New Year, New Challenges, New Hopes

August 12, 2020

by Mark Roosien
Interim Admissions Coordinator

A new academic year is upon us at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music (ISM), and it comes with a lot of changes, including here at the admissions office. We’re saying farewell to Sally Hansen, our wonderful Admissions Coordinator over the last couple of years, and welcoming Mark Roosien (me!). After a stint last year as a postdoctoral fellow, I’m staying on at the ISM as Interim Admissions Coordinator. I’m thrilled to be here and looking forward to the work.

Now obviously, it’s a challenging time. So much of what we do here at the ISM–singing together, studying together, worshipping together, sharing ideas, sharing food–has been restricted or altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Life at Miller Hall, Marquand Chapel, the Divinity School Quad, the School of Music, and the other spaces and facilities we use, is going to look different this fall: quieter, more physically distanced, and more virtual.

But it’s also an exciting time at the ISM. All of us, as ISM director Martin Jean has pointed out, have been affected by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, among many others, and the ensuing groundswell of protest. At the ISM, we, too, have been led into important conversations about what Jean calls “the systemic racism that haunts the halls of the academy and our own Miller Hall at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.” We are, he says, “call[ed] urgently to strong, lasting, and infrastructural reforms.” Please take a moment to read the important statement that outlines our renewed efforts to foster equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion at the ISM. The statement also sets the table for the conversations and events we’re planning. These conversations are sometimes difficult, but they are also necessary and life-giving.

Even as we respond and adapt to changes this fall, we also look forward to the near future when we will once again be able to sing, study, and worship together, in person. But things will not simply go back to the way they were, nor should they. As we reflect and reimagine what it means to study and practice sacred music, worship, and the related arts, I’m confident that our degree programs, activities, and conversations will be stronger, more capacious, and more engaged.

If you want to be a part of what’s happening at the ISM, contact me at the admissions office, and join us in this work.

Mark Roosien

Mark Roosien