Cultivating harmony, seeking
In Doyle Preheim's first year at Goshen College, he began teaching
classes and voice students, directed the Chamber Choir, completed
written exams in October and defended them for a doctoral degree
in early December, celebrated the birth of a second daughter and,
ten days later, performed the role of Tevye in the college's first
production of Fiddler on the Roof. Then he took the Chamber Choir
on a tour to Central America at the end of the school year.
Nearly three decades later - and in his last year at Goshen before
retiring - Preheim led the music department in celebrating the
opening of the college's new Music Center.
It was spring 1972 when Professor Emerita of Music Mary Oyer,
then chair of the music department, contacted Preheim where he
was teaching at the University of California-Santa Barbara and
working as a minister of music at a large Presbyterian church.
In interviewing for the music professorship at Goshen, he was
asked to give a performance in convocation, then held in the Union,
where students sat on bleachers and the floor to hear Preheim
perform a Schumann song cycle, Dichterliebe. "I was impressed
that quite a number of music students talked to me afterward.
Here was an entire program in German, and they came up to tell
me how much they enjoyed the performance."
Preheim moved into Arts 305 in the fall of 1972, the office he
was to occupy for 29 years. Thus began a journey to balance academic
responsibilities - classroom and voice teaching, choir directing
- with the personal need to continue involvement as a church musician
and a performing artist.
Being involved in significant college productions throughout the
years has been a highlight for Preheim. For example, before Umble
Center was completed, musicals and operas were performed in the
Union Auditorium; Fiddler on the Roof in 1973 and later Don Giovanni
and Hansel and Gretel. Preheim said, "We had to be creative
in turning 'Union Auditorium' into an opera house!"
Creativity also abounded when Preheim initiated Madrigal Dinners
70s, presented in Westlawn Dining Hall and Union Auditorium and
featuring a formal dinner with music of the season performed by
the Chamber Choir. In 1983 Preheim formed the Goshen Oratorio
Chorus, a group of students and community members who performed
great oratorio literature - Handel's "Messiah," Haydn's
"Creation," Brahms' "Requiem," and others;
the group eventually became the Goshen Community Chorale, under
Preheim's direction for 14 years. A conversation with Don Blosser,
former professor of Bible, resulted in a cross-discipline collaboration,
"O Wondrous Mystery" - a Christmas service incorporating
music, visual art, drama and scripture.
One of Preheim's sabbaticals, in 1992, took him and his wife,
Mary Jo, to Vienna, Austria - "the most refreshing, rejuvenating
and inspirational sabbatical of my tenure," he said. He is
grateful to the college for maintaining the sabbatical program
for faculty enrichment and encouraging professors to bring back
new energy and knowledge to the classroom.
Preheim's early experiences in his home community prepared him
for a career in music. "I've been blessed in many ways by
the preparation that I've had. The older I get, the more I look
back with appreciation to the incredible music tradition of my
home community and my home church, Salem Mennonite in Freeman,
South Dakota. We had five choirs, a grand piano and an organ in
my church. The community had a choral society that performed major
oratorios every year, so I knew significant classical works as
a high school student," he said.
Preheim said he felt well prepared to be a music major at Bethel
(Kan.) College and, after attending graduate school and earning
at doctoral degree at the University of California-Santa Barbara,
was ready for a position where multiple interests and gifts were
"I think I was prepared for the complexity of teaching music
at a church college. When I was a student at Bethel (Kan.) College
I saw music professors balance their interests in church music,
hymnology and performance with academic responsibilities,"
Preheim said. "That's always a balancing act. Yet I feel
fortunate to have been at a place like Goshen College where I
could be involved in the various aspects of music that I enjoy.
"I enjoyed meeting people in the congregations when we visited
them on choir tours, and I love hymnology and the music of the
church. The opportunities to lead hymn sings and hymn festivals
on campus and beyond have been wonderful experiences. I also feel
that I am less than a whole person if I don't sing. The chances
I have had to perform as a soloist in recital, oratorio and opera,
both in the Goshen community and beyond, have enriched my life."
Preheim has worked with hundreds of students while directing the
Chamber Choir for 27 years and Chorale for five or six years -
with some years bringing double duty. "Working with choirs
will be the aspect of teaching I will miss most," he said.
Beginning in 1994, Preheim and his wife, Mary Jo, have led three
alumni choir tours abroad (see sidebar), and "sing-your-favorite-hymn
sings" has become an enjoyable and very popular tradition
on campus in recent years.
thought of leaving is bittersweet. I will miss our students -
so many talented musicians - and my colleagues. I have truly developed
many friendships over the past thirty years. But I am looking
forward to a change in vocation when Mary Jo and I move to Santa
Fe (N.M.), with its completely different landscape and population,"
said Preheim. "Goshen has been a rich experience, and I know
that without all of the facets of participation in campus and
church life, even when it has been hard to maintain a balance
between personal and professional life, I would not feel as fulfilled
as I now feel."
- 27 years directing Chamber Choir. Some years Preheim
worked with as many as four choirs under his direction (Chamber
Choir, Chorale, Goshen Community Chorale, First United Methodist
Church Choir of Warsaw, Ind.)
Seven years teaching The Arts: Visual and
Musical with Judy Wenig Horswell, associate professor of
One role, two casts, 28 years elapsed
- Preheim performed the role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof
in 1973 and in 2001.
30 students accompanied Preheim and his wife,
10 days after their wedding, on a "honeymoon" to England
- actually an international choral festival in Cambridge, 1988.
Two SST locations - Haiti (1975-76, during
the "Baby Doc" Duvalier era) and East Germany (1990,
just months after the fall of the Berlin wall and during the
35 choir tours, singing in Mennonite
churches and Mennonite high schools from coast to coast. "In
the early years, we traveled mostly by van (break downs, flat
tires, etc.) with the choir director doing all the driving.
It was foolish - drive 500 miles a day, arrive at a church
to meet our hosts, direct a concert, visit with host families
till midnight and then another day of driving. The time did
come when Goshen College provided a charter bus."
30 voice lessons was the maximum number
of private voice lessons he taught per week in his early years
One solo voice - Preheim is a bass
- has performed in many oratorio performances in college,
community and church settings.
14 years directing the Goshen Community
Chorale, which started as the Goshen Oratorio Chorus.
Three alumni choir tours - 1994 (Germany,
Czech Republic, the Netherlands), 1998 (Switzerland, France,
Austria, Hungary) and 2001 (St. Petersburg, Sweden, Denmark,
Norway). "These were incredible experiences for Mary
Jo and me, in meeting wonderful GC graduates and friends including
those of an era prior to my arrival on campus."
Seven "O Wondrous Mystery" concerts
during advent season.
One year of occupation of the Goshen College
Music Center, after five years of planning fundraising
- One trip to Carnegie Hall
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