History of the Goshen Orchestra Program

1916 Goshen Orchestra


The Goshen Orchestra Program has a rich history extending more than 100 years. 

We honor the past as we continue the tradition of excellence into the future.


1915:  Goshen Establishes a high school orchestra led by Goshen Music Teacher, Gerald Dinkeloo

1923:  Dinkeloo retires Goshen Music Teacher after 12 years of service

1923:  Reginald Brinklow hired as Goshen Music Teacher

1924:  Establishment of a grade school string program (40 Students), under the direction of Marshall Howenstein.

1931:  Aline Hower joins Goshen staff as string specialist and orchestra conductor (1931-1933)

1933:  GHS Orchestra places 2nd in National Competition held in Elmhurst, IL and performed at the World’s Fair in Chicago.

1935:  NISBOVA (Northern Indiana School Band, Orchestra, & Vocal Association) formed

1935:  Alice Vawter joins staff as string specialist (1935-1939)

1939:  Margaret Brittan Detwiler joins as string specialist (1939-1946)

1947:  Marion Erwin joins as assistant orchestra director (1947-1954)

1956:  GHS Renovations bring dedicated instructional space to Music Department

1956:  Goshen High School music program expands to two full-time directors.  1 band director, 1 choir/orchestra director.

1961:  Reginald Brinklow retires after 38 years of service (1923-1961)

1961:  James Greiner hired as Goshen orchestra and choir director

1967:  Goshen High School music program expands to three dedicated directors; one for each organization of the music department.

1969:  Brian Kirk hired as Goshen String Teacher

1970:  Camerata Chamber orchestra founded

1976:  Goshen College graduate and violinist, Sam Martin, joins staff as an assistant orchestra director

1981:  ISSMA Established as a merger of NISBOVA and ISMA

1991:  Goshen Middle School Opens

1992:  GHS Concert Orchestra ISSMA State Finalist

1993:  GHS Concert Orchestra ISSMA State Finalist

1996:  Choir/Orchestra Trip to NYC

1996:  Brian Kirk retires as Goshen Orchestra Director after 27 years of service (1969-1996)

1996:  Susan Ellington hired as Goshen Orchestra Director

1998:  Choir/Orchestra Performances in Toronto.

1998:  GHS Concert Orchestra ISSMA State Finalist

1999:  GMS 7th & 8th Grade Orchestra performs as an honor ensemble at the 1999 IMEA State Convention

2000:  Choir/Orchestra Performances in NYC

2001:  Christine Lipton (Roemke) joins GHS Orchestra staff as elementary director

2001:  GHS Concert Orchestra places 4th at ISSMA State Finals

2001:  Choir/Orchestra Performances in Toronto.

2002:  GHS Concert Orchestra ISSMA State Finalist

2003:  Goshen High School music wing additions/renovation

2003:  GHS Orchestras grow to call for the addition of a 2nd High School Orchestra: “Philharmonic Orchestra”

2003:  ISSMA Establishes State Qualifier Sites to improve consistency of scoring for groups hoping to perform at state finals.

2004:  Choir/Orchestra Performances in NYC

2004:  GHS Symphonic Concert Orchestra places 4th at ISSMA State Finals

2005:  GHS Symphonic Concert Orchestra places 3rd at ISSMA State Finals

2006:  GHS Symphonic Orchestra performs as an honor ensemble at the 2006 IMEA State Convention

2006:  GHS Symphonic Concert Orchestra places 2nd at ISSMA State Finals

2006:  Goshen Middle School Orchestras grow to separate into separate 7th and 8th grade orchestras

2007:  GHS Symphonic Orchestra places 2nd at ISSMA State Finals

2008:  Ben Yoder joins GCS Orchestra Staff (2008-2009)

2008:  GHS Symphonic Orchestra places 3rd at ISSMA State Finals

2009:  GHS Symphonic Orchestra places 3rd at ISSMA State Finals

2009:  Joel Powell Joins GCS Orchestra Staff (2009-2011)

2010:  Choir/Orchestra Performances in Atlanta, GA

2010:  GHS Symphonic Orchestra ISSMA State Finalist

2011:  Christine Roemke leaves GCS Orchestra Staff after 10 Years of service (2001-2011)

2011:  Sean Patrick joins GCS Orchestra Staff (2011-          )

2011:  Kate Truscello joins GCS Orchestra Staff (2011-2013)

2011:  GHS Orchestra Enrollment grows to three Orchestras with the addition of the freshman ensemble, Crimson Concert Orchestra.

2012:  First Year for GMS Alternative Strings

2012:  Band/Orchestra/Choir Performances in NYC

2012:  GHS Symphonic Orchestra ISSMA State Finalist

2013:  GHS Symphonic Orchestra performs at Valparaiso University’s Confucius Symposium

2014:  First year for GHS Jazz Strings

2014:  GHS Music Performances in Atlanta, GA

2014:  Susan Ellington Retires as GHS Head High School Director after 18 years of service (1996-2014)

2014:  GHS Symphonic Orchestra ISSMA State Finals, conducted by interim director Brian Mast

2014:  Jason Pfeifer hired as GHS Head Orchestra Director (2014-          )

2014:  Zachary Coudret hired as Goshen 5/6 Orchestra Director (2014-2017)

2015:  GMS 8th Grade Orchestra performs as an honor ensemble at the 2015 IMEA State Convention

2015:  GMS Orchestra earns the ISSMA JME All Music Award in its founding year.  GHS orchestra also earns All Music Award.

2015:  Renovations to GHS completed bringing dedicated orchestra spaces once again suitable to the size of the program

2016:  GHS Jazz Strings earn Judges Award for performance in the North Ballroom at the Purdue Jazz Festival

2016:  GHS Music Performances in New York City, NY

2016:  GMS & GHS Orchestra programs earn respective ISSMA All Music Awards

2016:  Goshen Community Schools Orchestras celebrate the conclusion of our centennial year as a program.

2016:  Renovations to GMS completed bringing enlarged orchestra spaces

2017:  GHS Jazz Strings earn Judges Award for performance in the Stewart Center at the Purdue Jazz Festival

2017:  GHS Jazz Strings perform as honor ensemble at the 2017 IMEA State Convention

2017:  GMS 8th Grade Orchestra performs at the Indiana Statehouse on behalf of IMEA to commemorate Music in our Schools Month.

2017:  GMS & GHS Orchestra programs earn respective ISSMA All Music Awards

2017:  Kyle Pitcher joins GCS orchestra staff as 5/6 Director (2017-          )

2018:  GHS Music Performances in Boston, MA

2018:  GMS & GHS Orchestra programs earn respective ISSMA All Music Awards

2018:  GHS Symphonic Orchestra performs as an ISSMA State Finalist

2019: GMS & GHS Orchestra programs earn respective ISSMA All Music Awards

2019:  GHS Symphonic Orchestra performs as an ISSMA State Finalist