November 01, 2010 Twenty-five years ago, Henry Leck founded the Indianapolis Children's Choir. Today it is a true Thanksgiving to the Greater Indianapolis area by annually providing over 2,500 children an opportunity to learn and appreciate music.
Over the years, the choir evolved into many levels of participation and the levels of excellence grew beyond learning the songs into understanding music theory. All participants take only one written test each year to determine their level of understanding music theory. The music directors use this test to determine their level of vocal abilities and general knowledge of music, which, in turn, determine their choir level participation.
There is a clear pathway to the Cantantes Angeli Choir. This is one of the two most advanced choirs that represent the Indianapolis Children's Choir in International performances. The other choir is comprised of entirely high school singers—The Indianapolis Youth Chorale. There are 80 to 100 participants in both choirs and participants have been part of the organization for more than four years. Great planning goes into the trips to include educational opportunities.
The organization has rules that are supportive of school goals. All participants are required to be in a musical program at their schools and they can chose orchestra, band or the school choir.
Choir members try to blend together as a unit. They all wear their hair away from their face and no hair-bows or colorful hair-fasteners are allowed. Participants of advanced choirs practice twice weekly an hour and fifteen minutes. Families car-pool to help one another and volunteer on many different committees to help keep the Children's Choir organization strong.
Gabriele Brandt is an eleven-year-old who has loved being part of the Indianapolis Children's Choir for three years. She loves music theory and credits Ruth Dwyer, Director of Education, for advancing her participation to the Kantorei Choir. This is an advanced level choir that performs more often and also takes trips within the United States. Gabriele is looking forward to going to Philadelphia and New York City to perform with the choir and is looking forward to singing with the Butler Ballet production of the Nutcracker in December.
In closing, it is important to understand that an arts organization depends on community support and contributed income. The Indianapolis Children's Choir receives 48% of its annual budget from corporate and individual donors. The impact of music into a child's life is immeasurable and long lasting. I would like to encourage readers of Indy's Child to send a donation to help celebrate this special anniversary. Donations should be payable and sent to the Indianapolis Children's Choir at 4600 Sunset Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46208.
You can also support this choir by attending their concerts. Concerts begin November 5th and go through June 2011 with dates of performances listed on their website: icchoir.org. Many thanks again to Henry Leck, Founder and Artistic director, for making the Indianapolis Children's Choir known throughout the world as one of the finest and best children's choral organizations.
If you have ever dreamed of having your child participate in the Indianapolis Children's Choir, it is a simple as picking up the phone and scheduling and audition at 940-9640, as well as reading the lists of regional choirs on the Web site at icchoir.org. There is certainly an empty spot in the choir room for your child. Beginning choir members practice only one hour and fifteen minutes once a week. Being able to carry a tune is usually a good measure of vocal readiness. Bringing music into your family is also a true Thanksgiving.
I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all Indy's Child readers and their extended families.
Barbara Wynne is the founding publisher of Indy's Child Magazine.