On January 15, the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) held their annual division competition in Goshen College’s Music Center.

Goshen is located within the Music Teachers National Association’s East Central Division, which encompasses five different states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

Every year, the division competition rotates between each of the states, this year’s division competition being held in Indiana. The competition is also hosted at a different university each year, and this is Goshen College’s first time hosting the event.

Solomia Soroka, professor of music at Goshen College and Music Teachers National Association member and coordinator, said that being the university asked to host this year’s division competition was a wonderful opportunity.

“I was asked to have [the competition] at Goshen and I was glad because that means exposure, and I think Goshen deserves more exposure,” said Soroka. “It’s a high level institution and it’s a safe environment; I personally like the general atmosphere here.”

Soroka helped to coordinate the event as well as provide hotel locations and other logistical information for the participants. She serves as the junior division level coordinator, meaning that she oversees the 11-14 year-old, or middle school, competitors. The Music Teachers National Association competitions are broken into three age categories, separated into middle school, high school and collegiate levels.

Performers at Friday’s event competed in their age and instruments category of either wind instruments, string instruments or piano.

While Soroka helped plan and organize the event, other GC music faculty were involved with the competition as well. Judging the events, Jose Rocha, associate professor of music, and Rosalyn Troiano, CSA strings program director, participated in judging the string category, and Beverly Lapp and Matthew Hill, both professors of music, judged the piano competition.

Soroka stressed how important these performance opportunities are to young music professional hopefuls. This, she said, provides an insight into the life of a professional performing artist.

“[Students] have the opportunity to learn the pieces and perform the pieces before they go off to competition, helping them to conquer stage fright,” said Soroka. “You live with these pieces; they become a part of you.”

The category winners of the division competition will go on to perform in Texas where the national competition will be held this March. While Goshen College has had students compete on the state level, none performed at the division level this year.

The next division-level competition will be held in Michigan, but there is hope that the college may again be the Indiana venue choice for the event in years to come.

“I hope that in five years we will have it in Goshen again; why not?” said Soroka.

The College received praise from the visiting performers, their families and the Music Teachers National Association on the cleanliness and efficiency of the college, which both hosted and catered the event. Soroka commented that faculty and staff went above and beyond to make the event run smoothly.

“I think it was a great success,” said Soroka.