Goshen College’s Music Center held their annual Sherer International Violin and Piano Competition on Sept. 17 and 18. The competition was open to classically trained pianists and violinists ages 13-18 across the globe.

While the competition was originally set to begin in 2020, its first year was canceled due to COVID-19. This is the second year the music department has held the competition.

“I was honored to be asked [to judge] and thoroughly enjoyed listening to the 11 talented violinists,” said Professor Penny Thompson Kruse, professor of violin at Bowling Green State University and a judge for the Sherer Competition. “I was impressed by the distance applicants traveled to compete.”

The competition required the violinists and pianists to play two contrasting pieces in baroque, classical, romantic or contemporary style. 

“We heard a large range of works of extreme difficulty,” said Kruse. “I believe the guidelines allowed for the students to choose works that showcased their strengths. The large amount of repertoire made the day even more interesting to me as an adjudicator.”

The competition is unique in that it attracts young musicians to play at GC for the competition and their college musical careers.

“There’s a lot of competitions for adult and college aged musicians,” said Professor Solomia Soroka, professor of music at GC and artistic director of the competition. “These musicians put lots of work into school, but also into their music and their instruments. We want to value that. We also want to attract young students to our campus as well. They are incredible musicians and everyone in attendance was just stunned by their play[ing].”

The music department also took special care to make sure this was not just a competition, but an event that the community of Goshen could enjoy.

“It is not just about competing,” said Soroka. “There was so much…talent that enriches Goshen College’s musical department and music life. There was so much learning to be had. The president came to greet contestants, which was really special.”

The competition was held in honor of the late Lon and Kathryn Sherer, Goshen College professors emeritus of music.

“They did so much for us and deeply developed the music program and direction here,” said Soroka. “We created this competition in their honor and memory.”

The music department has hopes to continue this competition every fall semester and to include the community of Goshen as much as possible in it.

“We would always like to grow,” said Soroka. “We want to involve more people as a public event to the winners concert as well as the judges concert held here.”