Carmel teacher’s song honored at Carnegie Hall
By Dawn Pearson
Military brats never forget their fathers’ and mothers’ commitment to our country, and one local U.S. Air Force daughter was inspired enough to write a song about her father’s service.
Rooted deep in America pride, Carmel Elementary School music teacher Cindy Baney’s song “Honor” was even recently performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
“Honor” was written and arranged by Baney and was chosen for New York City’s Memorial Day Concert at Carnegie Hall in May. The New England Symphony and a 150-voice choir performed it.
And for Baney it was a milestone for her as a musician.
Her father, retired Lt. Col. Bill Ensign of the U.S. Air Force, was the main inspiration for the song as well as her father and all of our men and women serving our country.
“In 2003, Mayor (Jim) Brainard appointed my dad to chair a committee called the Carmel Clay Veterans Memorial Commission. He and some other former military officers were responsible for sending out a call for patriotic sculptures to be submitted for the future Carmel Clay Veterans Memorial at Freedom Circle in Carmel,” Baney said. “In addition, they were to raise the funds to erect the monument chosen and it occurred to me that I could write a song as a tribute to my dad and all other military people that depicted childhood memories I had of my dad leaving for his time on active duty.”
As a little girl, she vividly remembers standing on the back porch with her mom and siblings, watching him wave goodbye to them as he would leave.
“The soaring theme represents one of his tasks, which was supervising the refueling of jets midair,” Baney said.
“My goal in writing the song was to both thank and give honor to all veterans with a dual purpose of also educating my students about the one thing that they can do at this point in their lives, which is to be gratefully aware of the protection provided by our past and present soldiers that they live under,” she said. “I wanted to put the words to say into their mouths, so they could be ready to speak them as well.”
Baney said that she loves her job at Carmel Elementary School and she’s thankful that the school has been active in serving military veterans through its annual Veterans Day programs. They feature performances by the entire school and the fourth grade choir. The choir also sings at the City of Carmel Veterans Day Program.
The road to Carnegie Hall
“It began with making an initial CD of patriotic songs, first in 2003 and the next one in 2009. It was a low budget thing, where I pre-recorded all instrumental tracks at Roger Baker’s Toyland Studios and the choir then took a field trip to Aire Born Studios where we recorded the songs in as few takes as possible.” Baney said. “Not an easy task with eighty 9- and 10-year-olds!”
The CDs were given as a gift to many veterans, with 500 given to the Veterans Memorial Commission, Baney said.
That was how commission member Col. Bob Book, a former U.S. Marine came to hear “Honor.”
As patrons of the Carmel Symphony Orchestra, Col. Book and his wife, Jeannie, played the recording for conductor David Bowden, who commissioned a full orchestral arrangement of the song.
The choral and orchestral version premiered on Nov. 9, 2012, at the Palladium, with Carmel Elementary School and Creekside Middle School students accompanied by the CSO. And it was performed again in May of 2013, by the Columbus Children’s Choir (under the direction of Ruth Dwyer) and the Columbus Philharmonic.
“Ruth Dwyer is one of the main conductors of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, and her father was also a military veteran – one of the founders of Grissom Air Force Base, actually,” Baney said. “She is the one who selected the song to be sung by at Carnegie Hall by a 150-voice choir and the New England Symphony.”
To hear the song visit http://vimeo.com/62813543.