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Children's choir founder taps protege

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Indianapolis Children's Choir founder Henry Leck has named protege Josh Pedde as the first assistant artistic director in the 25-year history of the not-for-profit organization.

The ICC, which works with about 2,500 children throughout the region, announced Pedde's appointment Friday.

"The artistic leadership and administration has grown so large, it’s really bigger than one person," Pedde said.  He added that Leck has no immediate plans to retire, but that the new role of assistant artistic director was created with the future in mind.

Pedde, 29, has been working with the ICC since he was a 19-year-old student at Butler University taking Leck's conducting course. He said he didn't know anything about the choir until Leck invited him to do some guest conducting.

"I was totally blown away by how large the organization was and how musical kids can be," Pedde said.

As Leck's assistant, Pedde will oversee the ICC's relatively new "Innovations" program, which offers free workshops to school choirs around the region. He'll continue as the primary conductor of Bel Canto, the ICC's second-most advanced choir.

The ICC's budget is about $1.5 million, and its young singers pay tuition to participate. Over the past 10 years, participation has grown from about 1,800 children to 2,500, or 39 percent. Pedde said that's largely because of the addition of preschool programs and beginner-level choirs in Avon, Carmel, Zionsville, Fishers, Center Grove and Lebanon.

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