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Barton to host Annual Endowment Concert
Steve Lueth to retire
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Barton Director of Instrumental Activities Steve Lueth directs the Barton Orchestra on April 11. Lueth was a vital part of reviving the orchestra during his time at Barton.

The Barton Music Department will host the Endowment Concert, a fundraiser for music student scholarships, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2 in the Fine Arts Auditorium. The suggested minimum donation is $5 per person. The event is free for Barton students. The concert will celebrate the career and retirement of Director of Instrumental Activities Steve Lueth, which will conclude his fifteen years of service with Barton Community College.

The concert will feature the Concert Choir, Hilltop Singers, Dolce, DaCapo, and the Barton Jazz Band.  Various soloists and duos from the studios of Glenna Gaunt, Karole Erikson and Steve Lueth will be featured.

Barton Director of Choral Activities Sara Oberle said while the suggested minimum donation is only $5, she encourages people to donate more if they are able. 

“The purpose of building the music endowment fund is to ensure future funding of awards so that students can follow their passion,” she said. “For example, a gift of $150 to $250 would support a student’s participation for a semester in jazz band or choir, and a gift of $400 would provide assistance for a pep band member for a semester. Many students would not be able to pursue a degree without the generous financial help.”

The endowment started in 1998 with the help of the Barton Foundation and has since helped numerous students participate in music at Barton. The Endowment Concert also helps benefit a program, which began in 2017, to provide tuition and fees scholarships to high school juniors and seniors who enroll in voice, piano or instrumental lessons. 

For more information, contact Director of Choral Activities Sara Oberle at or (620) 792-9395

Steve Lueth

Barton Director of Instrumental Activities Steve Lueth began his journey at Barton in 2004. Since then, he has directed the Pep Band, Jazz Band, Concert Band and Orchestra, which he helped resurrect early in his tenure at Barton. 

Leuth has taught hundreds of students and helped guide them in their musical careers, performed more times than he can count with various ensembles and as a soloist and holds a master’s degree in music, so it might be surprising that his path towards a career in music was less than traditional or even expected. 

“From first till fourth grade I did not like music at all,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I thought it was the dumbest thing in the world and I don’t know how my teacher put up with me. Then, in sixth grade, we had band tryouts and I started with percussion and low brass and expanded into piano soon after.”

Now, as a seasoned music veteran, Lueth can acknowledge that as a youngster he had the wrong idea about music.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” he said. “I get a personal reflection out of it and it’s a way for me to relax.” 

Lueth said his time at Barton has been very rewarding. 

“I’ve enjoyed every year here,” he said. “I always looked forward to coming to work and working with the kids and watching them explore music.”

Sophomore in music Alex Robl said he appreciated Lueth’s teaching style and ability to relate to his students.

“Working with him has been really great,” he said.  “He knows so much and has so much experience about everything it was really fun to learn under him.  He’s just really laid back but at the same time, you don’t feel like he doesn’t care.  You know he wants you to learn, but it’s relaxed and he knows how to teach effectively. Barton is losing a really good one.”

Barton Director of Chorale Activities Sara Oberle said working professionally with Lueth has been enjoyable.

“Steve has been an absolute joy to work with and I will certainly miss him,” she said. “He has provided great leadership for the Barton Music Department and championed capital improvements so that we may continue to provide our students with excellent facilities and instruments.”

Lueth said he has really enjoyed working to improve the department. 

“One of the things I take great pride in is working with the amazing faculty, staff and administration at Barton and the amazing strides we’ve made here in the music department.”

Lueth plans to continue teaching, performing and directing in a more limited capacity at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, where he plans to move.