GREENFIELD — Greenfield-Central High School’s madrigal choir has been invited to perform with the pros this weekend as part of the annual Festival of Carols.
G-C’s 53-member choir will join the 150-member Indianapolis Symphonic Choir at the Scottish Rite Cathedral Ballroom Sunday for a sold-out show. Additional performances are being held Dec. 22 at The Palladium in Carmel.
Each year, the Festival of Carols serves as a partner program between area schools and the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, ISC executive director Michael Pettry said.
“Christmas is for kids, and singing is such a big part of Christmas, so it’s really the perfect union,” he said.
How the schools are chosen varies. In many cases, children from Indianapolis schools who might not have much exposure to the arts are asked to join the event. But in other cases, the experience is offered more as a reward to an already-accomplished music program.
Greenfield-Central was last invited to participate eight years ago, and the group impressed the program’s organizers.
“They’re one of the strongest choral music programs in the state,” Pettry said.
This weekend’s sold-out show will be performed in front of about 750 people. The Palladium in Carmel holds about 1,500 people. Only about 400 tickets remain, and those are expected to be sold out within the next two weeks.
“We usually do well, but usually we sell 2,000 tickets … not this many,” Pettry said. “The music is just really familiar and accessible this year.”
Sara Langenberger, 16, a sophomore in G-C’s madrigals choir, is most looking forward to singing “Believe” from “The Polar Express,” a 2004 animated film in which Tom Hanks voices many of the characters.
Singing the film’s theme song puts a fresh spin on a holiday tradition for Sara, who watches the movie every Christmas with her family.
Even with some of her favorite music being in the lineup, Sara admits she’s still a bit nervous about getting on stage Sunday with the ISC.
“It’s such a prestigious choir, and it’s such an honor to be singing with all of them – not to mention the hundreds of people that will be watching us,” she said.
Still, lots of practice and hard work with the help of director Mary Evers has prepared the group.
“The genre of madrigal music is on the more difficult end of choral pieces, but we should have very little hiccups, if any,” Sara said.
Evers, a former member of the ISC, is excited to provide another G-C group the opportunity to sing alongside professionals.
Evers’ madrigal choir will perform three pieces with the ISC – “Believe,” “Jesu Bambino” and the “Hallelujah Chorus” – and three pieces of their own.
The choirs will be accompanied by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra.
Evers said the group, while young, is sure to impress.
“They’re singing college-level music, basically,” she said. “They like the challenge of it.”
Evers has prepared the group for the ISC’s director and admits when it comes time for her to relinquish control of the group, she’ll probably find her own spot on the stage with them.
“I’ll probably sing along,” she said, “because I know the pieces.”