Lisa Roeseler, leader of Medina’s popular choirs, to retire
Press Release, Medina Central School
MEDINA – Lisa Roeseler started at her career as a music teacher Towne Primary School in September 1986 and moved to the High School in September 1987. She has been a popular teacher at Medina, with her vocal ensembles performing in the community, especially the annual holiday concert by the A‘Capella Choir at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
Roeseler will retire at the end of this school year. She said there are many highlights in her career, including when her choir twice sang at Kleinhan’s Music Hall in Buffalo. One of those times was working with Grammy and Emmy winning music director and composer John McDaniel.
“He was working as the music director at The Rosie O’Donnell Show and he was the guest conductor with the BPO that year,” she recalled. “He had tears in his eyes because he was so moved by our choir.”
Roeseler also said that her A’Cappella Select Ensemble singing backup for the group Foreigner at Art Park was a big thrill.
“We performed ‘I Want to Know What Love Is’ with them,” she said. “That was June of 2012, ten thousand people in the crowd. It was fabulous. It was an awesome experience.”
She also points to her choirs getting A+ ratings at level six at the NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) competitions.
“I wanted to build the choir back up to where Mr. Connor left it,” she said.
Mr. Connor was her choir teacher when she attended Medina High School.
“I have so many fond memories of being in the choir,” Roeseler said. “He did a lot of great things and taught so many people, myself included. It was a great honor when he attended our St. Mary’s concert right before he passed away. He always supported me in my career.”
Roeseler also said it has been wonderful to work at the district that she graduated from and that her mother and father worked at.
“I am so grateful to Mr. Snyder, the principal at the time, for taking a chance on me,” she said. “I was a trumpet player and intended to be an instrumental band director. He interviewed me and gave me the job as high school choir director. When I began teaching at the high school, there was just one big choir.”
Right away, she split the group into two choirs, just as Mr. Connor had.
“And so, I began with 17 in Mixed Chorus and 43 in A’Cappella,” she said. “The program began to grow throughout my career and A’Cappella now averages 92 to 100 and Mixed Chorus 85 to 90. I am very happy that the Medina community continues to embrace the choirs. I really hope the tradition of the A’Cappella Choir continues after my retirement because that is part of Medina, when I think of it.”
The irony of her career is that she never intended to be a music teacher.
“I started out in music therapy at Slippery Rock,” she said. “My first calling was to be a nurse, but I was afraid of the needles and blood. Then I thought, music therapy is kind of medical. Back in the day, they didn’t really exist though except for jobs out in California. I thought I better find another career and a friend of mine was studying music education at Mansfield University and suggested it to me, so I transferred.”
She said Christmas time is hard for any music teacher, but to her, the Community Christmas Concert at St. Mary’s is too much of a tradition to let go.
“We started out at the Presbyterian Church where Mr. Connor had it, but we simply outgrew that church,” Roeseler said. “I was the organist at St. Mary’s, so I asked the rectory if we could move it there. We’ve held it there ever since. I have been asked why I don’t have this particular concert at the high school. I never wanted to, because it then becomes a high school concert. It is for the community, so I wanted to keep it in the community. It is a lot of stress every year, wondering if the A’Cappella can learn the 14 songs, and if they’re going to be ready for the concert. They always pull through with flying colors! I am fortunate enough that my husband and sons have been so supportive of me through the years. My husband is the founding (and only) member of my booster club. He has been there for me for 27 years to help set up and tear down at every community concert. He has been a saint.”
Looking back, she says she had wished she knew the first few years of teaching were probably her greatest.
“A lot of my students back then are now teachers, like Mrs. Woodruff, Mrs. Jones and Mr. Eick, just to name a few,” she said. “They were my first students. We laughed a lot and it was just a simpler time. I have a lot of great memories, but it is time for me to move on.”
Roeseler said she looks forward to a slower pace in retirement.
“I just want to tend to my lawn and work in our vegetable gardens,” she said. “Maybe take a part-time job at a local store or be a receptionist in a medical office. All I can say is that it has been a wonderful, wonderful career here. I hope whoever takes over continues with our traditions. I think the A’Cappella Choir is one of Medina’s best kept secrets. I get emotional when I look at my choirs and I see the smorgasbord of students from athletes, the highly academic, and the kids who just go home after school and watch TV. It’s a melting pot, but when you get them together for the purpose of expressing themselves through singing, they just shine. When that happens, I feel like I have succeeded.”
Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent, said that Roeseler is a true treasure for the Medina Central School District.
“One of the highlights every year is watching her choirs perform, both at St. Mary’s and in the school,” he said. “Personally, I am really going to miss working with Lisa. I would like to wish her all of the best for a long and happy retirement. It is going to be impossible to replace her.”