Things May Change, But Music Stays The Same

New orchestra teacher, Tara Bohlen returns to Bismarck High after over a decade away.


Things May Change, But Music Stays The Same. Tara Bohlen is the new orchestra teacher at BHS. Students were having to adjust to the way she taught and how the orchestra room ran. “Creating great music together is why I came back,” teacher Tara Bohlen said. “I love building community with students, watching them grow and develop their skills and talents.”

Beautiful melodies and the pull of the bow across the strings are all things that can be heard from room 151. There are many familiar faces of students from previous years – sophomores, juniors and seniors. One difference though, is the person standing behind the podium up front.

Tara Bohlen, the new orchestra director for BHS, came back to the demon family after leaving in 2006 to explore new opportunities.

“It felt like coming back home again,” Bohlen said.

Of course this meant that the previous orchestra director, Dana Van Heukelom, was no longer teaching at Bismarck High School. She had built many relationships with students from Wachter Middle School – the second school she had been teaching at alongside BHS – and those students were now moving up to the high school. BHS Freshman Sophie DePriest was sad to see her go.

“I felt sad Ms. V wasn’t going to be teaching at BHS anymore considering it was going to be my first year here,” DePriest said. “I also felt nervous for a new teacher because I’ve had the same one for three years.”

Although all of the students were devastated to hear the news that Van Heukelom was no longer returning, upon meeting Bohlen for the first time, they liked what they saw.

“I like how she is ambitious and has big ideas about how to improve the orchestra as a class,” DePriest said.

Bohlen has expressed how excited she is to be back in the BHS music department and how the community of musicians here is unlike anywhere else.

“Tradition of BHS orchestra is growing and having an orchestra room full of amazing musicians is proof of our community’s love and dedication to kids and orchestra,” Bohlen said.

Jamie Bean, another student from the orchestra, had the impression when first meeting Bohlen that she was more like a choir teacher. However, she also has a different opinion now.

“I feel like she is preparing us for a higher level orchestra and likes to teach new things,” Bean said.

Not only is Bohlen excited to create music and put on powerful performances, but she can’t wait to build community with students and watch them grow and learn.

“Music brings people together,” Bohlen said. “Watching the BHS program continue and evolve over the years, the relationships and the music experiences shared by generations last beyond the classroom.”