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Director and Composer on Creating KENNEDY
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6 COVER STORY
Director and Composer Ashton Gleckman on Creating “Kennedy” This month, Carmel Monthly is pleased to feature Carmel resident Ashton Gleckman on the cover. We have published previous articles over the years on Gleckman’s work as an award-winning director and gifted composer, and now we are honored to discuss Gleckman’s eight-part docuseries “Kennedy.” The docuseries chronicles the life, leadership and legacy of the youngest U.S. president elected to office and features interviews with Conan O’Brien, members of the Kennedy family and several individuals who were intimately involved in John F. Kennedy’s life and/or administration during his presidency. Gleckman, who directed, edited, co-scored and produced the docuseries, worked closely with the documentary film company Drew Associates to include excerpts from the groundbreaking films of documentarian Robert Drew. “Kennedy” is set to premiere Saturday, November 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT with three back-to-back one-hour episodes. The following three episodes air Sunday, November 19 and the final two air Monday, November 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Cover Story Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photo // Laura Arick
10 Center Presents: Jon McLaughlin & Friends: Home for the Holidays 12 Carmel Symphony Orchestra Promises Exceptional Concerts This
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14 Civic Theatre Presents: “Elf the Musical” 18 A Letter from Mayor Jim Brainard to Carmel Constituents 20 The City of Carmel: An Overview of a Decade of Growth and
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Director and Composer
ASHTON GLECKMAN on Creating “Kennedy” Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Laura Arick and Blackbird Pictures
This month, Carmel Monthly is pleased to feature Carmel resident Ashton Gleckman on the cover. We have published previous articles over the years on Gleckman’s work as an award-winning director and gifted composer, and now we are honored to discuss Gleckman’s eight-part docuseries “Kennedy.”
arking 60 years since JFK’s assassination, “Kennedy” is set to premiere Saturday, November 18 at 8 p.m. ET/ PT with three back-to-back one-hour episodes. The following three episodes air Sunday, November 19 and the final two air Monday, November 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. “Kennedy” was made possible by the collaborative talents of Blackbird Pictures [Gleckman’s production company] and Academy Award®-winning production company RadicalMedia and is narrated by Peter Coyote. The docuseries chronicles the life, leadership and legacy of the
youngest U.S. president elected to office and features interviews with Conan O’Brien, members of the Kennedy family and several individuals who were intimately involved in John F. Kennedy’s life and/or administration during his presidency. Gleckman, who directed, edited, coscored and produced the docuseries, worked closely with the documentary film company Drew Associates to include excerpts from the groundbreaking films of documentarian Robert Drew. The series also utilizes extensive resources from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library archives and many other sources to weave
together this compelling narrative of JFK as an influential figure in American history.
THE GENESIS OF THE PROJECT At 14 years old, Gleckman developed a passion for film scoring and composition that led to a remarkable series of projects. In 2018, he even caught the attention of Academy Award®-winning composer Hans Zimmer (“Gladiator”), who dubbed him the “boy with bat ears” and offered him a job. In 2019, Gleckman embarked on his directorial debut with the release of “We Shall Not Die Now,” a feature-length Ho-
locaust documentary that premiered at the Heartland International Film Festival. Following its success, his sophomore film, “The Hills I Call Home,” is an intimate profile about a small town in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. Gleckman, now 23, is set to premiere his third project with “Kennedy.” When we sat down with Gleckman to discuss the project in detail, we began the conversation with “why?” Why JFK, and why did Gleckman feel that the 35th president’s life was an important subject for him to explore as a young documentarian? “One of the things that I’m grateful for is that my parents introduced me to cinema at a very early age,” Gleckman shared. “What I mean by ‘cinema’ is classic historical films, and as a result, I grew up reading about and loving history. I have a connection with the subject of World War II and the Holocaust because my great-uncle was one of the liberators in one of the [concentration] camps. Since an early age, I’ve been interested in history and how events throughout the years have led us to where we are now.” Gleckman’s interest in JFK stems from his early education and a fascination with the late president’s iconic speeches. “’Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,’” Gleckman reflected. “Those words have always stuck with me as I’ve progressed in my career. I had just finished my second film and was looking for subjects that fascinated me. The more I have sunk into the history of JFK, the more I realized it’s a story that really is the American story. JFK was a guy born in 1917 and lived a relatively short life — 46 years. But he accomplished so much, and he inspired an entire generation through his speeches and oratory gift. He was struck
down before he could do more. What I wanted to do with this series was to step away from Dallas and step away from the assassination and conspiracies. I wanted to focus on Jack Kennedy the man. This good-looking, charismatic, well-spoken, reckless but fascinating, brilliant individual who, to this day, is a bit of an enigma. We still don’t totally understand him, and I tried my best [with this docuseries] to really get into his mind. Why remember JFK? His is a great story that tells us what public service means, and in a world today where we are increasingly disillusioned with the state of affairs, it’s a story I think we need.”
