Music floods junior music education major Miranda Earnhart’s world as she participates in orchestra, women’s choir, chamber choir and the worship ensemble, Parables. Earnhart has performed as a soprano in the musical “Urinetown,” the opera “The Marriage of Figaro,” and most recently in this year’s Concerto Aria competition. Earnhart also plays the violin, ukelele and bowed psaltery.
When asked which of these activities she enjoyed the most, Earnhart could not make a decision. However, she did note that due to a busy year, “Vocal things have become my primary focus.”
Earnhart’s interest in music began around age three. Since then, she has “been involved in choirs, show choirs and musicals all throughout school.” At Goshen College, Earnhart has enjoyed how personal the music program is. She says that “all of the professors in the music department know me. They all support what I’m doing.” She refers to the music department as a community within the broader Goshen community.
Earnhart highlighted her experience in the Women’s World Music Choir, explaining how grateful she is to have the chance to sing music that is “snarly and in-your-face.” She enjoys the choir’s deviation from classical pieces because “being able to produce those kinds of sounds is empowering.”
Earnhart also recognizes the powerful spiritual connection she gets from music. “It can be very closely tied to spirituality and the relationship that you have with God,” says Earnhart. “It can be a way to meditate, it can be a way to pray, to express your feelings to God in a different way.”
Earnhart says that her spirituality and interest in music have “grown in tandem” due to church experiences which emphasized the value of musical expression as well as her time in Parables, GC’s worship ensemble.
“It’s such a great way to bond with people that maybe you wouldn’t have before and to share your faith in a new way.”
Earnhart plans to share her gifts in music and worship this summer at Camp Friedenswald. She is excited to work with people of all ages. “I’ll get to work with anywhere from elementary schoolers to family camps,” says Earnhart.
In the future, Earnhart plans to become a music educator. She will be student teaching in Elkhart this coming fall, applying all her skills to the classroom for the first time.
As Earnhart thinks about teaching students of her own, she reflects on those who have helped her along the way.
“I was pushed by a lot by people in high school. One of them was my theater director and the other was my choir director,” she says. “They pushed me to go beyond what I thought I was capable of.”
“They weren’t always super nice about it,” she added. “But, they believed in me, and continued to push me because they knew I could get there.”
In Earnhart’s classroom, high expectations for students will be the norm. She says “If you set low standards, [the students are] going to think that’s as high as they can go.”
She adds that “You can [set high expectations] in a loving way,” by challenging students to work in groups and showing them how capable they really are.
Musical performance has been an important part of Earnhart’s career so far, and she doesn’t plan to let that go when she starts teaching. She identifies the emotional attachment she gets after practicing a piece for months on end. Although her future may not be entirely certain, Earnhart recognizes that music will always be an important part of her life.
“I plan to continue my musical growth,” Earnhart says, “whether that be singing in some community choir or being involved in an orchestra or helping out at church.”