too,
Are welcome here, forever.
So close your eyes and feel your hearts
Begin to beat together,
And know that we, in harmony,
Will join the Song forever.

A native of Meriden, Kansas, Jacob Narverud has composed several compositions focused on community. This work encourages us to feel our hearts beat together and join the Song forever. This analogy is perfect for our community around Hesston College that comes from many places, yet calls this place home. Return to program


We Can Mend the Sky. . . . .Jake Runestand (b. 1986), Text by Warda Mohamed

Anna Banman, soloist; Ethan Klassen, djembe

If we come together, we can mend the crack in the sky.

The text of this work comes from students at the Minnesota International Middle School which provides a safe and inclusive environment for East African immigrant students to study. Today, we will perform the final section of the work, which is a musical depiction of one’s journey as an immigrant, offering an affirmation of hope as we all embrace the diversity around us. This music has been running through my head since March when we dispersed from our campus to online learning. However, the message that comes from the text of this Somali child bears even greater importance in the wake of social and racial inequality that has come to light through this pandemic. Return to program


Psalm of Life. . . . .Craig Hella Johnson (b. 1962), Text by Mattie Stepanek

Echo of understanding,
Silhouette of courage,
Reflection of knowledge,
Oh, sighing breath of wisdom,
Spirit my life.

I live in the shadow of doubt,
I dwell in dark of unknown,
I wonder and wander in
Mere mortal moments,
My soul seeking solace and peace.

I pray for the world in such need,
I yearn for a world with real peace,
I praise and give thanks in
The hope of tomorrow,
Beyond days of my moments on earth.

Although this text was written in 2005, it feels like it fits perfectly for 2020. The work ends with a soaring reiteration of the last stanza: “Oh, sighing breath of wisdom, Spirit my life” that eventually fades away in an echo. So too will these trying times pass by and we will give thanks in the hope of tomorrow. Return to program


Way Over in Beulah Lan’. . . . .Traditional Spiritual, arr. Stacey V. Gibbs (b. 1962)

We gonna have a good, good time
Way over in Beulah Lan’.

Oh, when we get way ovuh in Beulah Lan’,
Yes, way ovuh in Beulah Lan’.
Oh, we gonna have a good, good time
Oh, Lordy, way ovuh in Beulah Lan’.

I’m singin’, way ovuh in Beulah Lan’,
Yes, way ovuh in Beulah Lan’.
Oh, we gonna have a good, good time
Oh, Lordy, way ovuh in Beulah Lan’

Oh, we gonna walk dem golden streets way ovuh in Beulah Lan’.

Oh, we gonna drink of de Holy wine way ovuh in Beulah Lan’.

Singin’, way ovuh in Beula Lan’,
Yes, way ovuh in Beulah Lan’.
Oh, we gonna have a good, good time
Oh, Lordy, way ovuh in Beulah Lan’.

Beulah is referred to in Isaiah 62:4 and in Hebrew means married. The metaphor describes the relationship between God and his people and Beulah Land projects the coming prosperity that will be enjoyed in the land of Israel. Within the context of a Spiritual, this image carries great meaning depicting an escape to the North and living in freedom. Perhaps in our current time, we may simply look to a future without masks and social distancing! Return to program


Blessed Lamb, On Calvary’s Mountain. . . . .Beach Springs, arr. K. Lee Scott, Text by Matthew Bridges

Kelly Miller, piano

Blessed Lamb! on Calvary’s mountain,
Slain to take our sins away:
Let the drops of that rich fountain,
Our tremendous ransom pay:
Loving Savior, Loving Savior,
Lowly at Thy feet we pray.

Blessed Lamb, vouchsafe us pardon,
In Thy love our souls confide;
By Thy groans within the Garden,
By the death which Thou hast died.
Let Thy Passion, Let Thy Passion,
Evermore with us abide.

So shall peace, sweet peace be given,
Purchase of Thy precious pain;
So shall earth but lead to heaven,
Since for us the Lamb was slain:
Dear Redeemer, Dear Redeemer,
Thou canst not have died in vain.


Return to program


This section of our program was first performed as part of an outdoor Holy Week service titled Renewed Life. The program can still be viewed online and features a radio play written by Michele Hershberger. Find yourself on the streets of Jerusalem, or should we say, Hesston.


He Was Wounded. . . . .Craig Courtney (b. 1954), Text from Isaiah 53: 3-6

Alyssa Nolt, piano

He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities,
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him.
And with His wounds, we are healed.

He was despis’d, He was rejected,
One from whom men hide their faces.
Man of sorrows, with grief acquainted,
We esteem’d Him not.

All we like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us turned to his own way,
And the Lord has laid on Him all of our sin.

Surely He took up all of our suff’ring,
Surely He carried our sorrows.
Yet we considered Him afflicted,
Smitten, stricken by God.


Return to program


Early in the Morning. . . . .A. P. Van Iderstine, Text based on Scripture

Early in the morning cometh Mary and two other women,
Early, early, while it was still, still and dark.

They brought spices with them,
and ointments to prepare His body for decent burial.

Lo, an angel saying: “He is risen!
As He said; He indeed is risen!”

They stood gazing, wond’ring, unbelieving;
Then faith brightened their vision. He is risen indeed!

Early, in the morning cometh Mary and two other women,
Early, early, as the dawn began to glow. He is risen!


Return to program


The Ground from Sunrise Mass. . . . .Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978)

Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.
Osanna, Osanna in excelsis.

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Benedictus qui venit.
Osanna, Osanna in excelsis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi,
Dona nobis pacem.

Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Hosanna, hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Blessed is He who comes.
Hosanna in the highest.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Lamb of God, grant us peace.

The Ground is a work based on a chorale from Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass for Choir and String Orchestra, using the text of the last movement of his Mass: Benedictus and Agnus Dei. Return to program


Lift Every Voice and Sing. . . . .John Rosamond Johnson (1871-1938), arr. Jon Nicholas

Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won

Stony the road we trod
Bitter the chastening rod
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died
Yet with a steady beat
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered
Out from the gloomy past
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast

God of our weary years
God of our silent tears
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way
Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light
Keep us forever in the path, we pray
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee

Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee
Shadowed beneath Thy hand
May we forever stand
True to our God
True to our native land
Our native land


Return to program


Cornerstone. . . . .Shawn Kirchner (b. 1970)

Text based on Psalm 118:22, Isaiah 11:6 John 12:24, and I Corinthians 15:55
Alexander Miller and Kara Longenecker, soloists
Anna Banman, Alyssa Nolt and Kara Longenecker, trio

O the stone that the builders rejected,
Became the cornerstone of a whole new world.

A grain of wheat may be knocked to the ground
And suffer through the winter’s cold,
Only to rise right up again,
And bear its seed a thousandfold.

Never can our journey fail;
A little child will lead the way,
Whose eyes are filled with a shining light,
To Whom the night is bright as day.

The love that rolls the stone away,
Gives us life and that we may sing,
“Grave where is thy victory?
Death, o death, where is thy sting?”