A COMMITMENT TO TELLING JFK’S STORY For the last three years, Gleckman poured himself into books written about JFK, researched artifacts via the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and conducted more than 80 interviews with members of the Kennedy family, the Kennedy administration and historians to best chronicle the life and legacy of JFK. Gleckman and his crew, comprised of only three people, traveled to 25 states and spent time in locations that were important to JFK’s personal and political life stories. “I think one of the coolest moments was to be in Hyannis Port [Massachusetts], where we filmed a couple of interviews,” Gleckman said. “The ‘Ambassador’s’ house
looks the same, basically. That’s the big home that people have seen in photographs where JFK is playing football on the lawn with his siblings. It was an amazing experience.” Gleckman had unprecedented access to several first-hand sources that include ‘Agent Number 9’ Clint Hill, a legendary former Secret Service agent who served in Kennedy’s administration and four other U.S. presidents’ administrations. Hill is known for his act of bravery on November 22, 1963 — shielding Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy and the fatally wounded president with his body as the car raced to Parkland Memorial Hospital. “I was able to interview [Hill], who is 91, and had the amazing privilege of filming him for 16 hours in California,” Gleckman said. “That’s the next film that I’m working on and am close to finishing filming. We hope to have a film festival run with ‘Agent Number 9’ beginning in 2024. That’s the goal.” When asked about meeting and interviewing Conan O’Brien, Gleckman shared, “Conan is a former board member for the JFK Library Foundation. He’s a lovely person who was excited to talk about JFK. I think he feels a lot of connections to the story, having gone to Harvard University, been born in Boston, and, of course, coming from the Irish Catholic heritage. He naturally feels a kinship to Jack Kennedy.” Gleckman added, “There was a moment in the middle of the Conan interview when we were sitting in his studio and I thought to myself, ‘I’m interviewing Conan O’Brien! What am I doing here?’ It suddenly felt like I was in a dream. And then there was this funny moment where, in the middle of filming, Conan paused and suddenly said, ‘You know, I’ve never had to card a documentarian before.’ He was, of course, referring to my age.”
SUCCESS STEMS FROM SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT The brilliance of Gleckman’s star has only begun to shine. Though, he humbly acknowledged that it is with the support of his family, friends, colleagues and community that he has reached extraordinary heights so early on in his career as a filmmaker and composer.
