40 years of spreading the ‘Sound of Joy’

Errol Roach has been teaching music in Savannah for the past four decades
Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 12:34 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2023 at 3:34 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A Savannah native just hit a major milestone celebrating 40 years of teaching music in June.

A lifelong passion turned into a job more incredible than his wildest dreams.

“When I was about four years old, I started playing by ear. I would hear songs on television, commercials or even church, I would come home and try and emulate what I heard on the piano,” said Sound of Joy School of Music founder Errol Roach.

For Roach there really was never really another path but music.

“When I was sitting in 10th grade, 5th period science class, it came to me clear as day, major in music.”

And that’s exactly what he would do.

Attending, what is now, Savannah State University, where, just a year in at age 19 he started passing down his love of music through lessons out of his parents Carver Village home.

“They invested in a brand-new piano, and for African Americans, you know, lower, middle class, that was a big thing,” says Roach.

And that wouldn’t be the last time they invested in their son’s dream.

“They helped me to find a place to centralize the lessons. They purchased my office furniture and all of that, they got me started. So, if it weren’t for Mr. & Mrs. Roach, I would not be doing what I’m doing right now.”

What he’s been doing is the same thing he’s been doing for the past 40 years, teaching music.

An achievement he was recognized for in June through a Proclamation from Savannah Mayor Van Johnson.

“Someone was here the other day, and they were saying, ‘how did you feel when people were saying all those things about you?’ I’m like, ‘it just kind of really went over my head,’ because I know that it’s because of God, I’m doing it and it’s not about me, it’s about the gift the brings glory to God and is a blessing to others,” Roach says.

A blessing he has been sharing with others for the past four decades.

“I have some students who have gone on to be producers and running their own music studios in Atlanta and other places around the country.”

And as much as he’s given to music, music has also given him quite a bit in return.

“I met my wife because of music. She was the choir director and I started playing for the choir. We’ve been making music together ever since.”

And he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

“I have been doing this a long time.’ The passion is still there, I want to do it another 40 years if God allows me to live because this is where my heart is.”

His heart, like his piano, tuned to play a song that reverberates in the souls of all who listen.

And each of us like a single note that when put together can create something beautiful.

“The slogan for the Sound of Joy School of Music is, ‘For a World of Harmony.’ So, my prayer and my hope is that my students will pass on this gift of music that will bring unity and harmony all over the world.”