On Sunday, Oct. 24, Goshen College presented its fall music program “Hope and Healing” in Sauder Concert Hall. 

The program explored different themes such as racial tension, economic instability and climate change, all during a global pandemic. 

“The music I selected all has to do with hope and healing,” said Scott Hochstetler, professor of music at Goshen College and director of the event. “We specifically chose healing because I knew we were going to be coming out of the pandemic. We need hope that we can get through this…It’s a very timely theme.”

The event explored these themes on a more profound level with the help of guest cellist Jose Rocha and The Camerata Singers. 

The Camerata Singers are a professional choral ensemble made up of community members and directed by Hochstetler. 

Many of these singers went to Goshen College and wanted to find ways to continue doing something they love and are passionate about after graduation. 

The group hasn’t performed in person since the beginning of the pandemic. As the pandemic slowed down, Hochestsler was excited about the possibility of live performances.

“We haven’t been singing as a choir for two years because of COVID,” he said. “We were rehearsing in early March of 2020, and then everything got shut down…We haven’t had live singing in spaces for a long time, so that…was exciting.”

Hochestsler was also excited to welcome Rocha, a former Goshen College music professor and orchestra director. 

The event pamphlet describes Rocha as a vibrant cellist and educator devoted to shaping future musicians through music education.

“Jose was engaging and passionate about making music,” recalls Kaliah Lefever, a junior majoring in secondary education with a music minor. “He gave everyone equal attention, whether they had smaller parts or instruments that weren’t played as often in pieces.”

Lefever is proficient on the harp and recalls a specific moment when Rocha made an extra effort to include her.   

“I had been used to a violin I part, which is usually one note at a time,” said Lefever. “It’s not that fun on a harp. He would try to find pieces with harp parts. If it didn’t have one, he would compose one. I had never worked with someone willing to do that.”

Rocha continues to foster his love for music education at Ohio University.

“Hope and Healing” concluded their program’s first half with Hyo Won Woon’s music piece “Requiem Aeternam,” which translates to eternal rest. 

“This requiem was dedicated to victims of COVID,” said Hochstetler. “It’s got some challenging music, but it’s really beautiful.”