Goshen Intermediate School music educator – podium director for grades fifth and sixth and assists with junior and senior high school orchestras

“I’m a viola player. I’ve played since I was in fifth grade, so about ten years now.

Both of my older brothers had been in orchestra. But the viola … I just really loved the sound. It’s a deeper, richer sound than the violin. It spoke to me, and it’s continued to do so since then.

I’m actually from Goshen, so the same job I have now is where I started my musical journey in Goshen’s fifth- and sixth-grade orchestra program.

I direct the orchestra at Goshen Intermediate School. I also work with 7-12 grade at the high school in an assistant capacity.

With those beginning levels, we’re looking at the fundamentals of good musicianship – how to count rhythm and read notes. The sixth graders are starting to move more into the character of the music and expression and playing in ensemble.

I think that’s difficult at that age. They’re ‘me’ focused, and it’s very different than any other classes they have at school where their performance impacts anyone other than themselves.

I actually didn’t know I wanted to come back to Goshen. I believed when I graduated high school that I would never, ever come back to Goshen! In my first year out of college, I took a job in Indianapolis – Franklin – teaching fifth- and sixth-grade orchestra. But when this job opened a year and a half ago, my colleagues messaged me about it. I applied, and then I got it.

There was a whole pro-con list about what to do, but the decision to come back was the right one.

Living in Indianapolis was great. There was so much to do. But there is so much about that big city feel that is different.

I was really big into academics in high school, and I thought I was focused on becoming something more prestigious [than a music teacher]. But that’s not where my passion was. I thought, ‘This brings me joy,’ so that’s what I did.

I would get ideas when I was younger [laughs]. My teenage self was a little dumb, and she wasn’t always right about everything.

I don’t play as much as I used to, but I play consistently with the Elkhart County Symphony. We have a concert coming up on November 20, and we’re playing Beethoven’s 9th symphony and performing with the Goshen College Choirs and the Camerata Singers.

So I’m practicing Beethoven a lot right now.

Goshen is so blessed as a community to have the kind of support we do for the arts. A lot of towns that are the size of Goshen do not have that. I think that sets us apart – that we have that support and that inspiration, and we choose to celebrate it.”