Festival of Carols concerts set for Palladium


Jim Toombs has watched as the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir’s “Festival of Carols” has come a long way.

The Carmel resident said when he first started singing with the group, “Festival of Carols” was presented in a local church.

“We were hoping that two-thirds or maybe the whole congregation was there,” Toombs said. “Nowadays, there are usually three sold-out performances at the Palladium with a full orchestra.”


Indianapolis Symphonic Choir will perform three “Festival of Carols” concerts at 8 p.m. Dec. 16 and 3 p.m. Dec. 17-18 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. The ISC will perform the “Festival of Carols” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University’s campus in Indianapolis

“The Palladium is such a wonderful facility to sing in,” Toombs said. “It’s easy to hear and easy to see. Some places you get stuck on these risers and your elbow-to-elbow. There, you can spread out.”

Toombs, a Tenor 2, has been a member for 27 years. He is a Steffen singer, which means he has been in the choir for more than 20 years. The honor is named after ISC founding conductor Elmer Steffen.

“The organization has really grown,” Toombs said. “We’ve been to Carnegie Hall several times. We’ve been invited to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 2010, we went to China to sing in the Beijing Concert Hall.”

The artistic director is Eric Stark, the director of choral activities at Butler.

“He is amazing,” Toombs said. “The quality of the performances is great. We’ve developed relationships with other music organizations.”

The ISC has 150 members.

A 1976 Carmel High School graduate, Toombs was a member of the Ambassadors, the mixed show choir, and played clarinet in the marching band at CHS. He is a deputy prosecutor with Hancock County.

Along with Festival of Carols, Toombs will be performing in a smaller ISC choir for “Handel’s Messiah,” which will be performed Dec. 22 at the Palladium.

For more, visit indychoir.org.