March is Music in Our Schools month — 30 days designed to celebrate school music education programs across the country. Now in its 32nd season, the Indianapolis Children's Choir (ICC) is one of those programs, participating in music programs in more than 50 local school districts.
“What our programming does is it draws from students throughout central Indiana with the hope of helping to build community through choral music,” ICC Artistic Director Joshua Pedde said. “As part of our requirement, all singers must also be participants in their own school music programs. They can participate in the choir, band or orchestra.”
ICC is made up of about 1,000 first- through 12th grade singers from across central Indiana.
“Then there are another 1,500 kids in schools to which we help by providing music programs,” Pedde said. “We make sure that kids who don’t have a music teacher are able to participate in a music class.”
Pedde said that music education is so much more than just learning how to read notes on a page.
“Music encompasses so many areas in which students are working — culture, history, math science,” he said. “We talk about all of that but, more than academically, they learn how to work in a group and in a team setting. They learn responsibility, poise and how to manage their time as well as how to get up in front of a group of people. It helps build a well-rounded student.”
Pedde said that math and language are very important, but it’s also important to look at the whole child and nurture their creative side.
“This is where they have imagination and are able to look outside of what is given to them and see that there are multiple answers and different kinds of beauty,” he said. “Music represents so many things that we take for granted.”
He said students who are involved in a music program typically score higher on tests.
Children interested in auditioning for the choir should have their parents visit the website at icchoir.org or call the office at 317-940-9640. A brief audition will be scheduled during which vocal health will be assessed, along with the ability to take instruction and pitch matching.
“We want to make sure that each child will be a productive member of the ensemble,” Pedde said. “The audition is very simple and takes about five minutes. Parents can be there.”
The ICC will be performing at Hilbert Circle Theatre in collaboration with the Indianapolis Ballet Conservatory and the Indianapolis Opera at 3 and 7 p.m. March 11.
“‘A Night in Rome’ features music the audience would enjoy if they were actually in Rome,” Pedde said.
Audiences will enjoy everything from sacred to opera to folk and jazz music, and all music teachers will be admitted for free as guests of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir.