The music department opened their season with the Homecoming Music Gala in Sauder Concert Hall on Saturday. It was the first performance with a live audience of community members since before the COVID-19 pandemic.Performing were the Goshen College choirs (Chamber Choir, Vox Profundi and Voices of the Earth), directed by Scott Hochstetler and H. Roz Woll, the GC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Brian Mast, the Sherer Trio (Solomia Soroka, violin; Dato Machavariani, cello; Matthew Hill, piano) and a string octet which was made up of both students and faculty.
The annual Homecoming Gala was the first event held in the Music Center when it was first built in 2002.
“It was kind of special, the final piece [performed this year] was commissioned to be composed for that opening dedication…,” said Brian Mast, executive director of the Goshen College Music Center. “It was … fitting … after a year and a half of no [live] performances.”
Though the event takes place over Homecoming Weekend and is called the “Homecoming Gala,” it is not necessarily tailored directly to returning alumni.
“It’s not so much what we are singing or performing, but more that we are performing,” Mast said.
Mast also spoke about the overall goal of the event: “We wanna have a performance to showcase what is happening in the music department. And for them [alumni] to reminisce about their time in the choirs or orchestra.”
Further emphasizing the diversity that encompasses the music department, Mast said, “I don’t think people realize how many students are involved in music ensembles … people from all different majors.”
Roz Woll, assistant professor of music, directs Voices of the Earth, GC’s treble choir, and teaches voice lessons.
Woll is relatively new to the Goshen College faculty. This is her second year, making this weekend’s concert her first live performance at Goshen College.
“I loved getting to see the other choirs … and the orchestra perform,” Woll said. “It was lovely to get a perspective of that all in one evening.”
In Woll’s first year, the pandemic proved itself to be an obstacle: “Last year, it was a challenge because we were all navigating the unpredictability of the pandemic, so we just needed an attitude of adaptability all the time.”
When speaking about the strength of GC’s art community, Woll said, “I think the students bring extensive background in many different kinds of music-making, and I think that the leadership of the school values it as well.”
Upcoming performances for the choirs and orchestra include:
Goshen College Fall Choral Concert: Friday, Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m., Sauder Concert Hall. $8 adults, $6 seniors/students. GC faculty/staff/students are free with ID.
Goshen College Symphony Orchestra Fall Concert: Saturday, Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m., Sauder Concert Hall. $8 adults, $6 seniors/students. GC faculty/staff/students are free with ID.