Bicentennial celebration in search of young singers

More local fourth- through sixth-graders are needed to harmonize on a bit of Hoosier history during the closing program of the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay.

The program will be Sept. 18 at the Bartholomew County Public Library Plaza downtown.

Organizers hope to have enough voices — they have said 100 would be ideal — for the students to rehearse two songs for a total of one hour. Parents can choose that one hour from a schedule Sept. 12 to 15 at various area schools, according to choir leader Taffy Schroer, a retired local music teacher.

“The teachers say the kids are excited,” Schroer said. “Now to get the parents on board.”

Schroer plans to have the students sing the state song, “On the Banks of the Wabash” and “Back Home in Indiana.”

The choir is an effort of the local Joseph Hart Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. It also has become a Bicentennial Legacy Project, part of a host of projects sanctioned by organizers of the statewide celebration. Schroer, a DAR member, launched the idea.

“I kept trying to think of a specific way we could get the kids excited,” Schroer said.

She said music teachers from several schools have said they probably could recruit groups of 20 or more students. But Schroer said only about 30 students have been registered on the library website at the bottom of the home page at

She has index cards ready with lyrics for both songs.

“I’m trying to make things as easy as possible,” Schroer said.

Lynn Lucas, volunteer coordinator of Bartholomew County’s celebration, hopes the recruiting push works.

“It’s a great idea,” Lucas said. “I think it’s wonderful that they’re working with students from several different elementary schools.”

Michele Bottorff, one of the library’s reference librarians who has been working on much of the program at the plaza, including plans for the choir, also loves the idea. She has miniature Indiana flags for the youngsters to hold.

“It’s meant to be just another fun part of the celebration,” Bottorff said.

Student choir rehearsal schedule

Any Bartholomew County student in grades 4-6 is welcome to participate in the bicentennial choir. Students must attend at least one practice, but are welcome to attend more. Here is the practice schedule.

  • 3 to 4 p.m. Sept.12: Hope Elementary School, 9575 N. Indiana 9.
  • 3 to 4 p.m. Sept. 13: Parkside Elementary School, 1400 Parkside Drive.
  • 3 to 4 p.m. Sept. 14: Southside Elementary School, 1320 W. County Road 200S.
  • 3 to 4 p.m. Sept. 15: Rockcreek Elementary School, 1300 E. County Road 200S.
  • 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 15: St. Peters Lutheran School, 719 Fifth St.
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.