Author Archives Amber Foster

Meet the Board- Carrie Minnich

Welcome to our newest feature, Meet the Board. We have been highlighting staff members and alumni, and now it’s time to introduce you to some of our behind-the-scenes volunteers who make it all happen. Just like all non-profits, we have a board of directors who lead us in developing vision and ensuring we have the finances in place to continue offering valuable programs. We could not do what we do without their guidance and dedication.

First up, meet Carrie Minnich, FWCC’s Board Chair extraordinaire. Carrie is originally from Goshen, Indiana, and attended Manchester University, where she met her husband John. They were both accounting majors. After graduation, they both accepted jobs at CPA firms in Indianapolis. In 2004, they moved to Fort Wayne, John’s hometown.

“2004 was a big year for us, as we moved to a new city, got married, bought a house, and started new jobs all within a few months,” Carrie says. 

Carrie has been with with Dulin Ward and Dewald (DWD), a CPA firm here in Fort Wayne, ever since and became a director/shareholder in January. She specializes in nonprofits, working with them to make our community a better place to live. She also writes DWD’s Mission Minded blog, a source of best practices for nonprofit organizations, covering everything from board governance to unrelated business income and 990’s.

Both Carrie and John are active in the community, volunteering with various nonprofit organizations and attending community events. In addition to serving as our board chair, Carrie serves on The Community Foundation’s audit committee, and she is the advisory CPA board member for the Upstate Alliance of Realtors. She also serves on the Indiana CPA Society Leadership Cabinet.

In her free time, she enjoys running, watching sports (especially Colts and Notre Dame football), and attending community events, Komets hockey games, and TinCaps baseball games.

We had the opportunity to ask her a few questions:

1- How long have you volunteered for FWCC? I joined the FWCC board in June 2013. When I tell people that I serve on the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir board, they usually assume I either have a child in the choir or have a musical background.  I have neither. I grew up playing sports and participating in 4-H, so the Choir is something totally different for me.  I think it’s pretty amazing what Jonathan and the staff teach the kids.

I was asked to serve on the board by a former FWCC board member after my involvement with Foellinger’s Community Interest Grant Review Committee.

2- What were you most surprised to learn about FWCC after getting involved? What the kids know!  I attended a rehearsal for the Lyric Choir and was amazed at the interaction between the kids and Pam Pierson and what they were learning.

3- Why do you think FWCC is important to our community? The mission of FWCC is to provide a choral program exemplifying artistic and educational excellence for children from diverse backgrounds, but children participating in FWCC are gaining so much more than a solid music education.  FWCC is developing these children to be good citizens.  The Choir provides them with an appreciation for music, teamwork, and leadership skills, social skills, appreciation of diversity and creativity. Studies have been done showing that children who participate in children’s choirs grow up to be more active in their community.  They volunteer more, contribute more financially to philanthropic organizations, and exhibit greater civic leadership.


  Amber Foster   Aug 10, 2017   Uncategorized   Comments Off on Meet the Board- Carrie Minnich Read More

2017 Tour Recap

Each summer, members of our older ensembles go on tour– every few years abroad, while remaining stateside in the years between.

This summer, our Concert Choir attended NCSICA in North Carolina, and our Youth Chorale went to NYC. Both groups met in Washington, D.C. at the tail end of the trip.
27 Concert Choir singers and 5 chaperones made their way to NCSICA, where they enjoyed working with former FWCC Director Mr. Meads. They also had the opportunity to perform at All Souls Cathedral in Asheville, NC.
28 Youth Chorale singers and 5 chaperones visited NYC, where they toured Radio City Music Hall, took a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, and enjoyed a DJ Dinner Cruise. They also had the chance to attend a workshop with a Broadway cast member and enjoyed performances of both Phantom of the Opera and Aladdin on Broadway.
When all singers met in Washington, D.C., they toured the National Mall and Arlington National Cemetery, and performed at The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

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  Amber Foster   Aug 04, 2017   Uncategorized   Comments Off on 2017 Tour Recap Read More

Meet the Staff- Pam Pierson

Photo: Andy Pauquette

Meet Pam Pierson, Associate Artistic Director. Pam has been working on and off with FWCC since the mid-nineties conducting various choirs. Over the years, she has conducted the Lyric Choir, Treble Choir, Chorister Choir and the DeKalb County Community Choir. She graduated from Taylor University, Fort Wayne with a degree in music education. After 18 years teaching elementary music in Fort Wayne Community Schools and after earning degrees in curriculum development and school administration, she became an elementary principal and eventually the assistant superintendent of a private school in Auburn, where she lives. For the past year, she has been teaching courses in music education at IPFW and supervising student teachers. When she is not making music with kids or preparing pre-service teachers for that responsibility, she enjoys time with family, quilting, and curling up with a good book. She is especially thankful for her husband Ed who is a contact source of support and encouragement.      

