The Messiah Festival of the Arts is offering education outreach opportunities to area students this year as part of its events leading up to the Easter Sunday performance of Handel’s “Messiah” on the Bethany College campus. This year’s student outreach event will feature Claude McKnight and Mark Kibble, members of the Take 6 vocal jazz group.

Launched in 2013 with overwhelming success, the Education Outreach program strives to connect students with a fine arts clinic/workshop experience at no cost as part of the annual Messiah Festival activities.

This year’s Outreach Programs include the String Apprenticeship Program that pairs student musicians with principals from the Bethany Oratorio Society Orchestra, and a workshop titled, “What is Jazz” featuring members from Take 6 and The Standard Vocal Jazz Ensemble from Kansas City Kansas Community College (KCKCC).

The 2017 String Apprenticeship, designed for area high school students, was awarded to: Maria Bonilla, violin II, a freshman from Salina High School South; Lauren Tubal, viola, a sophomore from Salina Central High School; and Kate Evert, cello, a junior from Smoky Valley High School.

These three high school string musicians have won the second-chair position in the Bethany Oratorio Society Orchestra’s “Messiah” performance, next to principal musicians: Manda Deegan, violin II; Lillian Green, viola; and Cody Flory Robertson, cello.

The “What is Jazz” workshop will take place Monday, April 10 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in Presser Auditorium at Bethany College for area junior high school and high school students. Claude McKnight and Mark Kibble, members of the a cappella group Take 6 will lead the workshop. Take 6 is a Grammy winning vocal jazz ensemble that will perform in concert on Palm Sunday as part of the Messiah Festival of the Arts. Also performing during the workshop will be the KCKCC jazz ensemble directed by John Stafford II.  It is a free workshop for area students and the public is welcome to attend and enjoy the music.

This year’s Messiah Festival of the Arts will begin on Palm Sunday weekend with Take 6 in concert on April 9 at 3 p.m. in Presser Auditorium. Bach’s “The Passion According to St. Matthew” will be performed on Good Friday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. and on Easter Sunday, April 16 the Bethany Oratorio Society will perform Handel’s “Messiah” at 3 p.m. All oratorio performances are at Presser Hall Auditorium on the Bethany campus. Tickets and a full schedule of events can be found online at