Last night in Parmer Hall, hundreds of students gathered together with faculty and staff to honor the life of Ethan Van Bochoven. He passed away tragically in a car accident on Friday night, caused by a driver who was under the influence of alcohol.
Van Bochoven was a senior music major with a concentration in commercial music. In his time at Messiah, he actively played a part in the chapel worship team and spent his first two years as the manager of the men’s lacrosse team. He also frequently performed at Coffeehouse with several friends and made appearances on MC-77, the on-campus T.V. station, with Messiah College alum Logan Hunsberger.
President Kim Phipps took to the stage to share about the first time she met Van Bochoven. Their conversation revolved around music and Van Bochoven’s love of bluegrass, where he expressed that her opinion of the music genre would change after she heard him play.
“While I have to be honest I haven’t learned to fully appreciate bluegrass, I did become a big fan of Ethan,” Phipps said. “And the joy that he brought to his music, and the joy that he brought to our campus.”
Among the students who attended the memorial were the chapel worship team, members of the men’s lacrosse team and many who were also part of the music department.
Closing out the official speakers of the night was Timothy Dixon, Co-Chair of the Department of Music and Van Bochoven’s advisor. Dixon shared several memories of Van Bochoven’s talent as a violinist, as well as how joyfully Van Bochoven always greeted him. Dixon would be the first of many last night to speak of the happiness that Van Bochoven was known for on campus.
Following the speakers of the night, the chapel worship team performed two worship songs in remembrance of Van Bochoven, “How Great is Our God” and “For the One.” Messiah College alum Esteban Nieves returned to play with the chapel team for the night, as well as to play a bluegrass song with adjunct instructor Kirk Reese. Finally, the concert choir team took to the stage to perform the last song of the night.
Evie Telfer, the Student Ministries Pastors, closed the official service by giving students the opportunity to stay and share stories of Van Bochoven or spend time in prayer and counseling with available residence life staff and counselors.
“I think it’s important to be clear that everyone grieves differently,” Telfer said. “And each person will grieve differently over time. So let’s give ourselves grace and give one another grace.”
Among the students who stayed to share their stories of Van Bochoven were two of his roommates, Kris Tanquist and Brandon Baumer, who played another worship song. Members of the lacrosse team shared memories of Van Bochoven playing the violin before practice, and several of his fellow camp counselors from Summer’s Best Two Weeks shared stories of working with him.
In addition to the memorial service, a table was set up for students to write letters to the Van Bochoven family or to Van Bochoven himself.
Counselors and Messiah pastors will be available throughout the week for students who wish to talk through this tragedy more or find an outlet to process through.