By Chris Bavender
For 32 years, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir has offered central Indiana children a chance to explore their love of music. Serving more than 5,500 kids from ages 18 months to 18 years, the organization strives to foster personal and social growth in its singers, like 8-year-old Lydia Kouns.
The third-grader is in the Carmel Regional Choir and has been involved with ICC for three years. She’ll appear in the ICC holiday concert, “Celebrate the Season,” at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at St. Luke United Methodist, 100 W. 86th St., Indianapolis.
“I enjoy being in the choir because I think performing is exciting and fun,” Lydia said. “My mom (Katherine) said I’m better now at talking in front of a bunch of people because it makes me braver.”
Kathrine Kouns, director of choirs at Carmel High School, said she involvement in groups such as ICC helps students develop confidence and poise.
“I think it’s really great for them to get up and be representatives of their community when they perform at different events around town and out of state,” she said. “It also helps with learning how to work with other choir members and in friendship-building. ICC is a very well-respected organization, and I think students develop a sense of pride (that) they’re a part of that and a sense of belonging (that) I think is exciting for them.”
ICC Artistic Director Joshua Pedde, a Carmel resident, said music brings people together.
“My wife was in Children’s Choir and went to HSE (Hamilton Southeastern High School) and her best friend went to Carmel, and they would never have met if not for ICC, and so it introduces them to people they might not meet because they don’t go to the same school or might have a bit of a different background,” he said. “And that’s what it’s all about, serving our communities by bringing together kids who really love to sing, and when you do that, amazing things can happen.”
The ICC has a renewed focus on its mission to inspire student achievement and artistic excellence through music, year-round.
“We’ve just tried to renew that focus on really community-building within not only the program itself, but in the larger central Indiana area with a renewed sense of how can we push the boundaries of choral music and help these students achieve what they can through choral excellence,” he said. ”We are always looking for new repertoires and new music to sing but maybe do things a little out of the ordinary.”
That’s the plan for the Holiday Concert throught its “White Christmas” theme. The ICC is adding twists to classics such as Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” “O’ Holy Night” and “What Child is This.”
“The harmonies are different, and it may not be the classic sense of what you knew, but I think it’s still something audiences will appreciate and enjoy,” Pedde said. “In an age of people always being engaged somehow, such as on their phones, we want to make sure our audiences are engaged in new ways from employing new lighting and staging techniques to audio and visual enhancement.”
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.icchoir.org.