Her lifelong dream began at the tip of her fingers when she was only five years old. When she turned 11, Janette Fishell knew what she wanted to do in life the moment she started playing the organ.
“My mother signed my sisters and me up for piano lessons when I was five,” Fishell said. “My teacher was Mrs. Francis. Out of my sisters, I was obviously the most devoted to my lessons. My mother encouraged us to keep playing and wanted one of her daughters to learn to play the organ and I am really not sure why,” she laughed. “I couldn’t wait to learn to play the organ and when I started lessons when I was 11 it was the beginning of the rest of my life.”
Fishell graduated from Rushville Consolidated High School in 1976.
She went on to graduate from Indiana University and Northwestern University. Fishell is a recitalist, teacher of international standing and is Professor of Organ and Chair of the Organ Department at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, where she teaches a full studio of organ majors.
Prior to her 2008 appointment as professor of music and chair of the Organ Department at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, she headed Organ and Sacred Music Studies at East Carolina University and served Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Greenville, N.C.
“This is my dream job,” Fishell said. “I am so blessed to be where I am in life. I owe it to my parents. They always encouraged my sisters and me to follow our dreams and to dream big. So we did, and here I am now. Growing up in Rushville shaped who I am today. My family, friends, teachers and church really helped me along the way. I learned to be an optimist from living in Rushville. I learned to pursue my dreams realistically, one step at a time. I never thought what I wanted to do was unrealistic; some people on the outside may have thought they were, but I never did. Hard work pays off, you can’t be afraid of hard work.”