A heart for music


Greenfield Reporter

REENFIELD — There is music in Greenfield. If you listen, you can hear it over the trees, floating down Main Street: the sound of children’s voices.

It’s the Hancock County Children’s Choir, rehearsing for Saturday’s spring concert.

The concert is titled “American Springtime,” a salute to Americana and patriotism, and will feature songs such as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Cripple Creek” and “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor.”

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Artistic director Gayle Roschi of Fishers is the creative force behind the music, and she has chosen Hancock County as the place to build her dream choir.

Lisa Heady, administrative director for the choir, encouraged Roschi to pursue her creative venture in Greenfield several years ago. Heady’s children took piano lessons from Roschi. When it became known that Roschi was interested in starting a children’s choir, Heady asked her to bring that dream to Hancock County.

“There were a lot of us (parents) who were road-weary of driving to Indianapolis for good musical instruction,” Heady said. “We asked her, ‘If we can get you some kids, will you come here?’”

Roschi agreed.

The choir began rehearsals at New Palestine Bible Church in 2011 with just 15 members. The choir performed there also, until it outgrew the space as a performance venue.

Now, rehearsals and performances are being conducted at Bradley United Methodist Church, where the choir most recently performed its December Christmas program to a standing room-only audience.

Seventy children, who come from as far away as Madison, Indiana, have been sorted into five different choirs, each with an Italian name: Cantanti Lirichi (lyrical voices) is the high school choir; Angelo Voci (angel voices) is the girls’ choir; Bella Voci (beautiful voices) is the junior high choir; Primo Coro (first choir) is the elementary group; and Piccoli Angeli (little angels) is the youngest group.

No matter the age, Roschi is a natural with her students, parents say.

“She can teach anyone to sing,” said Heady, who has two children in the choir.

For some of the spring concert, the children will be dressed in formal attire — black evening gowns and tuxes. For other parts, they will have costumes. Jathan Jackson, a home-schooled junior who comes from Clarksburg in Decatur County to be a part of the choir, will be wearing overalls, a plaid shirt and a straw hat.

Jackson has been with the choir for a year. He has worked with other choirs, but this choir is much more personal for him, he said.

And the standards are high.

“You get more attention, but you really have to know your part. You do it until you get it right,” Jackson said.

The choir has sung for the opening ceremonies of the Riley Festival and at other local events, but it is starting to gain some national and even international attention.

The group was invited to participate in Mid America Productions Treble Choir Festival and sing at Carnegie Hall. The group was accompanied by the New England Symphonic Orchestra and received a standing ovation.

Now, choir members have their sights set on the International Children’s Choir Festival in July 2016, where they will perform at Canterbury Cathedral in London.

Amid all the acclaim, Roschi is looking to grow the choir. There is a music camp planned for summer, and she is now taking appointments for auditions.

“This is my passion, my heart,” Roschi said. “I hope the children learn as much from me as I learn from them.”

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The Hancock County Children’s Choir is now open for auditions. To schedule an appointment for your child, call director Gayle Roschi at 317-459-9226.

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The Hancock County Children’s Choir spring concert is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Bradley United Methodist Church, 210 W. Main St.

Admission is $5 with a maximum family price of $15.