The pile of applications to fill the artistic director’s role with the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir (SVCC) included submissions from across the country and beyond. The person ultimately selected for the job, though, lives nearly within earshot of the choir’s rehearsal space in Eastern Mennonite University’s Martin Chapel.
Janet Hostetter, a 1987 graduate of EMU, will begin her new role in August 2014.
“We are delighted that someone from our very own community rose to the top of the stack,” said Joy Anderson, SVCC assistant director.
After majoring in music at EMU, Hostetter earned a master of music degree in choral conducting from James Madison University. In the spring of 2008, she served as SVCC Guest Director during founding director Julia White’s sabbatical.
“The SVCC, under the direction of Julia White and [Interim Director] Joanne van der Vat-Chromy, has brought a quality of music education to our community that has impacted the lives of many,” said Hostetter. “I am honored to have been chosen for the artistic director position and desire to continue the same level of musical excellence we have all come to enjoy.”
Hostetter now directs choirs and Orff classes at Wilbur S. Pence Middle School in Dayton, Va. During her seven years at the school, the choral program has grown from 10 participants to more than 120, and her choirs have received “superior” ratings at District Choral Assessments. At the middle school, she has also helped produce three musicals, been successful in fundraising and hosted the American Boychoir and the Maryland State Boychoir.
During her career, Hostetter has directed choirs and ensembles and taught music from the Pre-K to the university level. She also supervises practicum students and student teachers at James Madison University’s School of Music.
From 2009-13, Hostetter served as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Children’s Choirs for the Virginia chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, during which time she worked with many nationally recognized children’s choir directors and accepted several invitations to direct honor choirs.
For eight years, Hostetter also led a music ministry at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church, where her duties included directing the adult choir and a children’s choir.
“She is skilled and comfortable with many of the musical and teaching tools we use in SVCC, including having learned and used solfège since she was a middle schooler herself,” said Anderson. “We know her to be not only an excellent musician, conductor, and educator, but also a person with a deep love for children and young people.”
The choir’s spring performance is Sunday, April 6 at 4 p.m. in EMU’s Lehman Auditorium.