The Gift of Music and Quilts and a Quilt Finish!

It’s fun to finish a quilt, but it’s even more fun when you get to gift a finished quilt to someone you know will appreciate it. I had that privilege Sunday when I visited a rehearsal of the Indianapolis Youth Chorale (IYC)-- the high school mixed choir that’s a part of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir (ICC).

Henry Leck, the Artistic Director of the ICC, announced his retirement last year. I decided right then to make him something that I thought was worthy of the gift he has given our city—the gift of children singing. Naturally, I decided to make him a quilt.

My daughter Katerina was in ICC for ten years, and it has impacted her life in so many positive ways. She is now a freshman in college and is performing with the college choir and minoring in Music.

Katerina has sung since she was very little, often making up her own songs and musical melodies.

Her first musical composition was “Birds fly in the air…and ducks knock on the door…and ho, ho, ho, who that is? I don’t know, I fix chairs.” She was two years old as I recall, and she was playing in a little room in a quilt store with my husband while I shopped for quilting fabric. In the room was a wooden duck, a door to the outside that was closed off (not used) and a broken antique rocking chair. Inspired by what she saw she made up a song. Here is my daughter in all her glory, singing her famous duck song along with some others she composed.

The Indianapolis Children’s Choir showed Katerina how to take that natural talent and perfect it—they taught her how to read music, how to fine-tune her voice, and how to work as a team to perform the most difficult, breath-taking, lovely music.

She has toured with the choir to many places, including Ireland. Her best friends are mostly from the choir—friends that she would never have made otherwise because the Indianapolis Children's Choir is comprised of children from all over the city and state. At college, her best friends are also choir buddies and I know that music will always be an important part of her life. That’s the gift ICC gave my daughter.

Back to the quilt.

After the director of IYC died suddenly last year, Henry stepped in to help co-direct. It was a difficult year for the children, but one that ended up being very fulfilling when they performed at Carnegie as a featured choir (a dream of their original director, Cheryl).

Along the way there were tears, but also the choir that year formed a strong bond forged with music. I was inspired by one of the songs IYC performed last year to create this quilt, which I call “Stars for Cheryl’.

I used a photograph of Henry conducting IYC to create the applique at the bottom. When I quilted the quilt, I added the opening measures of the song. "Stars," in gold, just above the applique. It's hard to see in the photo, but here's a close up.

On the back, I added a photo label made up of photos I’d taken throughout the year. I also included a special care label I put on all my gift quilts so my friends will know how to take care of their quilts properly.

Not surprisingly, Henry loved his quilt. He told the choir that he plans to hang it in his music room in the home he’s building for his retirement. What a complement—to think he built a new house just for my quilt! <grin>

So tell me, do you have any gift quilts in progress?

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