ECoSistema Staff

Our Team

Meet the staff for the ECoSistema music and youth development program! Because our program is powered by partnerships, our staff are employed by several different organizations, but we’re all considered members of the ECoSistema team.

Christina Beyer

Strings Instructor

Roosevelt STEAM Academy

Christina Beyer is the strings instructor at Roosevelt STEAM Academy and orchestra director at Pierre Moran Middle School. She has over 20 years of experience teaching orchestra in the Michiana area.

Kent Dutchersmith

Lead Teaching Artist

Boys & Girls Club of Goshen, Bashor Children’s Home

Mr. Kent is a Goshen native who has been teaching with ECoSistema since 2019.  Before that, Mr. Kent taught elementary music in the Goshen Schools System for 18 years. Mr. Kent is a multi-instrumentalist, with his primary instruments being the cello, string bass and the electric bass. He has played in classical, jazz, rock, folk, fiddle-tune, Latin, Irish and church music ensembles and has recorded 2 CDs with his family band, “Kentucky T. Dutchersmith and the Rubber Band.” Kent has soloed with the Maple City Orchestra twice on the nose flute and once on the typewriter!  As the ECoSistema Lead Teaching Artist at the Boys and Girls Club of Goshen, Mr. Kent teaches Song Circle, strings ensembles and private strings lessons.  He is also the primary private bass instructor for Goshen Community Schools and currently plays with the Maple City Orchestra, the Elkhart County Symphony and leads his church band, Faithful Bread.

David Gary

Co-Director, Tolson Youth Choir

Tolson Center for Community Excellence

David Gary is the Co-Director of the Tolson Youth Choir.

Erica Gary

Co-Director, Tolson Youth Choir

Tolson Center for Community Excellence

Erica Gary is the Co-Director of the Tolson Youth Choir. She has over 35 years of experience singing with various choirs in the Michiana area.


Hillary Harder

Program Director

Goshen College Music Center, Boys & Girls Club of Goshen

Hillary Harder is the Program Director for ECoSistema and the Community School of the Arts. In this role she oversees operations for ECoSistema and CSA programs, teaches daily at the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen, and builds community partnerships with the goal of bringing music education to more kids and families. She also serves as adjunct faculty at Goshen College, teaching the MUS 220 course Building Community Through Music. Hillary previously taught music at Roosevelt STEAM Academy in Elkhart, Indiana where she was honored to be chosen as Elementary Teacher of the Year for Elkhart Community Schools in 2018. Hillary serves on the board of the Elkhart County Symphony and the Program Committee for the Tolson Center for Community Excellence; she is a member of the Camerata Singers and the Elkhart County Symphony Orchestra. Hillary lives in Elkhart with her husband, Micah Detweiler, their greyhound Magoo, and their cat Mo.

Jevin Kelley

Woodwinds Instructor

Roosevelt STEAM Academy

Jevin Kelley is one of four music teachers at Roosevelt STEAM Academy. They graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Music Education (instrumental/general music) and a certificate in entrepreneurial music. She believes music education is very important for every student, but that relationships always must come first, in and out of the classroom. Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. Teachers can’t teach a student to fish (in music, in schoolwork, in life) if they don’t know the student in the first place. In their free time, Jevin can be found fixing technology problems for their colleagues, reading books, playing Zelda, writing and arranging music, and cross stitching. She is also a big fan of cats. Lynx, her cat, has thumbs (he’s a polydactyl), which she is always excited about.

Sofia Sanchez

Intern Teaching Artist

Boys & Girls Club of Goshen

Sofia Andrea Sanchez is a senior pursuing a degree in music performance and music for social change at Goshen College. She is an Intern Teaching Artist teaching strings with ECoSistema at the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen. From an early age, Sofia’s love for the violin flourished when she started playing at the age of 10 through the Elkhart Community Schools Band & Orchestra 5th grade summer program. Since then, her dedication and commitment to music have only grown stronger. Throughout her college journey, Sofia has been an integral part of the Goshen College Symphony Orchestra, Voices of the Earth, and the Elkhart County Symphony Orchestra, where she showcased her passionate violin skills and contributed to creating mesmerizing musical experiences. Under the instruction of Professor of Violin: Dr. Solomia Soroka, Sofia continues to refine her musical talents and expand her artistic horizons. Driven by her desire to use music as a catalyst for social change, Sofia’s studies also focus on harnessing the power of music to address pertinent social issues. Beyond her musical pursuits, Sofia finds joy in expressing her creativity through painting and immersing herself in enriching concert experiences. In her downtime, she cherishes spending quality moments with her family, exploring the beauty of nature parks, which further fuels her artistic inspiration.

Suzanne Shaffer

General Music Instructor

Roosevelt STEAM Academy

Suzanne Shaffer grew up in Antwerp, Ohio. She graduated with a Music Education degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.  She has been teaching Elementary Music for the Elkhart Community School system for almost 30 years.  Most of that experience has been in the General Music realm.  Her career started at Woodland and Daly Elementary schools.  She has also spent part time at Cleveland and Monger Elementary schools.  She has been at Roosevelt school since 2008.  In addition to teaching General Music, she has had some experience teaching  Orchestra by shadowing or leading classes in  grades 3-6 Orchestra through the El Sistema inspired program that has existed at Roosevelt STEAM Academy since 2014.  She also has some experience teaching Modern Band using non orchestral instruments.

Katy Thornthwaite

ECo Sings Instructor

Boys & Girls Club of Goshen

Katy Thornthwaite is the choir director for the EcoSings program at EcoSistema’s Boys and Girls Club of Goshen location. She currently teaches Music at Muessel Elementary School in South Bend, IN. She graduated from Goshen College in 2022 with a degree in Music Education, where she also completed an internship with the EcoSistema string ensembles. Additionally, she directs an adult choir at Goshen First Church. Katy lives in South Bend with her husband, Nathan Berkey, and their two cats.

Harold Walt

Brass & Percussion Instructor

Roosevelt STEAM Academy

Harold Walt is a native of Long Island, New York and a music educator with over forty years of teaching experience in public school systems in Illinois and Indiana.  He has taught band, orchestra, choir and general music, grades k-12 and college.  Mr. Walt currently teaches Wind Orchestra (Brass & Percussion), World Drumming and Mallet “Orff”chestra at Roosevelt STEAM Academy in Elkhart, Indiana.  Mr. Walt holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from Indiana State University, Masters in Education Degree from Indiana State and a Masters in School Administration Degree from Bethel University.  He enjoys working with musicians of all ages facilitating drum circles while embedding social-emotional learning, team building and character development.   Mr. Walt has had the privilege of arranging and composing special music for ECoSistema in partnership with the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association, the Thalea String Quartet, and the Kenari Saxophone Quartet.  World premieres include Rhythm Rising(2019) and Rhythmic Reggaetones(2022).