Broad Ripple choir raising money to perform at Carnegie Hall

The Broad Ripple High School choir practices Nov. 1, 2017, at the school in Indianapolis. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Choir students at Broad Ripple High School are hoping to raise money to go to New York City to perform on the big stage at Carnegie Hall.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes just months before their school is set to close at the end of the school year.

Students told 24-Hour News 8 they are excited for the opportunity and have been doing everything they can since August to raise money to help pay for the trip.

For many seniors graduating this year, it’s all about spending time together before the last curtain call.

Words cannot even begin to describe the emotions students feel when they’re together in the choir room at Broad Ripple High School.

“The choir program to me is more of a family thing we also like,” senior Michaela Gilliam said. “We bond together it’s not just voices coming together.”

They sing from hearts filled with passion. Everyone has a different story about how the program has helped them.

“Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Riley are like mothers to us,” Gilliam said. “They’ll do anything for us it doesn’t even have to involve music that’s the thing that touches my heart about it.”

Denise Johnson and Martha Riley graduated together from Broad Ripple High School and took part in the choir program. They said the choir room holds a special place because it’s where they have seen the change and growth in their students.

“Some of our students we have now, we’ve had since they were in the sixth or seventh grade. When you have the same students you literally see them grow up,” said Riley, who is the choral accompanist. “We have some students that have come a long way and we’ve really seen them through some difficult times that they’ve had outside the school. We’ve seen them through difficult times that they’ve had within this school.”

Broad Ripple High School was scheduled to close after the school board voted in favor of a restructuring proposal.

“I’m hoping to continue singing to continue doing what I love and to continue with this program even if it means going to another school,” sophomore Jose Riestra said.

Before the closure, students are preparing for a special performance at Carnegie Hall.

“Many of our students have never been outside of the city limits let alone outside the state of Indiana,” choral director Johnson said.

Johnson and Riley have been talking about this trip for the past four years.

“We want to end our school year on a very high note and really enjoy being with each other and doing something new,” Johnson said.

The choir group will be featured in a concert with other choir groups and will perform three selections on stage.

If you would like to make a donation to the Broad Ripple Choir Program you can call (317) 693-5700 or you can text BRCHOIR to (317) 333-6764.