A Parent’s Perspective: Alice Minnick shares how FWCC impacted her daughter

When our founder, Jocelyn Basse, created this organization, it was to supplement the music education that children received at school. Today, more than ever, as budgets are reduced and arts programs are cut, our programming is essential. While our mission statement reflects our commitment to music literacy, involvement in the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir provides singers with valuable life lessons. We help singers find their voice—as musicians, leaders, and positive community members. Students are changed for the better, but don’t take our word for it. Alice Minnick’s daughter, Grace, was a member of FWCC for eleven years, and Alice shared her experience with us:

Grace’s involvement with the FWCC changed her life and ours, and I cannot imagine that her education would have been complete without the influence of this organization.

My daughter began her involvement with the choir in early elementary school. During that time, she developed exceptional musical skills, an amazing ear for singing harmony, and a tremendous ability to sight-read music. The musical skills learned there have manifested themselves far beyond the FWCC. They enabled her to be a leader in her own school’s choirs and ensembles, to have a Worship-Leader role in our church, to advance more quickly in her own private music lessons, and are apparent in her own singing and songwriting endeavors. She has developed a warm, yet confident, stage presence that began on the FWCC risers as a member of the Apprentice Choir.

In addition, the FWCC has given Grace the opportunity to work with a variety of gifted clinicians and to meet a variety of kids from many other regions and organizations. It has provided a wealth of cultural experiences too numerous to list and has given her the opportunity to travel, both domestically and internationally.  These travel opportunities have allowed her a degree of independence, while still being in a safeguarded environment.

The friendships she developed through the choir have been a tremendous addition to Grace’s life. The choir has given her an identity far beyond the walls of her own school. As a mother, I especially appreciate this aspect. As she moved from early elementary school to middle school and high school, and began to experience the additional drama that always seems to manifest itself at this age, the FWCC not only provided a refuge for her, but it also served to protect her from much adolescent angst and isolation. Because of the FWCC, she didn’t have all her eggs in one basket socially. Grace could navigate the halls of her school much more confidently, because her acquaintances and friendships went beyond the walls of her school. It gave her a confidence and a resilience that I know I didn’t have at that vulnerable age.

Grace is now in college and she has had many opportunities and even scholarship awards that can be traced directly to her involvement with the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir. The organization has offered her a stage to perform, opportunities for leadership, and the ability to demonstrate long-term commitment to an organization. It’s been our experience that these are qualities that colleges and universities are looking for.  We can’t imagine that as many doors would have opened for her without her involvement in the FWCC.

We will always be grateful for the opportunities provided to our daughter through this organization and for the countless individuals who give of their time and talent to make the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir what it is today.

Grace’s experience is like many others from the FWCC – the story of music and the positive impact in the lives of our singers.

  Amber Foster   Dec 08, 2017   Blog   Comments Off on A Parent’s Perspective: Alice Minnick shares how FWCC impacted her daughter Read More

Meet the Board- Megan Ryan

This week’s featured board member is Megan Ryan. Megan is a FWCC alum and serves as our secretary on the board of directors. She is a special education teacher at FWCS Towles Montessori and is entering her 8th year of teaching. She was born and raised in Fort Wayne and graduated from Saint Mary’s College in 2009, with her undergraduate degree. She obtained her masters in Special Education at The University of Saint Francis in 2014. In between her undergraduate and graduate work, she spent a large amount of time teaching in Ghana, West Africa. She is also a member and volunteer at the Southwest Conservation Club, and co-owner of Southwest Honey Company, where she gets to spend all of her free time caring for honey bees and managing their pollinator education programs for the community.
1- Why do you volunteer with FWCC? I have been associated with the FWCC since I was in 5th grade! I was overjoyed when I was asked to be a part of the board 4 years ago. I first got engaged with the choir because of my music teacher in elementary school. She encouraged me to audition, and I never looked back.
2- What were you most surprised to learn about FWCC after getting involved?  I have always known, all these years, that the adults who work with FWCC work hard. But man oh man! Once I joined the board, I really got an inside look at what it really takes to make such a phenomenal organization find the success that it has. Kudos to all the staff, directors, board members, and volunteers!
3- Why do you think FWCC is important to our community? The FWCC is essential to our Fort Wayne community for three simple reasons: educational excellence, fostering of cultural appreciation, developing relationships (the music is the tool used to do all three of these-and beautiful music at that). These are three things that every child should be exposed to and assisted in developing during their childhood.
4- What is your favorite FWCC memory?  My favorite FWCC memory is our tour trip to England when I was in 6th grade. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I was lucky enough to have my mom and my grandmother along for the trip, and I got to room with my good friend, Becky Caywood. In one short trip, my life was forever changed- my love for travel, the world around me, and soaking up different cultures would never be the same!
  Amber Foster   Sep 21, 2017   Blog   Comments Off on Meet the Board- Megan Ryan Read More

Meet the Staff- Laura Dallman

Photo: Andy Pauquette

This week’s featured staff member is Laura Dallman. Laura is our Boychoir accompanist. She has worked with the FWCC in some capacity for the past three years. First she was a guest artist, and then she joined permanently as the Boychoir accompanist.

Laura grew up in Terre Haute, Indiana, and has lived all of her life in Indiana, save a short summer stint at a music festival in Vail, Colorado. She currently teaches music appreciation, class piano, and music history at IPFW and Ball State University. Laura earned a Bachelor’s of Music (Piano Performance) at Ball State University, a Master of Arts (Musicology) Indiana University, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Musicology) Indiana University.

