Director of the Arts: Engagement & Outreach, Goshen College
Goshen Arts and Culture District Task Force member, Goshen Arts Council
Music was an important part of my house when I was growing up. My parents weren’t musicians, but they had a lot of music, and they saw to it that my sister and I both started piano lessons pretty young.
I guess what probably urged me in the music direction was the fact that I had gifts that other people noticed and they kept encouraging me. Ultimately, that became a career goal for me. When I first went into studying music, I thought I was going to do something more as a professional musician. But my parents kind of insisted that I really needed to get a degree that I could get a job with and support myself. They urged me to get a dual degree in performance and education. As an outcome of that, I had to student teach. I just fell in love with teaching, and that’s what I did for the next 40 years, never looking back.
The facilities that we have at the Goshen College Music Center are incredible. Not only do we have incredible artists from all over the world who perform in Sauder Concert Hall and give it rave reviews, but we also have children from our community who perform there. We have community organizations like the Maple City Orchestra and the Goshen Community Chorale and Notable Women and the Open Fifths, and the college students who perform in there on a regular basis.
We also have an incredible music staff at the Music Center that works in exceptional ways to make incredible things happen there. Another really strong point about Goshen College is that we work with our students to help them get the education they need for whatever they dream of next in their lives. Additionally, we have some incredible core values that have to do with global citizenship. I think that’s very timely for where we are in our world right now: It’s not just about us. It’s about all of us.
What the Arts and Culture District would do is name something that we already have. There’s no doubt in my mind that our downtown is an Arts and Culture District. That is incredibly important to me. It’s part of what I’ve watched emerge in the last 40 years of being a musician and a music educator in our town. I’ve watched the arts and the creatives in our community reinvent Goshen. To me, the artistry in our community at all levels is incredibly evident and incredibly accessible. As we work together to create a Goshen Arts and Culture District, to me it’s already there. It is real and it is alive, but we need to name it. In naming it, I think, we take it that step further, and we also make sure that it becomes a priority and we preserve it. It, to me, is the lifeblood of our town.
Goshen is a great place to visit, but it’s even a better place to live. I think we have a lot to offer. I think we are diverse, but yet at the same time working toward being a community. And I think we have places where everyone can find a place to fit in. There’s plenty to do here if you’re coming to visit. If you’re coming here to live, you can find a niche. You can find a group, you can find a community, you can find a way in which to express yourself if that’s what you’re looking for. I feel like there’s an openness in this community to what you have to share. I think we’ve come to a point where we know we aren’t always going to agree, but I think we also are working to a point where we appreciate diversity, not only in the arts and what we have to share but in appreciating the diversity in what we think and what we can imagine.
I dearly love Goshen. I think it’s a great place. We’re not perfect, but I look around and it is amazing to me how we continue to find ways to not necessarily reinvent who we are, but be willing to re-visualize how we move forward. I think we’ve got great leadership in town, and I appreciate that.”
Writing and editing by Scott Weisser and Neil King
Photo provided by Goshen College
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