NEW PALESTINE — There’s nothing like singing in the Big Apple, and as everyone knows, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. That’s exactly what the Hancock County Children’s Choir plans to do next May.
Only in its third year, the children’s choir, which practices Mondays at the New Palestine Bible Church, made a rather exclusive cut this year to be invited to sing at New York’s Carnegie Hall at a combined choral performance conducted by Ruth Dwyer, associate director of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, and presented by MidAmerica Productions in New York.
Choirs and vocal ensembles nationally are either recommended or selected based on their audition recordings to be part of the performance, and not all submissions are accepted, said Dale Ziedman, MidAmerica’s director of public relations in New York.
“It is certainly an honor to be invited,” Ziedman said. “It’s definitely exclusive, and not everyone gets to perform. We want everyone to be part of the best possible performance.”
Gayle Roschi, the choir’s artistic director, said her charges have been working diligently on difficult selections and are excited about the prospect of performing at the 122-year-old venue, which has played host to some of the world’s greatest performers.
“Some of them are extremely enthused,” Roschi said. “We’d like as many people in our choir to go as possible.”
The choir was formed as a result of a growing interest to form a local, elite choir.
“We started with 16, and now we’re up to 32,” Roschi said.
In addition to pulling vocal talent from throughout Hancock County, the choir also draws members from surrounding counties as well, Roschi said.
One such traveling singer, Briann Stokes of Franklin Township in southeast Marion County, said the choir’s standards were high and the music challenging, especially the intricate harmonies.
“I like Mrs. Roschi’s direction,” the eighth-grader said. “I like the way she teaches us.”
Three choirs comprise the group: Angelo Voici for high school vocalists; Belle Voici for middle school singers; and the Festival Choir for younger children, said Roschi, who has directed children’s choirs throughout the country and holds degrees in music, music proficiency and sacred music. Singers interested in joining the choirs gain membership through an audition.
The choir opened this year’s Riley Festival on Oct. 3 with the national anthem – the group’s second consecutive festival appearance – and it is currently rehearsing its upcoming Dec. 7 Christmas concert at Greenfield’s Bradley United Methodist Church. The group also will make a December appearance at the Indiana State Museum’s “Holiday Sounds” series.
As if they weren’t already busy, the group’s members are now on an all-out fundraising campaign to secure the approximately $1,500 each member will need for the trip to New York.
For the next six months or so, if the choir’s not performing, practicing or doing homework, members will be out seeking donations support their engagement on 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.
After all, it’s not every day one takes the stage at Carnegie Hall.
“We’re willing to do anything,” Roschi said.
More information about the choir is available by contacting Roschi at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the choir’s website at www.hancockcountychildrenschoir.org.