1- What do you like best about working with FWCC?  Working with the FWCC is a dream job for a music educator!  As a director, I get the pleasure of making music each week with kids who love to sing!  They bring an enthusiasm and excitement that makes coming to rehearsal a joy.  I also have a tremendous appreciation for the staff.  FWCC people are hardworking, talented folks, and I am humbled to be included on the team.
2- What is your favorite FWCC memory?  Just this summer, I had the privilege to conduct the choirs on tour at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. This was my first tour with the FWCC and definitely a memory to treasure!
3- How would you describe the culture of FWCC?  The FWCC is characterized by a culture of trust and integrity. Perhaps it’s because singing is such a personal, vulnerable act that it fosters a trust among the singers and staff. And I deeply respect the integrity that FWCC brings to the work of music education in Northeastern Indiana. We believe so strongly that music is important and good for children. The integrity of the FWCC drives the organization to ensure that quality music education is available to all children because it’s the right thing to do.
4- Why should a child consider joining FWCC?  For children who love music and singing, this is where they can flourish and develop the skills to become independent music-makers for life!
  Amber Foster   Aug 03, 2017   Uncategorized   Comments Off on Meet the Staff- Pam Pierson Read More

Choralfest 2017 Recap

Whew! What a week! Over 250 singers enjoyed meeting their directors and new friends (or reconnecting for some of our returning singers), and a week full of singing, dancing, drama, and more at Choralfest 2017. Choralfest is our annual summer camp that kicks off our season. This year, we have our largest choir in 10 years and after this week, we are even more excited for the coming season.

The week culminated in a FREE concert on Friday at the Foellinger Theatre. What a turnout! Over 1,000 people came out to support our singers. This year’s theme was Wild, Wild West, and our singers enjoyed singing western themed songs– from Buffalo Gals to Songs of the Cowboys, Red River Dances, Old Dan Tucker, and many more favorites. At the end of the evening, over 25 alumni joined us on stage to sing Happy Trails.

Special thanks to our directors, guest instructors, Youth Chorale helpers, and parents who assisted last week. We could not have done it without you.

  Amber Foster   Jul 31, 2017   Uncategorized   Comments Off on Choralfest 2017 Recap Read More

Meet the Staff- Mitch Rorick

Photo: Andy Pauquette

Meet Mitch Rorick, our Boychoir Director. Mitch is starting his 3rd year with FWCC. He earned degrees from Wheaton College, Indiana University, and Florida State University. In addition to directing with FWCC, he is the Associated Director of Music at Trinity English Lutheran Church, serves on the faculty at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, and is a vocal artist with Heartland Sings.

1- What do you like best about working with FWCC? I enjoy working with the students the most. It’s wonderful to have so many talented and supportive colleagues, as well.

2- What is your favorite FWCC memory? For me, I cherish the moments when the students light up with joy and excitement as they participate in choir together, learn something new, and create beautiful music.

3- How would you describe the culture of FWCC? The FWCC culture is fun and welcoming, while also steeped in artistic and educational excellence.

4- In your own words, why should a child consider joining FWCC? Children should join FWCC because it’s FUN, a place to make lasting friendships, and provides educational and leadership opportunities.



  Amber Foster   Jul 27, 2017   Uncategorized   Comments Off on Meet the Staff- Mitch Rorick Read More

Honoring our Seniors

We had a great group of seniors this year and we will miss them all. Here’s a brief summary of their plans for the fall.

Jacob Bryant—Following graduation from Concordia Lutheran High School, Jacob plans to attend Huntington      University in the fall. He plans to study Occupational Therapy and join the choir and drama departments. He is an eight-year member of the FWCC and the son of Jason and Stephanie.

Nathan Gidley—This fall Nathan will attend Ball State University as a member of the Honor’s College and will major in Meteorology and Telecommunications. He graduated from Snider High School and is the son of Jan and Tom. A 10-year member of the FWCC, Nathan also sang with the Chamber Singers.

Ashlee Goelz—Ashlee will attend Ball State University and plans on majoring in nursing with a focus on pediatric nursing. The daughter of Wendy and James, she graduated from North Side High School. She is a 10-year member of the FWCC and also was a member of the Chamber Singers.

Laysha Greene—After graduating from North Side High School, Laysha plans on attending Indiana University Bloomington to study Biology. She is the daughter of Felicia. Laysha is a member of the Chamber Singers and has sung with the FWCC for nine years.

Bernadette Hargis—Bernadette will attend IPFW this fall semester and then plans to transfer to the University of Maryland in the spring. She will pursue studies in International Relations, with a minor in music. Bernadette is the daughter of Carol and Todd Hargis. She graduated from Homestead High School and is a seven-year member of the FWCC.

Brianna Henry—Brianna has participated in the FWCC for 10-years and was a member of the Chamber Singers. She graduated from Carroll High School and plans to attend IPFW in the fall, with an undeclared major. She is the daughter of Tena and Jeremy Crist and Jim Henry.

Hannah Hobson—Hannah will attend IPFW in the fall as a Chapman Scholar and plans to pursue a Choral Music Education major. She is a home-school student and the daughter of Karicia and Andrew. Hannah is a member of the Chamber Singers and a five-year FWCC singer.

Kyra Mendenall—Kyra graduated from South Side High School and is undecided about her college plans. She is, however, interested in pursuing a career in graphic design. Kyra is a two-year member of the FWCC and the daughter of David and Janice.

Sangeeta Reddy—Sangeeta will pursue a BMA in Voice Performance at DePauw University School of Music this fall. She earned the Music Performance Scholarship Award. She is the daughter of Deep and Seema and graduated from Canterbury School. A member of the Chamber Singers, Sangeeta is a 10-year member of the FWCC.

Garin Wurschmidt—Garin is planning to attend Valparaiso University this fall to major in Music Education. He graduated from Norwell High School and has been a member of the FWCC for two years. He is the son of Randy and Carolina, and was a member of the Chamber Singers.


  Amber Foster   Jul 24, 2017   Uncategorized   Comments Off on Honoring our Seniors Read More

Meet the Staff- Becky Walter

Meet Becky Walter, FWCC’s Whitley Community Choir Director. Becky has been a part of FWCC for 7 years, helping us expand our programs to our neighbors to the west. She attended Western Michigan University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education and Elementary Education and a Masters from IPFW. She is an Endorsed Trainer in Education Through Music and is licensed to teach First Steps in Music, a program that takes children from birth all the way through preschool. She lives in Columbia City and has 7 grandchildren.
1- What do you like best about working with FWCC? Working with an organization that finds the very best methods to teach children. And the entire staff– they make it easy and fun and stimulating!
2- What is your favorite FWCC memory?  Every concert!
3- How would you describe the culture of FWCC? Open. Welcoming. Intensely focused on education. Fun.
4- In your own words, why should a child consider joining FWCC? Teaching children about music is one thing. DOING music is another entirely. In FWCC, we teach children about music by doing music. The Kodaly system of teaching is the very best way to ensure student success.
  Amber Foster   Jul 20, 2017   Uncategorized   Comments Off on Meet the Staff- Becky Walter Read More

Choralfest 2017- The Wild, Wild West

We will host Choralfest 2017 the week of July 24-28, with a theme of The Wild, Wild West.  The week-long day camp at the IPFW Rhinehart Music Center will welcome nearly 300 FWCC new and returning members to a week filled with music and more.

The annual camp is the kick-off event for the upcoming FWCC choir season! Seven of the nine ensembles will meet as individual choirs and as a combined group. The week serves as an opportunity for the singers to meet one another or renew friendships, begin their work as a choir, and experience other areas of the arts through various activities and guest artists. This year Choralfest will offer chimes, contradancing, drama, and music theory, in addition to the many opportunities to sing.

The week culminates in a free public concert in the Foellinger Outdoor Theatre, Franke Park, Friday, July 28, 7:00 pm. FWCC Alumni will join the current singers on stage during the final song of the evening. The performance is part of the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation music series and is open to the public.

  Amber Foster   Jul 18, 2017   Uncategorized   Comments Off on Choralfest 2017- The Wild, Wild West Read More

Alumni Update- Wyatt Wooten

Meet Wyatt Wooten. He’s our Alumni Update for this week. We asked him some questions about his time with FWCC and what he’s up to now.

