YHO internship in action

YHO intern Joseph Davis, center, assists ECoSistema students during a rehearsal at the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen.

YHO internship launches this fall

In the fall of 2022 a new initiative through the Youth Honors Orchestra program began offering employment and musical leadership experience to advanced high school musicians. The internship exists through a partnership between the Community School of the Arts and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County. It serves a dual purpose: to help high school musicians explore what it’s like to teach music, and to provide mentorship to elementary and middle school students in the ECoSistema music program at the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County’s internship program employs high school students age 16 and up. Now, thanks to the Club’s partnership with Goshen College, members of the Youth Honors Orchestra age 16 or older can serve as interns teaching music after school with ECoSistema. This fall, seven interns began serving at the Goshen Clubhouse. Interns support ECoSistema classes like Song Circle (music and movement for 2nd graders) and beginning and intermediate string orchestra classes. They coach small groups, play alongside students, and work one-on-one with students who need extra support.

In addition to their internship hours with ECoSistema, YHO interns also participate in weekly Musical Leadership Training sessions. There they receive guidance on how to work with younger students. The innovative Leadership curriculum was designed by Tori Petrak, YHO conductor and Director of Orchestras for Concord Community Schools. Petrak says she’s teaching the YHO interns skills she would like to see all of her orchestra students develop: initiative, independence, and the capacity to use their musical skills to help others learn.

Next steps

What’s next for the YHO internship program? Eventually we’ll see students who grew up in ECoSistema becoming interns, giving back to the program where they began their musical journey. Hopefully, the internship will show students how a love of music can turn into a career – and, more importantly, a lifelong ability to use one’s own skills and talents to mentor others.

YHO internship in action.

YHO intern Haley Imus leads a small-group activity during an ECoSistema rehearsal at the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen.