The so-called “Super Bowl” of choir events starts today in Dallas, and our very own Indianapolis Youth Chorale is there to prove that Indiana has more to offer than basketball, corn, and racecars.
The sing-off, part of the American Choral Directors Association National Convention, includes 56 choirs and runs through March 16. The high-school-age Youth Chorale, directed by Cheryl West, belongs to the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, which is based on the campus of Butler University.
As we’ve all heard, everything is bigger in Texas, and this event is no exception. “I’m nervous about the sheer size of everything,” says Jericha Mill, IYC president and a senior at Pike High School, who spoke to IM yesterday before boarding a plane to Dallas. “I’ve never had an audience even close to this size, and the halls themselves are gigantic.”
And forget the encouraging audiences of mostly family and friends the choir enjoys here at home: There will be 2,000 choral directors critiquing the singers’ every note.
“Our audition for ACDA was blind,” says Mill. “They heard us, but they have no idea what we look like, so I’m looking forward to showing our audiences through our faces that we truly feel the music.”
The choir gave a free warm-up concert at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church on Friday to prepare for the trip. Although the gathering is not technically a competition, a group’s performance in Dallas can help determine future gigs. “It’s very important that they perform well,” says Laura Neidig, marketing director for the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. “A composer in the audience could think they are great, and want them to use his or her work.”
The Indianapolis Youth Chorale has been training teens how to harmonize for the past 15 years—and we aren’t talking about your typical school choir. Although beginners are allowed into the ICC’s younger groups, the children are expected to audition each year and move up the ranks. Once they enter the Youth Chorale as 10th-graders, most are highly capable vocalists, often leaving audiences shocked to hear such professional-sounding performances.
2013 marks the first year IYC has been selected to sing at the national convention, among choirs from all over the globe, and the fifth year for the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. And that’s quite a distinction. “Five visits to the national conference is unprecedented, according to the communications director for ACDA,” says Neidig.
Photos courtesy Indianapolis Children’s Choir