In August of 2015, the nonprofit arts organization Fishers Music Works embarked on a new type of ensemble. While the Fishers Music Works umbrella was host to 6 other ensembles, Fishers Community Chorus was the first large ensemble entirely comprised of volunteer members. Its business model: recruit singers from all talent and experience levels in a regularly-scheduled "season" of rehearsals and performances.
The concept of the chorus was proposed by Marc Feeney, then Vice President of Fishers Music Works. His college experience included coursework in instrumental music education and participation in a mens' chorus. Like many, however, his collegiate ensemble participation marked his last live performances for more than a decade.
When Marc was invited to "come out of retirement" and play in the White River Wind Symphony (a Fishers Music Works ensemble), he reached out to Alan Erwin, a choir director from his high school. Alan had been conducting the Alexandria Community Band (ACB) for years, and invited Marc to sit in every time they ran into each other. Marc took the plunge and said yes to both opportunities. His love for music had been rekindled, and a beast had been awakened.
ACB members had kept their band together for over 30 years in a town of under 5,00 residents, enduring despite ebbs and flows in membership -- because they wouldn't let it end. Organizations like ACB exist in small towns all around the country. But there was no such group in Fishers, one of the most rapidly growing communities in Indiana. Marc was deeply inspired by the history and unity of ACB, and he immediately began discussing the possibility of creating a similar organization in his new hometown. His desire to recreate that experience kicked off a 6-month search for resources.
Marc's search fell flat on many levels. Band equipment is expensive to buy, and nearly impossible to rent. Determined that Fishers should have -- no, needed to have -- this musical presence, Marc continued to bring up community music with anyone willing to listen - and many who were not! Marc eventually met with Doug Whisman and Ji-Eun Lee -- the proprietors of Ji-Eun Lee Music Academy. They instantly became sponsors of the concept and convinced him pivot to a community choir. They facilitated conversations with elementary school choir director Connie LaRocco, who agreed to help get the chorus started.
So there it was. A group that was built with the sole purpose of uniting musicians of all levels. A group devoted to combining their talents for the good of the community. A small group of 14 singers convened and rehearsed for their inaugural Christmas concert at Ji-Eun Lee Music Academy on December 20, 2015.
Since that time, FCC has performed dozens of times for audiences from 20 to 7000. We have been fortunate to work with many very talented singers, instrumentalists, and conductors as well, all of whom have contributed to our rich tapestry of musical togetherness. We like to think of ourselves as the unofficial "musical ambassadors" for our community. We invite you to join us and add your thread to that growing tapestry.
Our history is brief, but steeped in an intense belief in the restorative power of music. In a world where true human connection is becoming less common, we continue to join together to elevate our fellow choristers. To be a part of something bigger than any one of our members. To enrich each others' lives.
Come as you are. Have fun. Enjoy life through song. It's what we're all about!