Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An Audience to Envy

Standing room only - the type of audience every performing arts group desires. Tonight, this is precisely the audience that the Emmerich Manual High School concert choir and band had for their Manual Christmas Spectacular.

Months ago, Indianapolis Star columnist Matt Tully began a series of columns about life at Manual, one of the high schools in the Indianapolis Public School system. He wrote volumes about the problems there, many of which he directly observed. One of the bright spots was the choir, and its energetic young director, Spencer Lloyd. Mr. Tully appealed to the community to support the holiday concert. The high school theater with over 1300 seats traditionally sees fewer than 100 patrons in the audience.

The community answered. Folks literally poured in while Mr. Tully stood in the doorway modestly greeting the many patrons who thanked him. I pulled up a seat on the floor and enjoyed a concert filled with enthusiasm and holiday spirit galore.

Every singer in the Indianapolis Children's Choir knows what it's like to have an appreciative audience, and now these Manual performers do as well. A long and robust standing ovation was bestowed upon them. In this beautiful high school theater the power of the press, the importance of arts education, and the common language of music - along with a little Christmas spirit - all came together and showed a community just how strong it can be.