By Mark Ambrogi
Josh Pedde started working with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir as a Butler University freshman. He found he never wanted to leave.
Pedde, a 34-year-old Carmel resident, is the assistant artistic director for the ICC. One part of that job is directing the Carmel Children’s Choir. Pedde will take over as the artistic director of ICC when founder Henry Leck retires. Following the 30th anniversary concert on April 30, Leck will hand over the baton to Pedde.
“He’s been my mentor for 15 years, but over those years he’s become a very good friend,” Pedde said. “He’s meant a lot to me. Originally I thought I’d be a high school choir director. Henry invited me to work with the Children’s Choir, and it was really neat to see how musical these young people can be and how much they learn. This is the basis for loving music for the rest of their lives. It’s quite amazing seeing how these kids progress if they stay with it for five or six years.”
Pedde, who was named as Leck’s eventual successor four years ago, plans to keep the rhythm going for ICC.
“I want to make sure we continue to serve the community as best as we can and make sure we give singers an opportunity and a place to come and feel like they belong,” Pedde said. “We use music as the tool to teach so many other things. It’s about teamwork and community, building something you can’t do on your own and discipline. We just happen to do it through music.
“Other people can do it through basketball, hockey or whatnot. This just happens to be our vehicle of helping to make better citizens. Really that’s what I’m more concerned about, building good people for the next generation who are going to end up taking care of me.”
Pedde, who has traveled with choirs in Europe, instructs the Carmel Children’s Choir one night each week at Carmel Lutheran Church.
Lisa Berry, whose daughter Abby, a Mohawk Trails Elementary fourth grader is a CCC member, said Pedde relates well with the children.
“Mr. Pedde is awesome,” Berry said. “We were excited to know he’d be at the Carmel location as choir director. He will be fantastic (as ICC director).”
The ICC programs, which include 18 choirs, start with ages 18 months and go all the way through high school. The Carmel choir includes children from Westfield and Noblesville. Fishers and Zionsville have their own choirs.
“I like all the age groups,” Pedde said. “My favorite are the middle school students I get to work with. Most people would run from middle schoolers, but I love it.”
Along with serving the community, Pedde’s other mission is to build awareness. Pedde grew up in Fort Wayne, home of the oldest children’s choir in the state. However, Pedde said his parents never knew about it.
“I loved singing and music, but we didn’t know it was there,” he said. “So one of my things is to make sure people know we’re here.”
HEAR THE CHOIR
The Carmel Children’s Choir will perform at the Breakfast for Baby Jesus at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 5 at the Carmel Lutheran Church, 4850 Main St. The event is free to the public, but donations are accepted. The CCC will be one of the featured choirs at the Celebrate the Season concert at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.
Meet Josh Pedde
Personal: Graduated from Butler in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in music education and 2006 with a master’s degree in choral conducting. Met his wife, Laura, a Hamilton Southeastern High School graduate who grew up in Noblesville, when she was working at the ICC office. She sang for ICC when she was younger. They have two children, Annabelle, 5, and Grayson, 2. His wife is CPA, working at White River Christian Church in Noblesville. Pedde works part-time as assistant director of worship at Carmel Lutheran Church and serves as the organist.
Favorite restaurant: Some Guys in Carmel.
Favorite thing to do with children: Hiking on the Monon Trail and bike rides. Taking his yellow Labrador puppy, Lucy, on walks.
Favorite movie: “The Godfather.”
Favorite form of music: 1940s big band and jazz.
Favorite musicians: Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney.
Favorite classical musician: Johann Sebastian Bach.