About eight years ago, Glenn Roscoe, then the minister of music at Colonial Baptist Church, heard a big voice from a little girl that made him pause.
Deanna Green, who was 6 and doing nothing more than playing with other kids by blasting out a rendition of "Lean on Me" on a microphone, had the type of natural ability Roscoe thought he could work with.
Voices like that are few and far between.
"I stopped what I was doing," Roscoe said. "She startled me. I talked to her parents about working with her because you never hear a 6-year-old with such a great voice."
It was the beginning of a potential singing career, one that ended abruptly when the girl was electrocuted by a fence on a softball field in Druid Hill Park last week.
The youth, Roscoe believes, was well on her way to being someone special. He had pushed her unlike any of his other 21 privately trained students. He catered to her over the years, staying hours after her scheduled sessions to hone a voice he called his pride and joy.
Roscoe had Deanna singing classics and musicals. In February, he pushed her to do a rendition of "O Divine Redeemer" that drew a standing ovation from a morning service at Christ United Methodist Church.
"You don't hear 13-year-olds singing that kind of music," Roscoe said. "Adults mess that piece up.
"The timbre of her voice, notes just bounced off," he said, comparing her to an opera star. "I knew she was going to be the next Kathleen Battle."
Representatives of the Carver School of Arts and Technology agreed that Green had potential. The eighth-grader was accepted into the school this fall after nailing an audition a couple of months ago, scoring an 89 despite having missed school the previous week because of an illness, relatives said.
That is one of the favorite stories of Anthony and Nancy Green, who discussed their daughter's life at their two-story Randallstown home yesterday afternoon.
On a circular table in the family room, pictures of Deanna cover much of the surface.
There are enough photos of a smiling, inquisitive, laughing and singing Deanna to fill half a dozen albums. There are ones of her as an infant and ones taken as late as last week. There are prom shots (with Deanna next to her brother and his date), pictures at Disney World, countless head shots and photos of her in the Deer Park Magnet Middle School Chorus.
Yet the mother cannot help longing for more.
"If you have kids, take pictures," Nancy Green said. "Lots of pictures. I have a lot. But there is a gap."
Deanna loved to have her picture taken, a passion in her life second to singing.
Both made her a focus of attention.
Six days after her unexpected death, Deanna is in the public eye even more than she could have imagined. Her family relived some of her finest days, crying what they called tears of joy while taking solace that Deanna "is now in a better place."
Deanna Green, family members say, packed an awful lot of life into a short time.
"She pretty much accomplished everything she was supposed to do in 14 years," said Anthony Green, sitting on a couch next to his wife of 24 years and close to 19-year-old son Tony.
Nancy Green said her daughter could play music on the piano by ear, was a skilled violinist and a natural vocalist.
As her singing ability was being honed, so was her showmanship. Before she would step out her door for school or play, everything needed to be immaculate. The hair was to be groomed to perfection. Nails had to be done. And the outfit needed to stand out.
"We would go to the mall. It took her a half an hour to get ready," said Kristin Anderson, a junior at New Towne High School and one of Deanna's best friends. "But she looked pretty."
The parents watched as their child turned into a woman. Anthony Green did not want his daughter to rush the aging process, so when she came to him a few weeks ago wanting to color her hair, he said no.
High heels and makeup were limited to special occasions, such as vocal performances, as well.
They also stressed to Deanna that she should be well-rounded. Her grades were good and they always supported her music, but as the daughter of a former professional football player and sister of a high-school athlete, she had to show some athletic prowess as well.
Anthony "Bubba" Green was a defensive tackle drafted in the sixth round by the Baltimore Colts in 1981. He played one season. Deanna, years ago, liked to play sandlot football before her mother encouraged her to find a sport more suitable for girls.
Deanna stuck to softball and basketball over the years, working herself into a decent recreational player. Nancy Green was a solid softball player in her day, and wanting to get back into the sport, she convinced her daughter to join her this season on the Colonial Baptist Church softball team.