YHO: String Orchestra and Musical Leadership Training

Contact: Hillary Harder, Program Director: yho@goshen.edu or (574) 535-7341.

Youth Honors Orchestra is a string ensemble open to students in grades 6-12. YHO consists of weekly rehearsals, 3-4 concerts per year, and a unique focus on peer mentorship and musical excellence in a collaborative, multi-age environment. *Note: students must be members of their school orchestra in order to be eligible for YHO.

YHO Internship Program: YHO members age 16-18 are eligible to be chosen as paid YHO Interns working with the ECoSistema music and youth development program at the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen. Eight intern positions are available for the 2023-2024 school year. See below for more information.

YHO Ensemble 2023-2024

Open to students in grades 6-12 by audition.  The Youth Honors Orchestra ensemble rehearses on Tuesday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm at the Goshen College Music Center, room MC 150 (Orchestra Room). *Note: students must be members of their school orchestra in order to be eligible for YHO.

Fall 2024 Auditions

  • TBD August 2024. More information coming soon!

*New YHO members must complete an audition in order to register. Continuing YHO members do not have to audition and may register now for the 2023-2024 season.

How to Audition:

  1. Click the Audition Sign-Up link below. Sign up for one 5-minute time block. (coming soon)
  2. Prepare for your audition by checking the audition requirements (below).
  3. The day of the audition, please be prepared to fill out the YHO Registration Form and bring payment (card, cash or check).
  4. Once you have completed and passed your audition and submitted your YHO Registration Form with payment, your registration is complete!

Audition Requirements:

  • A 2-octave scale of your choice (half notes).
  • Two minutes of a solo or piece from your school orchestra.
  • Brief sight-reading passage provided by the director.

*See below for instructions on how to audition and interview for a paid YHO internship position.

YHO Calendar 2023-2024

Spring 2024

  • Tuesday, January 16: First spring rehearsal!
  • Thursday, February 1: Spring registration deadline
  • Sunday, April 14, 7:30 pm: YHO side-by-side performance with the Goshen College Symphony Orchestra – Sauder Concert Hall
  • Tuesday, May 7, 7:30 pm: YHO, ECoSistema, and Allegro Strings Spring Concert – Sauder Concert Hall


The Goshen College Community School of the Arts arranges for financial aid to any family whose income qualifies them for free or reduced lunch in the Federal School Lunch Program. We ask parents to use the “honor system” when selecting the appropriate YHO tuition.

*Students who register for the fall AND spring semesters will receive a Whole Year Discount of $20 off.

*A one-time $20 registration fee will be charged in addition to tuition.

One Semester Only Both Semesters with Whole Year Discount
Full Price: $100 +$20 = $120 Full Price: $220 – $20 = $200
Reduced Lunch: $70 + $20 = $90 Reduced Lunch: $160 – $20 = $140
Full Price: $50 + $20 = $70 Full Price: $120 – $20 = $100


YHO Internship Program

Open to students ages 16-18, the YHO Internship Program is designed to provide hands-on musical leadership training for motivated, advanced high school musicians who are interested in making a positive impact on younger students and developing firsthand music-teaching skills.

YHO Internship Details…

  • YHO Interns rehearse with the YHO Ensemble during weekly, 1-hour rehearsals.
  • YHO Interns spend at least 1 additional hour a week working with ECoSistema students at the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen.
  • YHO Interns are considered employees of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County: they’ll go through employee onboarding and will be on the Club’s payroll. Pay: $12/hour.

How to Become a YHO Intern…

If you’d like to apply for one of our eight YHO Intern positions for the 2023-2024 school year, the first step is to join YHO! As a prospective intern, you will need to both audition and interview. Complete the following steps:

  1. Click the Audition/Interview Sign-Up link below. Sign up for three 5-minute time blocks in a row (15 minutes total)
  2. Fill out the YHO Registration Form.
  3. The day of the audition and interview, please bring your completed YHO Registration Form and payment (cash, check, or card).
  4. Once you have completed your audition and submitted your YHO Registration Form with payment, your registration as a YHO ensemble member is complete!
  5. After all YHO internship candidates have auditioned and interviewed, we will announce our 8 chosen YHO interns.

 Questions? Please contact CSA Program Director Hillary Harder at yho@goshen.edu or (574) 535-7341.

Nathan Berkey, YHO Conductor

Nathan Berkey is an performer, conductor, and educator recently appointed as one of the Orchestra Directors at Pierre Moran Middle School and Elkhart High School. He received his Masters degree in Music Education with concentrations in Music Administration and Conducting from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. While there, Nathan served as the viola graduate assistant, performing and teaching with the Klinder String Quartet. He previously graduated from Goshen College studying Music Education and Theater Education, where he also assisted the Youth Honors Orchestra for four years. Nathan currently enjoys performing with the Elkhart County Symphony Orchestra and various gigs around the local area.

Victoria Petrak, YHO Intern Coordinator

Victoria Petrak is a conductor, performer and educator recently appointed Director of Orchestras for Concord Community Schools in Elkhart. She recently completed her Masters degree in Orchestral Conducting at Kent State University under the instruction of Dr. Jungho Kim, while teaching orchestra in the Shaker Heights School district. Previously, she earned her BM in violin performance and BME in music education at Baldwin Wallace University where she studied violin with Dr. Julian Ross and Katherine Bormann. Victoria’s conducting education has included study with Octavio Más-Arocás and Tiffany Chang, and master classes in the United States and Europe with Howard Williams, John Farrer, Markand Thakar, and Kevin Noe.

While studying at Kent State University, Petrak worked with Kent State University Orchestra, Opera Production and Scenes, and New Music Ensemble. Additionally, Victoria is on faculty at Camp Encore/Coda in Sweden, Maine and conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra, teaches private lessons and coaches chamber music. Previously, she taught middle school band in Lakewood City Schools, and was an ensemble manager and assistant at Interlochen Arts Camp.

Victoria has been assistant conductor to Donna Jelen at Shaker Heights High School, assistant to Octavio Más-Arocas for the Baldwin Wallace Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory Summer Institute orchestras. She was chosen as the first guest conductor for the Contemporary Youth Orchestra under the direction of Liza Grossman, and conducted the United States premiere of Fay Wang’s The Play of Toys. An advocate for contemporary music, Victoria has conducted multiple world premieres with the Baldwin Wallace Symphony Orchestra, BW Brass Ensemble fanfare project, and the premiere of Scott Little’s opera Story of an Hour with the Kent State University Opera scenes program. She hopes to continue to diversify the repertoire performed by orchestras, and increase the accessibility of orchestral music. As a performer, Victoria enjoys playing in orchestra and has toured Europe with the International Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as performed with the National Music Festival Orchestra, and Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival Orchestra.