Mark Ederle’s daughter, Elizabeth, was in 3rd grade when her music teacher encouraged her to participate in the ICC’s Choral Festival, a week long summer camp. He’ll never forget the moment that he first walked into Clowes Hall, amazed by what he heard. Though he’d barely recovered from chaperoning a rambunctious Boy Scout Camp, he suddenly felt energized by the music.
After this Choral Festival, Elizabeth became a faithful singer at the ICC. Mark told me about the growth he’s noticed in his daughter since then. He said “before, she was quiet and shy- now she wants to be a leader in her community.” This confidence is evident as she performs in theater productions at her high school. He thinks an integral part of this confidence comes from ICC’s large scale performance opportunities, where Elizabeth sings in front of 1200+ people.
It hasn’t always been easy for Elizabeth, though. She is young for her grade, so maintaining friendships can be difficult. One year, she had a particularly hard time because she was in a separate choir than her older peers. This situation turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as this allowed her to become close with Josh Pedde, ICC’s artistic director. Mr. Pedde mentored Elizabeth throughout the year, making it an incredibly positive experience. Elizabeth utilized the extra time in this younger choir, taking advantage of small group and solo performance opportunities. Mark said, “We think the world of Mr. Pedde.”
As a chaperone, he watched kids mature while touring through Italy. By the end he said, “the ones who’d initially looked tiny didn’t seem so young anymore”. They saw the David in Florence, the Leaning Tower in Pisa, and the Coliseum in Rome. He said that these tours are a huge part of what makes the ICC so special. It may not be easy to attend due to financial constraints or scheduling conflicts, but if there is any way to make it happen – it’s worth it, Mark says. Without the ICC, his daughter never would have sang in Carnegie Hall!
Aside from going on tours, Mark volunteers his time as a performance and choir coordinator. In these roles, he takes attendance, answers parents’ questions, and offers support to the director. He loves being around the kids in a rehearsal setting, and watching the shows slowly come together. “They exude confidence and joy” Mark said, “it’s not all about the music.”
by Emma Ahlert