Choir Community Mourning Loss of 'Mama West'

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Funeral arrangements are set for Wednesday for one of the directors of the Indianapolis Children's Choir. Cheryl Eisele West led the Indianapolis Youth Chorale for more than a decade. She also served as a faculty member with the Butler University Jordan College of Arts. West was 55. August 31, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - It is with deep sadness that the Indianapolis Children's Choir (ICC) announces the passing of one of its choir directors, Cheryl West, on Saturday, August 30. Ms. West was the director of the Indianapolis Youth Chorale, one of the ICC's high school-age choirs.

"Mama West," as her students affectionately called her, touched countless lives and was loved by many. She will be dearly missed.

The outpouring of love for Ms. West on social media has been tremendous, with over 300 comments expressing grief for her loss and celebration of her life.

"Stunned, saddened, heart broken," said one commenter. "What an amazing woman with so much talent and love for music. She's the kind of person who touches the hearts of young people in ways that only others could dream of."

Visitation will be on Wednesday, September 3, between 2:00pm and 4:00pm with Funeral services following from 4:00pm to 5:00pm at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

A photo and bio of Cheryl West can be found at:

A video of Cheryl West conducting the Indianapolis Youth Chorale can be found here:

Ms. West's official ICC bio follows:

Cheryl Eisele West is the director of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir’s (ICC) Indianapolis Youth Chorale, which consists of 90 auditioned singers from the surrounding area who perform both domestically and internationally.

In addition to her work with the ICC, West is a faculty member of the Butler University Jordan College of Arts and the University of Indianapolis where she presides in the areas of music education, choral conducting, student teaching supervision, studio piano and voice.

West's career has included concert tours of Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, five commissioned choral pieces and performance honors in the nation's capital, Carnegie Hall, Towne Hall, Sydney Australia, Westminster Cathedral, the Great Wall of China, St. Stephen's Cathedral, Salzburg's "Feuer & Stimme ChorFestival" and St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. West has also performed for the Indiana Music Educators Association state conventions in Indianapolis and Ft. Wayne, Indiana and the Central Division of the American Choral Directors Association in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Next spring, the Indianapolis Youth Chorale will be performing for the American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Dallas, Texas. They were selected from hundreds of applicants for this prestigious honor.

The National Bureau of Education and Research, the leading sponsor of specialized development training seminars for educators in the United States, contracted West in 2004 to be a consultant for their organization, traveling throughout the country presenting seminars in choral music to middle and high school music teachers. Through this organization, West has authored two choral resource handbooks, Current Best Strategies for Strengthening Your School Choral Program and Accelerating Success for your School Choral Music Program.

West continues to provide professional service to music educators and school administrators through professional development workshops for individual schools and school corporations. A frequent clinician, adjudicator, presenter and guest conductor for All-State Honor Choirs, Show Choir Camps of America, school music festivals, state music conventions, conferences, community and church choirs, West has been in more than 250 Midwest schools and continues to advocate for quality music education for every child.

Prior to her work with the ICC, West was the director of choral activities at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis for 20 years and served on the Indiana Music Educators Board for 16 years. She continues to arrange music for school choirs and area churches and directs New Song, the prestigious women's ensemble at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. West holds her bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from Indiana University.

West is on the board of directors for the Indiana Choral Director's Association where she serves as Membership Chair. She is a member of the Indiana Music Educators Association (IMEA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Indiana Choral Directors Association (ICDA), American Choral Directors (ACDA), and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity.

Currently in its 29th season, the Indianapolis Children's Choir has grown to become one of the largest children's choirs in the world. Founded by Artistic Director Henry Leck, the ICC serves over 3,000 central Indiana children from pre-school age through high school. The Indianapolis Children's Choir nurtures and inspires student achievement through quality music education and the pursuit of artistic excellence in choral music performance. To find out more, visit or call 317.940.9640.

Source: The Indianapolis Children's Choir