Campus News

Bethel College music performances to come with a new cost

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The Bethel College music department is well known for providing various entertaining performances throughout the academic year. However, these once free-of-charge performances will now come with a new raise in price from years past. Bethel College’s music department performances will now require an entrance fee/ticket for admission. This comes as a change from only having to pay admission costs for a select few of Bethel’s concerts throughout the year, such as the school’s annual Christmas concert. Now, all concerts, excluding student/faculty recitals, will cost a $5 to $7 entrance fee. Students and senior citizens will be able to purchase the tickets for $5, whereas general admission tickets for adults will cost $7. So why is there a new change in prices? Bethel College’s chair of music education Michael Kendall was able to provide some information on why the school has taken this new entrance fee policy after so long without one. “The reason is, [the music department], like so many other areas of school, is experiencing budget cuts and [Bethel] just needed some additional revenue to cancel out some of the materials and licensing costs,” said Kendall, “Our goal is not just to ‘make money’, it’s an attempt to be good stewards of what we have.” Kendall stated that there were many factors that went into this decision, but it ultimately was a decision that needed to be made. “[The new policy] was made this year, but it’s been in the works for probably five or six years amongst the music department,” stated Kendall, “The vast majority of colleges already [charge admission], but we had been trying to put it off for years… but [the music department] felt like we needed to do it now in order to keep the quality of the performances and our department at its high level.” In the music world, concerts are not usually described as being a cheap affair. In fact, Kendall informed The Bethel Beacon just how expensive a single performance may oftentimes be. “It’s not completely uncommon for a single performance, after paying licensing fees, music and everything else, to run close to 1,000 dollars per performance,” stated Kendall regarding the heavy costs of a single Bethel performance. So what all is there to pay for at one of these Bethel concerts? “We have three separate licensing organizations that we have to pay fees to in order to perform their music,” said Kendall, regarding part of the entrance fees’ costs, “We also have costs for posters, advertising and programs to cover as well.” And these fees that are paid to the licensing agencies are not cheap. In fact, Kendall stated that the college pays nearly $1,500 to $2,000 per school year to these organizations in order to continually use their music. The three licensing organizations that Kendall was referring to are as follows: the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). And the music itself is not cheap either. Kendall said that the cost of a single piece of musical composition for the wind ensemble alone could be close to $250 per musical part. Music majors and minors enrolled in the department’s performance class are actually to attend some of the concerts/performances that they, themselves, are not a part of. However, even with this change in costs for tickets, Kendall assured The Beacon that these students will not have to pay for those tickets. Music students will be given a pass into the shows that they are required to attend. Kendall had this to say, regarding his belief on how people will react to the change: “We believe that the people, although they will have to pay to get in now, will still get to see some very good and very entertaining performances for a very reasonable price,” said Kendall. In closing, Kendall addressed the fact that although his hopes are high in response to this change, it is a new policy and with that undoubtedly comes criticism and speculation. However, he believed that this decision will help the department for years to come. “We are trying this out as a sort of trial,” said Kendall, “We don’t know how people will react to this, and we will re-evaluate the cost as needed. We’ve always been very appreciative of the audiences that Bethel concerts provide for our students. Any change is made hoping that it doesn’t create a burden on our audience or students, while still keeping the department’s integrity strong.”
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