The question on everyone’s mind right now is: what is next? While most of the changes within the music department and the resulting upheaval died down last semester, there is still a sense of unease regarding what will occur within the next semesters and the following years. Much will rest on how President Scogin addresses the issue, as well as how the administration chooses to take the constructive criticism offered to them. Many music students are choosing to stay positive. “From my perspective, it seems like the only place it can go is up,” Says junior Noah Helmus, a music minor. “I hope for myself that it can improve, that we can have some healing in the next year, more so for any future students that come in. I really want them to have a better experience than I did.”
The silver lining of this whole situation is that the student musicians of Hope College are looking to the future with optimism, hoping that incoming freshmen will be able to experience a healthy, diverse musical atmosphere. “In a few years, I would love to look back and see the music department thriving again, ensembles getting to travel, getting to perform, new people coming to concerts and just really allowing for a great experience for students in their four years here,” Helmus states. Many agree. As Hope College looks to hire new staff and adapt to these modifications, student not only welcome change but offer their insight. This desire to see the music department flourish is something that the majority of Hope College musicians share, it unites the campus more so than the suffering of the past year.
“Overall, as long as they get teachers who love music, are well-rounded, and want to make this place a happy, loving, environment,” Junior Ava Massarella concludes, “I think it’ll bring the spirits of Jack Miller back up.” President Voskuil as well remains optimistic about the future: “I’m hoping that we can live into the potential that we have and to become even better and better as the music department.” It seems safe to say that the worst is over. This is now a time of reflection for students and faculty alike, to consider every obstacle they have faced. “Once a couple classes like my Junior class and the Sophomore class rotate through, it will pretty much be forgotten, which is kind of unfortunate but also understandable. Because even though something like this was really upsetting and unjust and unfair it doesn’t mean the whole department should crumble.” Junior Jillian Wade reasons. And this brings up an interesting dilemma that Hope College faces; do we allow the trauma of these events to heal and be forgotten, or do we continue to fight whatever injustices we still see present?
This does not only apply to music majors and minors; what comes out of this situation now can ripple across all of the campus and farther. Which of these plans of action – if either – will lead to the kind of community we desire? The question is ours to answer. President Voskuil had this to conclude, and his message resonates both with freshmen walking into Jack Miller for the first time, and seniors who may never see the building again: “My fondest hope and deepest desires are for the community to come together and to move forward for the sake of our students in music and across the board. I will be around and greatly pulling for Hope College overall and certainly for the music department.” For more information and a word from the Provost, visit anchor.hope.edu/category/ campus.