When 10-year-old Sylas Broderick attended a choir camp this past summer, little did he know just a few months later, he would have a chance to perform with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic.
“I went to choir camp at Central Middle School in Columbus this past summer, and that’s when I found out about the children’s choir,” Sylas said. “At the end of camp, there were tryouts for the choir, so I tried out, and a few months later, I got the results, and I made it.”
Sylas, who lives in the Reddington area in northeastern Jackson County, is a member of the Columbus Indiana Children’s Choir, which is an auditioned group of approximately 160 children in grades 4 through 8 from Bartholomew County and surrounding counties.
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Sylas, the son of Adam and Emily Broderick, has a younger brother, Jonah. The brothers attend Lillian Schmitt Elementary School in Columbus, where Sylas is a fourth-grader and Jonah is a second-grader.
“Sylas learned about choir camp from my mother, and so far, it has worked out really wonderful,” Adam said. “I’ve seen his confidence level skyrocket since being in the choir.”
Adam said Sylas has learned what hard work can produce by all of the effort and practice time he has put into the choir and seeing the end result.
“After he got to be in a show performance with the children’s choir, his eyes were just sparkling,” Adam said. “I think that has been the best part.”
The program has two choirs — the concert choir for more advanced singers and the descant choir for members who are beginners. Sylas is a member of the descant choir, which rehearses once a week.
Before joining the children’s choir, Sylas played for the Seymour Cyclones travel soccer team and played soccer for four or five years before deciding he would like to try something new to challenge his mind, Adam said.
Sylas’ most recent performance with the choir was in December, performing “Winter’s Glow” at The Ridge in Columbus.
The descant choir will next perform April 26 when it presents “Voices of Spring” at First Christian Church, 531 Fifth St., Columbus.
Sylas said he was excited he had the chance to sing with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and “Gloria Deo” was one of his favorite songs from the Christmas concert.
“I’m also in the choir at my school, and my favorite subject is lunch,” Sylas said. “Actually, I like math and doing long division. They teach us typing instead of handwriting. Also, I know how to fix a computer circuit.”
Emily said another great thing about the choir is it teaches the children discipline. When she picked Sylas up from practice one day, she noticed the teacher was able to quiet them down instantly.
The Columbus Indiana Children’s Choir is a cooperative effort between the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir.
The Indianapolis Children’s Choir is a nonprofit organization that provides music education to children and encourages them to strive for excellence in not only the choir but in themselves.
Now in its 33rd season, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir has grown to be one of the largest children’s choirs in the world and currently is led by artistic director Joshua Pedde.
“The kids you’d see on stage are from first grade all the way up through 12th grade,” Pedde said. “Almost 1,000 kids partake in that part of our various choir programming throughout central Indiana.”
Pedde said there are another 1,500 children in preschool programming, and then they also have after-school programs.
“We serve roughly 2,000 kids through innovation programs in the form of clinics, workshops and school convocations,” Pedde said. “All of our programing we do is to support teachers, and we do this free of charge for all of our schools.”
Toddlers and preschoolers may participate in classes, which focus on stimulating activities to build gross motor skills and general vocabulary through beat, rhythm and song.
“The preparatory program is for first-, second- and third-grade students, and there’s no audition,” Pedde said. “It’s to teach them things like how to read music, how to hold music correctly and how to stand.”
Auditions are held for fourth-grade students to access their voices, see how well they take instruction and to find out what can they do musically as far as if they can read a simple pattern.
“Then they are placed according to their ability level instead of grade level, so their needs are met and that child is being served accordingly,” Pedde said. “That’s one of our unique factors, and then another wonderful thing about the programming is the musicianship that the singers are capable of doing.”
He said the choir brings kids together from different schools and different socioeconomic backgrounds, faiths and religions.
“They come together to create, and this breaks down barriers between them, and they form lifelong friendships,” Pedde said. “In our world today, with all of the social media, I think it’s important to have that face-to-face contact with people and to be able to create something with others. It’s a beautiful thing.”
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Indianapolis Children’s Choir: icchoir.org
Columbus Indiana Children’s Choir: icchoir.org/choirs-programs/columbus-indiana-childrens-choir or thecip.org/education/columbus-indiana-childrens-choir