BCA 10 honoree Classical Movements is driven by a love for music and the performing arts. The company arranges more than 50 concert tours per year for choirs, youth orchestras, and professional ensembles to more than 140 countries around the world. Yet, while working in nearly 145 countries across seven continents, during Classical Movements’ 25 years of business, India has remained a rare musical destination.
For Founder & President Neeta Helms, growing up in India she observed that there was a tiny population of people there who loved Western classical music. More recently, though, perhaps due to increased globalization and/or the larger number of Indians studying abroad, Helms came to realize that India’s interest in Western classical music has been steadily growing. In fact, the Shillong Chamber Choir, a Western-style singing group founded only in 2010, won top prize on the popular television competition India’s Got Talent.
Despite that ever-increasing number of music schools for children, in India today, there is no university course that teaches choral singing, or even a program to teach teachers how to teach choral music. “When I visited my homeland in December of 2015… I was struck by how many Indian singers were want for vocal training, desperately seeking skilled teachers to come and teach and conduct,” Helms shares.
January 2016, Classical Movements made a big announcement, calling for choral luminaries to go on retreat in India. In January 2017, Classical Movements has officially launched the India Choral Fellowship (ICF), featuring award-winning singer, conductor and educator Kevin Fox as its inaugural recipient engaging the cities of New Delhi Mumbai and Chennai.
With Classical Movements’ ICF, Helms hopes to help inspire future Indian musicians blend with the ancient traditions and forge a new horizon for classical music in India.
More stories on businesses using the arts to encourage diversity can be found in the pARTnership Movement essay “Embrace Diversity & Team Building”.
Want more on this topic from another corporate leader? Read “Diversity + Inclusion = A Winning Strategy” from Floyd W. Green, III, Vice President and head of Community Relations and Urban Marketing for Aetna, 2016 BCA Hall of Fame and 2011 BCA 10 honoree.
Photo: Headshot courtesy Classical Movements. Group photo courtesy Shillong Chamber Choir.