1- What do you like best about working with FWCC? I like the positive atmosphere that the FWCC creates and encourages, both for the students and the staff.

2- What is your favorite FWCC memory? I was just tickled when the Boychoir sang “Johnny Schmoker” at a dress rehearsal and the rest of the FWCC gave them thunderous applause. The boys looked so excited!

3- How would you describe the culture of FWCC? I would describe the culture of FWCC as inviting and caring.

4- In your own words, why should a child consider joining FWCC?  I think children should consider joining FWCC because they will meet other children of all ages that love music and singing. From a more educational standpoint, I know they will receive quality music education, too.

  Amber Foster   Sep 14, 2017   Blog   Comments Off on Meet the Staff- Laura Dallman Read More

Alumni Update- Rachel Haywood

Since our inception 44 years ago, we have had the pleasure of sharing in the lives of thousands of talented young people. Periodically, we will share stories from some of our alumni. Today, we’d like you to meet Rachel Haywood.

We asked her some questions about her time with FWCC and what she’s up to now.


1- When were you a part of the FWCC?
I was involved with the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir from 2005-2015.

2- What is your favorite FWCC memory?
Trying to pick one favorite memory is literally impossible, but I can say that each year was better than the last, and I cherished each local, national, and international opportunity that I got to share with my friends! We became family. I really enjoyed the little moments.

3- How did involvement with FWCC impact your life?
Singing with the FWCC has been by far the most rewarding experience of my life. I learned important life lessons right next to the invaluable music skills that have shaped me to be the person I am today. I may have graduated 2 years ago, but I still have memories and skills from my time with the FWCC.

4- What are you doing now?
I am about to start my junior year of college at Ball State University where I am studying English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Professional Writing and Emerging Media. I look forward to becoming more involved around my college campus!

rachey-haywood25- Is there anything else you’d like to share?
FWCC has the potential to change anyone’s life. I recommend the program to everyone, no matter their age or singing ability. Even if someone involves themselves for a year, they will experience a wide range of musical and cultural opportunities that will teach them more than they can imagine. I still keep in touch with a lot of choir friends including one I’ve roomed with at college and it’s easy to catch up like we never left. Friends are family.

 The first picture is of Rachel Haywood and fellow alumna Sarah Ceckowski (her freshman year college roommate) on their first international trip to England in summer of 2011. The second is one of her high school senior pictures from 2015.

If you’d like to share your alumni story, email Amber Foster at


  Amber Foster   Jun 20, 2017   Blog, Uncategorized   Comments Off on Alumni Update- Rachel Haywood Read More

2017-18 Auditions

The Fort Wayne Children’s Choir invites youth, in grades 3 – 12, to participate in our auditions. Open to any singer interested in pursuing their love for singing and passion for choral excellence, auditions are free and with no obligation. All ensembles of the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir sing at season concerts, community festivals, civic events, and collaborate with many other arts organizations, such as the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Fort Wayne Ballet, Heartland Sings, and others.

Students will be placed in the choir that best suits their needs.  FWCC offers participation assistance for qualifying families.

The Audition: Potential FWCC members are tested on pitch matching, rhythmic skills, and music theory. The audition session is meant to be relaxed, fun, and non-intimidating, and takes approximately 30 minutes and usually includes 4-6 children of the same age. A parent information session is conducted at the same time. Following the session, the level of choir is determined for which the singer is ready. The child/parents/guardian is contacted with more information following the audition decision process. Singers may participate in a Fort Wayne or Whitley Community audition and designate at that time where they want to participate.

AUDITION DATES for 2017-18:

In Fort Wayne: Monday, May 22 – Thursday, May 25

4:30 – 6:00 pm: 30-minute sessions
IPFW Rhinehart Music Center

In Whitley County: Tuesday, May 16, 3:30-5:30 pm AND Wednesday, May 17, 4:30-6:30 pm

30-minute sessions
Peabody Public Library

To register, or for more information, please call the FWCC office, 260.481.0481, or

  jabeights   Apr 28, 2017   Blog   Comments Off on 2017-18 Auditions Read More

Children’s Choir Choral Camp

June 19-23, 2017, 1pm to 4pm

IPFW Rhinehart Music Center

Lyric - CAA

The Community Arts Academy at IPFW is hosting a Summer Children’s Choir Choral Camp. Join in the fun and learn more about the art of singing. Under the direction of Susan LaCroix of Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, singers will be introduced to basic music theory through musical games, instruction, and, of course, singing. The week culminates in a short program for parents and family members. This camp is for students entering 1st-6th grade in fall 2017.

About the Director

Susan LaCroix

Susan LaCroix is in her 21st year with the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, directing the Apprentice Choir and Preparatory Program. A native of Minnesota, she received a bachelor of arts in education from Concordia University in River Forest, IL, and additional training in the child’s voice, conducting, and Level One Kodály Certification at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She is a music education specialist and band director at Holy Cross Lutheran School and has taught music education at IPFW, Unity Lutheran School, and Southwest Allen County Schools. Her three daughters are alumnae of the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir.


A closing concert open to the public will take place Friday, June 23, at 4:15pm in Rhinehart Recital Hall.

Five 3-hour sessions: $99

Click here to register online. For more information, call 260-481-6977.

FWCC Choral Camp

  jabeights   Mar 08, 2017   Blog   Comments Off on Children’s Choir Choral Camp Read More