Chelsea Hoyt talks about her time in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir and how it impacted her life! Read on to learn more…
Q: How have the experiences you had in the ICC helped shaped the purpose of your life and goals?
A: Being in the ICC taught me discipline and it taught me to be a part of a team. It taught me how to work with people very different than me and how to set goals. All these things taught me how to be a better nurse. You have to be willing to work with people. Those skills translated well in both being a nurse and in being a better mom. I never wanted to play sports, so if I hadn’t done the ICC, I don’t know how else I would have acquired those skills.
Q: If you could offer words of wisdom to a young student looking to join the ICC, what would you say?
A: ICC is teaching you skills you cannot replace. You learn how to memorize songs, which helps you academically. Learning to read music helps you with math. Being disciplined makes you a better employee. Getting used to dressing up and presenting yourself in front of large crowds helps you do better in an interview. Not to mention the friendships and traveling that gives you invaluable exposure to diverse religions and cultures.
Q: Tell us about a moment in your ICC experience that changed the way you see things (or people).
A: It was my first performance with IYC and Mrs. Cheryl West. We were singing “Awake,” a song which describes a world of silence, no praise or worship. It’s quite a dark idea. Then, at the high point of the song, we sing, “Awake! Awake my soul and sing! The time for praise has come!” Mrs. West had tears in her eyes as she conducted, and I couldn’t help but cry, too. It was the first time I understood why so many religions of the world (mine included) sing. What an awful world would this be without song?
Q: What would you say the ICC meant to you during your time in it?
A: At first, it was my way of being a part of a team and learning to work with others. I grew up in an area that was not very diverse. But when I went to the ICC, I met people from every walk of life. And when I kept coming back year after year, it became my outlet. The ICC became a place full of mentors, friends, and eventually another way I worshipped.
Q: What was your time like with Cheryl West? Who was she to you?
A: Cheryl West was the first person to ever look at me and say, “You can do better.” She pointed at me and told me I can do better than that. At first, I was embarrassed and angry, but I never showed up to rehearsal and didn’t give it my all again. She believed in me enough to discipline me in a loving way. She valued us more than other adults, in a motherly way – so we all ended up calling her “mama.” Even though she was hard on us, we always knew it was because she cared.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to say about the ICC and how it has shaped you as a person?
A: If I hadn’t been in the ICC, I don’t know who would have stood beside me on my wedding day. That choir has a way of bringing together the best people in the state of Indiana and capturing their hearts and making them better people. Every child should have the opportunity to be a part of something like that.
The ICC has impacted Chelsea’s life, and the lives of many like her, beyond measures, and that impact has branched into every facet of life – from being a team member, to working with people with different backgrounds, and to being a better family member.