Gleckman also expressed his gratitude for The HISTORY® Channel’s interest and support in this docuseries. “Kennedy” is produced for The HISTORY® Channel by RadicalMedia in association with Blackbird Pictures and Drew Associates Inc. Jon Kamen and Dave Sirulnick serve as executive producers for RadicalMedia. Ashton Gleckman serves as producer for Blackbird
Pictures. Eli Lehrer, Mary E. Donahue and Zachary G. Behr serve as executive producers for The HISTORY® Channel. “I was very fortunate to partner with [executive producers] Jon Kamen and Dave Sirulnick,” Gleckman stated. “Their production company is a remarkable Oscar®-winning documentary production company [RadicalMedia], and I was fortu-
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nate to meet these really great and, most importantly, very experienced people that have this steep history in making docs and in distributing them.” Gleckman continued, “Literally, everything I’ve done is because my parents not only supported it — they encouraged every idea that I’ve ever had. It’s a lot of fun to include my family in the journey, and when there are a lot of tiresome, very anxious days combing through 170-plus hours of footage and I need to decompress, I take walks, get fresh air and spend time with my family. That’s how I do it.” A screening of “Kennedy” will take place on November 13 at the Paley Center and will include notable guests such as Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the late Robert F. Kennedy’s daughter. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights to “Kennedy.” The series will stream the next day on The HISTORY® Channel app and history.com and will be available to own wherever you purchase your favorite series. For more information, please visit: https://www.history. com/shows/kennedy
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JON MCLAUGHLIN & FRIENDS: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS THE PALLADIUM // FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8, 8 P.M. ET
Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of the Center
Hoosier-born singer-songwriter Jon McLaughlin will perform original Christmas tunes as well as holiday classics alongside some of his talented friends. The Anderson native has been attracting fans with his heartfelt, hook-filled songwriting and impassioned delivery since his 2007 debut album “Indiana.” He has released several full-length albums in the years since and revealed a true evolution in both his piano playing and singing. McLaughlin has played shows with Billy Joel, Kelly Clarkson and Adele, collaborated with longtime friend Sara Bareilles, co-wrote with Demi Lovato, and even performed at the Academy Awards. Joining McLaughlin for the show will be Leah Marlene, Kris Allen, Sarah Scharbrough and Ryan Ahlwardt. Purchase your tickets before they’re sold out at thecenterpresents.org.
Janelle Morrison: I’m excited to give some love and celebrate some Hoosier talent! Going back to your early years, I read that you began playing at age four or five. Jon McLaughlin: Yep, I’m from Anderson, Indiana — “A-Town” as we call it. I started playing really young. I’m the youngest of three and my family’s very musical on my dad’s side — everybody can play at least one instrument. So, music was always in my house, and my dad was in a band. He met my mom while on tour with his band at one of their shows. There was a piano in our house, and one day after church, I sat at the piano and was sounding out “Amazing Grace” and then my parents set me up with lessons. JM: At what point did you get into songwriting? McLaughlin: I didn’t start writing music until I got into college — while attending Anderson University. I studied classi-
cal piano there with Dr. Randy Frieling, an awesome professor, and that’s what I was doing most of the time up in the practice room — writing songs. If there was any kind of coffee shop “thing” happening on
campus, I would play, and anywhere on campus. And then I started to branch out and was playing down at IU and over at Ball State a little bit. Right after college, I signed with a record label and it went on from there. That was 18 years ago, and my life pretty much looks the same, with the exception that I’m married and have kids — two girls, ages eight and ten! JM: Wow, those are fun ages! McLaughlin: They really are fun ages! My oldest is actually turning 11 the day after this show in Carmel. Maybe we’ll do a little birthday shout-out for her. JM: Absolutely, I think you should! So, last year was the 15th anniversary of your album “Indiana,” and with the events of the last several weeks, I was thinking about your song “Human.” You sing a lyric “hurting instead of healing” and it made me think that this is something that we [humans] are perpetually doing. I think it’s interesting how your song still resonates with people 15 to 16 years later. And I love your insightfulness as you write. It’s a sign of a really great songwriter. McLaughlin: Thank you … that’s very kind. I think the arts help us metabolize and process the world. There’s something cathartic about making music. To this day,
it helps me stay sane, and I think you can’t overstate the importance of the arts to everyone. It bleeds into everything: books, music, visual arts, all of that kind of stuff. The arts are like medicine — and everyone needs a dose. JM: I read that Ben Folds is one of your major influences in addition to Elton John and Billy Joel. McLaughlin: I grew up listening to Elton, Billy, Harry Connick, Jr. and a list of other guys. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know these musicians. But I can literally remember the moment I heard Ben Folds Five for the first time. This sounds hyperbolic, but it changed my life — there was a shift in the world. I had never heard a piano being played like that! I mean, I hear this band, Ben Folds Five, being played on X103 FM [currently ALT 103.3 FM], and back then, X103 was playing Stone Temple Pilots and stuff like that. It was the station that you turned down when your parents came into the room. And this piano player [Ben Folds] was being played on that station! I was
like, “Cool!” I’ve been listening to a steady IV drip of Ben Folds ever since, and he’s inspired me as a piano player. The depth of his musicianship has been a huge influence! JM: You’ve performed with Ryan Ahlwardt (of the group Straight No Chaser) before, but share with us how you two connected. And a few words about your other guest singers who will be joining you at the Palladium, if you don’t mind? McLaughlin: I was doing WZPL’s Jingle Jam in 2008 with Straight No Chaser [and] Plain White Ts at the Egyptian Room in Indianapolis. That was the first time I’d seen a legit acapella group. Eight or nine years later, I ended up on the road with them and Postmodern Jukebox. It was a pretty long tour and I got to know those guys. They’re great, and their show is great. We’re actually managed by the same management team now. I did a Christmas show at the Egyptian Room in 2019 and Ryan came and did a song. It was one of the highlights of the night. Leah Marlene, I’m just a big fan of hers.
