Inland Children's Chorus Forum Page
The discussion forum below provides an opportunity for you to help preserve the history of the Chorus with your comments or memories. If you have problems with posting, you can send a comment directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following are links to related content of special interest.
Chorus America "Impact Study" (excellent)
Houston Children's Chorus ~ founded by former member Stephen Roddy
"One Member's Reflections" ~ vivid account by Jock Hussong
Forum Comments and Discussion:
Only the ten most recent comments are shown below. Click to view all comments.
- Jan Mechenbier Yearick - I just found out about this website yesterday. I was totally thrilled to hear about it. I have 1 or 2 albums from the sixties and no player! Please add my email address to your mailing list! [Posted: Jun 20, 2018]
- Chad Wiechart - I have enjoyed reading a bit of the history on this website, but have no real connection to the Inland Children's Chorus. However, I received from my aunt, Darlene Martin, a gift of records, including about 15 ICC records and I would like to get them to a more rightful home. So I am donating these records for the Collection. The following are my aunt's comments about the connection of these records to her late husband, Tom Martin:
"I am absolutely thrilled to hear about your interest in the records and the connections that you have made to find them a proper home. About the Inland Children’s Choir, my husband Tom Martin was an electrician at Inland Vandalia and retired after 30 years. His father, Wayne Martin, was an engineer who also retired from Inland GM. Wayne and Virginia Martin [who played the violin] were both involved in the choir but I am not sure to what extent. I do know that they were financial supporters. Wayne was working at Inland during WWII when they converted the plant into an arms production. It has always been my understanding that the records were a promotional undertaking to finance the choir. Tom was an only child but Wayne and Virginia Martin had numerous friends whose children were choir members. There was definitely a social connection. You have made me very glad that I kept them and moved them with me three times. I always felt that someone would be glad to have them. Tom did tell me that the choir would perform on the Ruth Lyons radio program." [Webmaster Note: This forum comment was accepted on April 12, 2016, but evidently was not posted. Apologies to Chad Weichart: The message from his aunt is fascinating and certainly adds to the history of the Inland Children's Chorus. Darlene Martin's name was added to the list of Website and Project Contributors on the "About Us" page.] [Posted: Apr 17, 2018]
- Jerry Alred - Many people have asked how the idea for a chorus occurred to Wallace Whittaker and the Inland management. The histories of the Chorus in programs and elsewhere state simply that it "grew out of the Inland employee Christmas parties," but not precisely how. The Inlander of 1936 introduces a well-planned Chorus, including a photo of Raymond Sovey, the Broadway theatrical designer who was responsible for the costuming and staging. But a 1941 article sheds more light on the origin of the idea, as the following passage suggests:
"The members range in age from 8 to 15 years and constitute a chorus that is an outgrowth of an idea extending as far back as 20 years. When Inland started its series of employe Christmas parties at that time, entertainment was provided by children of various ages from Inland division families. The programs disclosed the fact many of the children possessed unusual vocal ability and the plan was conceived to form a regular Inland Children’s chorus." -- Dayton Sunday Journal-Herald, "Dayton Music to Be Heard Far, Wide During Holiday": December 21, 1941, sports section/local news, page 6.
If this article is correct, the children who "possessed unusual vocal ability" may have planted the seeds for a children's chorus in the 1920s, well before the official founding of the Chorus in 1936.
[Posted: Feb 17, 2017]
- Jerry Alred - I was describing to a friend recently the drama of singing and marching off stage to Humperdinck's "Evening Prayer." No one so far has described in detail that experience, so I thought I'd try from my memory. And, please, corrections or additions welcome. I should mention that a full, in-concert version of "Evening Prayer" (sometimes referred to as "Fourteen Angels") with march off stage and sheet music is available on our music page.
"Evening Prayer" (German: "Abendsegen" or evening blessing or benediction) is the most famous song from Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel. The brother and sister are lost in the woods at night and try to comfort each other as they sing. As they fall asleep, fourteen angels appear in pantomime to protect the children. As a young person (and even now), I've often thought that I could use those angels watching over me.
Former Chorus members from every generation sang "Evening Prayer" as far as I can tell. It was something of an encore at the end of the first half. As it was sung (sopranos and altos only), the balcony spotlights and even footlights would begin to turn blue. I confess I enjoyed that feature on stage because the blue lights were cooler than the intense white stage lights. As the lyrics were finished, the accompaniment continued, the Chorus closed the binders in unison and marched precisely off stage -- boys stage left and girls stage right. On our recording (the [WAV] file especially), you can hear some of the footsteps as row after row marches off the stage.
