Thousands of students have
been inspired by Cynthia Hartshorn, longtime choral director at Arsenal
Technical High School. Hartshorn has spent the last 42 years as a music educator
for Indianapolis Public Schools, and she’s taking her final bow as she retires
at the end of this school year.
Hartshorn – known to her students as
“Mrs. H” – spent her first 12 years in education at John Marshall High School
before transferring to her alma mater. Long before she began her work in
education, she knew she was meant to share her love of music with others.
“When I was 11, my parents bought a
piano,” said Hartshorn, “and I decided right then that I wanted to be a music
teacher. I attended Tech, and when I was here I had a teacher by the name of
Sandra Fanning and she really inspired me and validated my dream. I don’t think
I ever wavered from wanting to be a music teacher since I was 11.”
In her first year as Tech choral director,
Hartshorn started The Technicians, the school’s touring show choir. In their
three decades of performing, The Technicians have become musical ambassadors
for IPS in our community. She also leads the Techoir and directs the musical
theatre productions at Tech. Hartshorn said it’s been rewarding to see the
positive impact her work has had on students throughout the years.
“Some of the kids in my choirs, their
whole lives have changed because of these groups,” Hartshorn said of the way
music can inspire engagement in students. “Working with these kids every day and
sharing their energy…feeling like you’re making a difference for them is a
tremendous thing. The coolest thing is that I have a lot of students who have
gone on to be music teachers – to share and pay it forward.”
Hartshorn’s dedication to her students
shows in their joyous performances and their success after high school. Many of
her former students have gone on to become professional performers, including
Steven Taylor, who currently plays Mufasa in “The Lion King” on Broadway.
“Steven continues to be an important part
of my life,” said Hartshorn. “He comes back to Tech and addresses the kids in a
very inspiring fashion – really builds their confidence. It’s great to see my
students give back.”
As an avid fan of The Beatles, Hartshorn
is excited to celebrate her next step with a “When I’m Sixty-Four”-themed
“It’s been a great run – an awesome
production, 42 years long. It’s been wonderful, but I’m ready to bring the
curtain down and see what the encore is going to be!”
You can catch Hartshorn this weekend in
her final ATHS faculty musical; she’s taking the stage as Jan – one of the Pink
Ladies – in “Grease” Friday night at 7 p.m. in the Tech Auditorium. Every
spring, Tech’s teachers and staff members take their talents to the stage for a
fun performance of a popular musical – this one is sure to be a delight!
Check out a video of
The Technicians in rehearsal below, and please join us in thanking Mrs. H and
wishing her the best in retirement!