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From the ICC to NASA

Allissa (Allie) Battocletti, ICC/IYC Alumna, 1997-2006

When I think back to growing up in Indianapolis, the first thing that comes to my mind are the years I spent in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. I know how much the ICC has shaped me into the person I am today, and I know this organization does and will have the same impact on many other young people.

From the moment I walked into my first day of the 1997 Choral Festival, I knew ICC was something I wanted to make a part of my life. Over the 9 years I spent in the ICC/IYC program, until I graduated in 2006, I received some of the best children’s choir training available, in vocal technique and music theory. But ICC gave me so much more than music training.

The life skills that I learned through ICC were just as, if not more, important than what ICC taught me about music. Sure, ICC helped foster a passion for music in me, which I still carry to this day. I spent my college years singing with the Purduettes, the Women’s Varsity Glee Club of Purdue University, and I sing today with the Houston Horizon Chorus of Sweet Adelines International.

But beyond music, the life skills I gained through ICC have directly contributed to the success I’ve had in my adult life. I would not have been as successful in my engineering education at Purdue University, or in my career at the NASA Johnson Space Center if it wasn’t for the valuable lessons I learned during my time in ICC. Starting at age 9, ICC taught me how to conduct myself in a professional manner, how to be organized, how to time-manage, and how to work as part of a team. ICC taught me about dedication, setting goals, and hard work. I learned about treating others with respect and accepting people from diverse background. The fact that I started learning all of these life skills at such a young age, because of ICC, is absolutely irreplaceable.

Perhaps most important of all, ICC has given me a community of friends – people I will share a lifelong bond with. To this day, my best friends are people I met through ICC. Someday my bridesmaids will be all of my “ICC girls.” When we all went to college, my close group of ICC friends scattered; today we live in different cities all across the country – from New York City to Chicago, Orlando to San Diego, to myself down in Houston. Yet our friendship is closer than ever. When I come home to Indianapolis for the holidays, my ICC friends are the first friends I want to see.

Traveling back to Indianapolis for Cheryl West’s memorial service, although such a sad circumstance, was also a beautiful example of the strength of the ICC community. Coming together to share this moment with decades of ICC/IYC singers, seeing how even though we may differ in age, we all share a common bond – made me even more proud to be a part of the ICC community and more passionate about actively supporting the program.

Even though I now live in Houston, I proudly display my ICC Alumni bumper sticker on my truck. Someday, even if I’m not living in Indianapolis, I hope to send my children to a Summer Choral Festival, so they, too, can have at least a brief experience of something that has been so integral and important to my life. No matter where I live, I will continue to give to ICC. I know ICC will have the same impact on countless lives for years to come, as ICC did for me. This impact has created a bond that the ICC community shares and extends to everyone who has ever been in the program.

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