Henry Leck - Associate Professor
Henry Leck isn't Catholic, but the first mass he ever conducted
was at the Vatican. And he's not Episcopalian, but the first
evensong he conducted was at Canterbury Cathedral.
"Sometimes," says Leck, an associate professor of music and
founder of the Indianapolis Children's Choir, "my opportunities
have been bigger than life."
They certainly started smaller than life - in a one-room
schoolhouse in northern Wisconsin, where there were never more than
14 students total in grades 1-8. The teacher there put on an annual
Christmas program, and every year young Henry sang a solo.
He went to college at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
intending to be an orchestra and choir director, and he earned
enough credits to teach. After completing his undergraduate work,
he conducted choirs and orchestras in Wisconsin, went to graduate
school at the University of Colorado, taught in Michigan and went
to Indiana University to work on his doctorate.
In 1986, Leck heard the Chicago Children's Choir and thought
Indianapolis needed a children's choir of its own. Around the same
time, Butler invited him to teach and conduct the university
"I thought I'd start my doctorate, conduct the university choir
and have the children's choir. My life would be in control," says
Leck, whose wife, Meredith, is a music teacher at Pike Central
Elementary School. (They have two grown daughters.)
He expected maybe 60 children to express interest in the choir.
But when more than 200 wanted to participate, and the numbers kept
growing, Leck gave up on his doctorate. Today, the Indianapolis
Children's Choir "is, I think, the largest children's choir program
in America, if not the world," with more than 1,750 children in 20
choirs. And Leck has his name on the Henry Leck Choral Series of
published musical arrangements, as well as a new series of choral
"I have never asked for people to hire me, I've never asked to
be invited places, but the doors just keep on opening and opening,"
Leck says. "I tell my students, 'You need to know my story, to know
that you never know where you're going to end up.'"
View Henry Leck's campus directory