By Mark Johnson
Ask Eric Stark what he enjoys most about the holiday season, and he does not hesitate with his response.
“One of the best things about this time of year is getting to work with 200 singers, a group of wonderful people who care about the community,” Stark said. “It is a joy to make music with them.”
For Stark, the artistic director and conductor of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, the holiday season is a time when music plays a key role.
“At this time of year, there is literally wall-to-wall music,” Stark said. “It’s the sound of a chorus, the sound of a choir, it’s what helps to make this time of year special.”
Stark and the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir will celebrate the Yuletide season with the presentation of “Festival of Carols” for four shows at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. The performances are 8 p.m. Dec. 21, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 22 and 3 p.m. Dec. 23.
In addition to a 17-year leadership role with the ISC, Stark also is an associate professor of music at the Butler University Jordan College of Fine Arts. Throughout his tenure as conductor, he has come to appreciate the power of music, particularly during the Christmas season.
“It is an immense privilege when I get to experience the music from both sides, from the audience and from our singers,” he said. “It’s very exciting to feel that energy from the audience during the uptempo numbers and the quiet that falls over the audience during the slower songs. It’s an experience that cuts across all generations, especially this time of year. It’s a very special connection for all of us.”
Stark said he hopes audiences will connect through the common appreciation and joy of music.
“Even though we have differences, it’s what we share in common that is important. In our choir, we have the entire spectrum of people. But when we join together with our voices, we forget our differences,” he said. “We make beautiful things happen when we focus on the things that unite us.”
For tickets, visit indychoir.org or call 317-940-9057.