Jose Rocha

Orchestra Director, Cello Professor, and Music Education Coordinator for Goshen College

I came to Goshen [for an interview at Goshen College], and I almost didn’t get here. The day I was flying here for my interview, there were tornadoes from Chicago all the way down to Houston. It was one of the worst flights I had ever been on. I was not feeling really great. I was thinking, ‘This must be a sign.’

But I woke up the next morning and I got picked up at the hotel, and then I got to see Goshen during the day. I loved the downtown area, the Main Street, the houses on 6th Street and 8th Street. It was a beautiful day. I got [to the college] and I met the students, and I was blown away. Really.

What got me hooked was my interview with the students that morning; to hear their opinions … their strong feelings and beliefs about things that are very important to me: peace, justice, volunteerism, things like that.

I was feeling kind of smug that morning, I had just had a very good interview with the third largest university in Texas –– but I asked the students, ‘Why should I consider coming to Goshen? What makes Goshen different?’ And one of the students said, ‘We are very competitive and we want to excel. But we also understand that we can’t excel alone. We need to help those around us so they can excel, too. And together, we can do better things.’ It was a great answer, and that hooked me. From then on, I forgot the terrible flight the day before, all of the “signs” that were pointing away. I had a great visit. I loved it. I left hoping very, very strongly that I would get invited back. I felt like it was the place for me.

[At a previous job,] I happened to be in a rehearsal for a concert when the harp player was not prepared. At admission, the person that was playing harp was fired and another one was brought in. That fast. So what I like about [Goshen] is not only how many people are involved with musical groups –– like Goshen Chorale, Maple City Orchestra, Elkhart Orchestra, St. Joseph Camarata –– but also the appreciation for culture here, for theater, for art. I was happily surprised that in a town the size of Goshen, there was so much culture happening.


I hate to compare, but the quality of life here is so much higher. You have a lot of the things you’d have in a much bigger place, yet you can live so much better.

Editor • Liz Shenk
Photography and Audio • Ashley Ganger

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