The lights would continue to become more intensely blue as the stage emptied. The material used on the platform reflected the blue in such a way that the stage would take on an ethereal look. That must have been planned by Raymond Sovey, the Broadway lighting and production designer who staged the Chorus. We marched off the stage, down the steps, and out the side doors. Stage hands would make sure the side doors were quiet and the big curtains would close and then the house lights would come up for the intermission. In all, the effect was as dramatic as a participant as it was from the audience. See the articles page December 1956 clipping with the stage and interior of the newly remodeled Memorial Hall.
I'm not sure if we performed that song and marched off stage at the Art Institute because of the smaller size of that venue. That's as much as I can remember, so if others recall more or further details, please add them. [Posted: Dec 26, 2016]
- Larry Brun - Loved the snapshot album especially the pictures of the Connair brothers and Lucille Batter back in 1937. I went to school with Lucille's daughter Sue who was also in the chorus. [Posted: Jul 18, 2016]
- Jerry Alred - I have been working recently on music files and have uploaded to the website songs from a remarkably clear version of the 1958 album. That album was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of General Motors. One song on this recording is the traditional spiritual "Were You There?" that includes an excellent solo by Gerald (Jerry) Cochran. I urge website visitors to play that audio file on the "music" page. Many remember that Jerry had an outstanding voice -- unfortunately, this is the only recording that features one of his solos. Hearing Jerry reminded me of our friendship and time together as we rode the same bus to and from practices -- Route 4: Delphos-Wayne. I remember most vividly that Jerry and I would walk after practices from the Loretto, then through Rike's, and on to our bus stop on Third Street. What a treat it would be to see Jerry again at one of our luncheons or at least learn if he continued to sing beyond his time in the Chorus. [Posted: Jan 09, 2016]
- Larry Brun - Tomorrow The Ohio State Buckeyes will play for the first "Official" National Championship in football. The NCAA has never recognized a Champion before. This has brought back memories to me of 1954. Back then we had double sessions on the Saturdays 2 or 3 weeks before the concert. I don't remember the hours but I think they were from 10--12 and 1--3. Maybe Marilou remembers the hours. Anyway we would go to lunch from 12--1. There were many lunch counters in downtown Dayton to eat at at the time: McCrorys, Kresges, Woolworths, Rikes, White Towers (not White Castle), and Gallaghers. But a group of us always went down to the Arcade to a Deli called "Knolls" where you could get a custom made sandwich--hmmmm good. On one of those Saturdays in Nov of '54 OSU was playing Michigan and several of us hurried over to the 7th floor of Rikes to catch the last quarter of the game on TV. OSU won 21-0 and on New Years Day beat USC to win their 2nd National Championship according to the Polls. I was 12 years old and I think that Christmas we performed The Story of Bethlehem. It was Richard Westbrock's last concert. [Posted: Jan 11, 2015]
- Larry Brun - Jerry. Other soloists I remember...
Rocky Brown--Old Man River
Joe Bales--Adonoi-- sung at The Art Institute
Sharon Bachman--2 or 3 Don't remember the songs
And of course the "Pickled Boys" in ST NICK--Tom Meyer (who was there last spring) Pat Caulfield and I don't remember the 3rd but he is in the program. [Posted: Jan 4, 2015]
- Sharon Kelly Roth - My brother, Denis Kelly, was in the Chorus in the mid-1940s. As I recall he sang a solo in Stouthearted Men, but I can't say for sure the young voice on that song posted on the music page is Denis Kelly. He died 5 years ago but while he was alive he sang with the Indianapolis Opera Company and in dinner theaters. He loved being on the stage. He always praised Mr. Westbrook and all that he taught him. The Inland Children's Chorus was a highlight of his early years (mine also!). [Posted: Jan 4, 2015]
- Nancy Hamden Provost - I was a member from 1951-59. I really treasure all the memories and the music we sang. Those were golden years. Additionally, my aunt Mary Ann Wrightsman Cooper sang in the early years and when we did the St. Nicholas Cantata, she came back to sing again. It was great to sing with her. She had a super voice. [Posted: Jan 3, 2015]
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