Out Take: Joshua Pedde

Artistic Director, Indianapolis Children’s Choir

Web: icchoir.org/pedde-bio
Contact: Rebekah Corwin, [email protected]

Community is what shapes kids’ identity in their formative years, so how do you maintain that connectedness in a time of social isolation? As so many types of artists and art educators have had to do this spring, Indianapolis Children’s Choir Artistic Director Joshua Pedde has gotten creative to keep his choral community alive. “Our new normal is difficult, and as much as it is about music, it’s about being a support system for one another,” he says.

When Pedde and his colleagues heard that live rehearsals would be suspended, an artistic team convened to brainstorm how to best serve students and families through online learning. Since then, instructors have held Zoom meetings one-on-one with students, developed instructional videos, held virtual rehearsals and developed online resources to recreate the live teaching and performing experience as best they can.

But the greatest challenge, he says, is the obvious one. “We create art in community, and now that we can’t, we can’t hear the ensemble as a whole. There’s no platform in existence right now that allows the full ensemble experience to happen.” To adapt to the new reality and continue effective teaching, Pedde says you have to work backwards. “You have to figure out your end goal and product and what will motivate the singers to accomplish that.”

Pedde suspects that this pandemic may have opened a new frontier in how art forms are taught and consumed––to an extent. While social isolation has inspired the development of valuable new teaching techniques, the desire to create and experience art live and in-person, he says, will never change. “As much as we all want to say it’s about music, it’s about relationships you’re building because when you create art, you open yourself up to be vulnerable because it’s so personal. Now more than ever, we have to keep creating art and music,” he says. “To keep the sense of community going is what’ll get us through this.”