Choral Directors

Denise Gilliland began her teaching career in the Houston, Texas area in 1982, marking this, her thirty-eighth year teaching children and youth. Her earliest experiences were rich with multi-ethnic students who helped to shape her appreciation for the uniqueness of every child and culture. Mrs. Gilliland is Artistic Director for Community Choirs of Huntington County, as well as directing one of the Fort Wayne Children’s Choirs.

Denise is a frequent clinician for Circle the State with Song festivals and has presented at the Indiana Music Educator’s convention. She is past director of the Lafayette Children’s Choir in Lafayette, Indiana and retired from teaching elementary music at Rossville Elementary in Rossville, IN. She was recognized as “Most Outstanding Elementary Music Educator” by IMEA in 2011. Her arrangement of “And the Angels Sang” was published by Hal Leonard Corporation, and premiered by the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, under the direction of Joshua Pedde.

Denise’s master’s degree in choral conducting was earned at Butler University. As a certified Kodaly music educator, she studied privately with renowned conductors Henry Leck and Eric Stark. She resides on her grandfather’s farm in Whitley County with her husband Mark, son Weaver and grandson Matthias.

Sharon Lehman

Sharon Basinger Lehman earned a BA in Music Education from Bluffton University and a MM in Choral Conducting from Ball State University. She is currently the Choral Director at Manchester Community Schools where she conducts choirs of students in grades 3-12 and teaches fourth grade general music. Sharon has been with Community Choirs of Huntington County since 2003, holding various roles including accompanist, treble choir director, concert choir director, early childhood music teacher, and Artistic Director. She is the current/founding director of CopperSound, a high school a cappella ensemble of Community Choirs of Huntington County. Sharon is a member of the National Association for Music Education and the American Choral Directors Association and serves as Area 4A Chair for Indiana All State Honor Choir. She lives in Huntington, Indiana with her husband and three children.

Emily Goodwin Smith has a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from The University of Michigan and is currently getting K-12 Music Education Certification from IPFW.

She has sung operatic roles such as Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Meg in Little Women, Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Nicklaus in Le Cont de Hoffman and Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, to name a few. She sang for a season with the Detroit opera, as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony as well as toured internationally in Germany and France as a the alto Soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah. This past holiday season Emily sang the alto solos in Handel’s Messiah with the Huntington University chorus and orchestra. In April Emily will be singing the role of Principessa in Suor Angelica with the IPFW Opera. Emily teaches private harp, voice and piano lessons in her music studio, Studio 5003, as well as at the Huntington YMCA.