1- When were you a part of the FWCC?

I was a member from 1985 to 1988

2- What is your favorite FWCC memory?

There were so many firsts for me during my time in the choir and so many things influenced and changed my life during that time.

During 85-86, it was the first time I traveled without another member of my family.  It was the first time, and so far the only time, that I went to Washington D.C.  The first time I traveled by plane, on Piedmont Airlines!  That’s dating me.  The first time I had Clam Chowder.  I saw and sang at the Kennedy Center and went to the Capitol Building.

During 86-87, it was the first time I traveled outside the country.  Just Canada, but still an experience.

Summer Tour 1988- Colorado

During 87-88, it was the first time at the Rocky Mountains and the first time I went to Pikes Peak.  The beauty of that place would make a lasting impression on me.

3- How did involvement with FWCC impact your life?

Before I joined the choir, I was a shy, introverted boy from a dysfunctional family who lived with my grandmother.  I kept to myself and had low self esteem and not many friends.  I already had a love for music and could sing pretty well.  The choir developed my music skills and helped me be a better singer.  But more importantly, with the three years I was in the choir, my self esteem and confidence grew.  My final year in the choir was also my junior year in high school.  I was old for the choir at that time, since it was long before the Youth Chorale was formed.  My senior year was my best year in high school, due mostly to the choir.  I knew I had value, which was hard for me to believe before I joined.  I was able to see outside my little universe and have new experiences that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Summer Tour 1988- Boys Town in Nebraska

4-  What are you doing now?

I am a test engineer for Harris Corporation.  Here in Fort Wayne, we build sensors for the environmental and weather satellite systems.  Needless to say, as a life-long  sci-fi geek, it is very cool to build things that go into space.

5- Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Mrs. Basse will always have a special place in my heart.  She helped this shy boy come out of his shell and believed that he could be something.  It may sound a little cliché, but it’s true.  My family didn’t have a lot of money, so either I was on a scholarship, or she may have contributed her own funds for my choir.

  Amber Foster   Jul 17, 2017   Uncategorized   Comments Off on Alumni Update- Wyatt Wooten Read More

Meet the Staff- Amber Foster

Photo: Andy Pauquette

Meet Amber Foster, FWCC’s Managing Director. A transplant from Illinois, Amber is a staunch advocate for our city and gives back by volunteering for a variety of organizations and causes. She earned a Master of Business Administration from Indiana Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University. She is also a freelance writer for whatzup Magazine, Visit Fort Wayne, and Northeast Indiana Public Radio. In 2010, she was named one of our community’s top 40 Under 40 and a Top 100 Connector in Northeast Indiana. Her most important role, however, is mother to her daughter Annabelle and her three dogs: Max, Lenora and Frankie.

1- How long have you been with FWCC? I joined the team in March of this year, making me the newest member of FWCC!

2- What do you like best about working with FWCC? From day one, I could tell FWCC was special. Everyone, from staff, to volunteers, to parents and singers refer to the organization as a family, and that permeates every aspect of this job.

3- What is your favorite FWCC memory? Since I have been here only a few months, I don’t have too many memories, but two moments really stick out. The first concert I attended was the Young Artist Concert this spring at First Wayne Street United Methodist Church. This concert featured Concert Choir, Youth Chorale and Chamber Singers. I was moved to tears by how beautiful they sounded in that space. Angelic is an appropriate word to describe it.

My second favorite memory was being a part of auditions in May. Nancy and I ran the parent information meetings, and I enjoyed meeting all the new parents and walking them through what they can expect should their child choose to join FWCC. Many people don’t realize that our music education program is second to none. We teach our singers to read music just as if they were reading a book. Mr. Busarow can hand them a piece of music and they can sing it without accompaniment. It’s quite astounding.

4- How would you describe the culture of FWCC? As I mentioned above, family! We truly are a family. We look out for each other and celebrate each other’s successes. We spend a lot of time with our singers and we walk alongside of them as they grow through our program. During my short time here, I have met so many singers and alumni who have shared their stories about how FWCC has impacted their lives. It is inspiring.

5- In your own words, why should a child consider joining FWCC? If your child likes to sing, this is the place for them. Not only will they learn to read music and refine their talent, they will make lifelong friends and development meaningful life skills that extend beyond the choir.

  Amber Foster   Jul 13, 2017   Uncategorized   Comments Off on Meet the Staff- Amber Foster Read More
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