Enjoying the songs of the season

The sounds of the season will reverberate inside some of Indianapolis’ most hallowed performance places this year.

“White Christmas” and “O Come All Ye Faithful” will fill the grandeur of the Scottish Rite Cathedral. Crowds will pack the Palladium in Carmel to hear the “Hallelujah Chorus” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir plans to show its holiday spirit in a wave of song.

“It’s a Christmas celebration, with a lot of holiday music that every one knows,” said Emily Bertram, a Franklin resident.

Bertram’s will be one of more than 150 voices rising in central Indiana during this year’s Festival of Carols. The annual performance by the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir will feature classic carols, singalongs and less-widely-known selections that reflect all types of holiday music.

Joined by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and guest soprano Maria Jette, the choir hopes to offer a wide range of songs that everyone will enjoy.

“It really runs the gamut of the types of music you’ll hear,” Bertram said. “You have the fun songs that you include the audience in and the familiar carols that highlight the orchestral music and some of these new pieces that will touch people in the audience with what they haven’t heard before.”

This will be Bertram’s first Festival of Carols with the choir. Another Franklin resident, Suellen Williams, will be taking part in the holiday event for the third time.

Bertram was exposed to performing at a young age. Her mother is a church musician and trained pianist, who introduced her to music early, and she has participated in choirs throughout school and college.

As an adult, she has sought out volunteer singing opportunities, such as the symphonic choir.

“I can’t remember a time when I was wasn’t singing,” she said. “It’s a part of me, and something I enjoy having as a hobby.”

The choir has been rehearsing for the performance for weeks. Every Tuesday, Bertram and her fellow members meet at Butler University to go over the lineup of holidays classics to prepare for the Dec. 7 opening night.

Bertram is anticipating the chance to sing in such a large show and has enjoyed the chance to sing the Christmas songs she grew up loving. The experience also allowed her to learn new selections, including the “Lullaby Carol,” a beautiful religious-focused song that has impressed her.

The opportunity has been made even more special with help from the other skilled singers in the choir.

“This is the biggest ensemble I’ve sang with, outside of university class choirs,” Bertram said. “It’s high-caliber, with excellent skill among all of the members of the group.”

If you go

Festival of Carols

Who: Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra


  • 7 p.m. Dec. 7, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 650 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis
  • 8 p.m. Dec. 20, The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts, 1 Center Green, Carmel
  • 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 21, The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets: $20 to $35 for the Dec. 7 show; $20 to $38 for the Dec. 20 and 21 shows.

Information: indychoir.org

Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.