My family and I moved to Carmel five years ago from sunny Southern California. Friends playfully joked about culture shock, but we quickly fell in love with Indiana and our new hometown. Wonderful education opportunities, beautiful parks, friendly neighbors, a welcoming attitude at every turn, and roundabouts! We also quickly grew fond of our new city’s many cultural amenities.
At the very heart, I believe, is the Center for the Performing Arts. The artists performing on the Center’s three stages are world-class in every sense of the word. How many places can you see Tony Bennett one weekend, and then grab a seat for Charlie Daniels the next?
Of course, the headliners draw crowds (and national publicity, thank you very much Mr. Peter Frampton), but the Center’s most important work often takes place behind-the-scenes, once the spotlights go dark. Its expanding educational programs are a big part of what drives my passion for the Center.
Last year’s programs impacted 30,000 youth and adults. That’s every third-grade student in Carmel Clay Schools taking a field trip to the Palladium for the SEP Science of Sound laboratory. It’s a family gathering for an action-packed Saturday morning Peanut Butter & Jam concert. It’s also every Carmel middle school orchestra member coming together for a combined 180-member strong ensemble, performing on the Palladium stage for the very first time.
The core of the Center’s mission is about engaging youth, and its mentoring programs have delivered invaluable opportunities. Students learn directly from professional performers through master classes with visiting artists. Master classes take place in school classrooms or right on stage. The Firestone FrontRow program takes it a step further by opening sound check to deliver career advice straight from working musicians before concert kick-off. The Center offers vibrant internships in production, marketing, and non-profit management. These hands-on career discovery opportunities provide outstanding real-life experiences.
Adult programming is inspirational, too. During the week, the reading community explores performance art through the written word in the Palladium Bookies book club. The Great American Songbook movie series screens classic, award-winning films like “Singin’ in the Rain” or “An American in Paris.” And many of our artists make visits to our senior living communities, demonstrating magic tricks or leading a sing-a-long.
Carmel is a world-class city. The concerts and programming at the Center for the Performing Arts drive recognition for our entire region and help make Carmel one of the top cities in the nation. As it gears up for another tremendous season of programming, I hope you and your family will be among the 100,000+ guests joining my family in celebrating the arts, right here in Carmel.
Board Chair, Center for the Performing Arts
Chief Operating Officer, KAR Auction Services, Inc