Jordan College of Fine Arts
School of Music

Henry Leck - Associate Professor

Profile Leck

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 choir.

"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 music textbooks.

"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 information.