I think she’s really awesome and she’s from Illinois, so just a neighbor over. Kris Allen joined our 15th-anniversary “Indiana” tour last year and we did a couple of shows at the Tarkington. He obviously has a great voice — you can’t win “American Idol” without a great voice — it’s so good! He and I are going to do a duet, and then my sister-in-law, Sarah Scharbrough, is a fantastic jazz pianist and singer. She does like a zillion nights at the Jazz Kitchen [Indianapolis], and every other year, I’ve shared a stage with her many times. I’m pumped to hear her on the Palladium stage, though she has played that stage before with the [Carmel] Symphony Orchestra. I’ve never played this room before, and it’s a room that I’ve wanted to play for years so I’m going to be like a kid on Christmas morning that whole evening, not wanting it to ever end! JM: Hopefully, you’ll love it so much that you’ll want to come back and make it an annual tradition with us! McLaughlin: That’s the plan!
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Masterworks 2 The Palladium // Saturday, Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m. ET Holiday Pops The Palladium // Sunday, Dec. 10 – 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Dec. 10 – 7 p.m. ET
CARMEL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Promises Exceptional Concerts This Holiday Season! Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of CSO and Tyler Core
he holiday season will soon be upon us, and the Carmel Symphony Orchestra is full speed ahead with preparations for two of its most anticipated concerts: Masterworks 2 and Holiday Pops! CSO’s regular patrons already know the tickets for these concerts sell quickly, so don’t wait to purchase your tickets at thecenterpresents.org. I had the honor of speaking with the two guest conductors, David Commanday and Paul Langford, who will be joining CSO’s exceptional musicians for these upcoming concerts. Additionally, I spoke with CSO Executive Director Anne Marie Chastain about the guest artists who will be performing with CSO and her wish to build community through the symphony this holiday season.
A PROGRAM THAT PROMOTES UNITY AND HONORS OUR VETERANS
The Masterworks 2 concert will be a powerful program featuring an evocative performance of Valerie Coleman’s “Umoja, Anthem of Unity.” This CSO performance will weave together intricate melodies and
rhythms inspired by African and African-American musical traditions, creating a celebration of unity and cultural richness. Following that will be the graceful melodies by Maurice Ravel’s “Tombeau de Couperin” and Charles Ives’s “Variations on America.” CSO symphony musicians will tackle this innovative and daring exploration of the American national anthem. With its surprising twists and turns, Ives challenges the conventional boundaries of orchestral music. Lastly, the program will delve into William Grant Still’s groundbreaking “Afro-American Symphony, No. 1.” This pioneering work, the first symphony by an African-American composer to be performed by a major orchestra, exudes a profound sense of pride and identity. Its blend of African-American folk themes with European classical forms showcases the rich cultural tapestry of America. “We want to provide the audience with an amazing artistic and emotional experience when they come to hear CSO,” Chastain expressed. “Our Veteran’s Day concert [November 11] is an annual performance that is very popular, and this year,
we have added a new piece to the program in partnership with the Great American Songbook Foundation. Guest artist J’lan Stewart was one of the students who participated in the 2023 Songbook Academy and is from Kokomo, Indiana.” Chastain shared that Stewart will be singing “The Impossible Dream.” “That’s kind of the promise of America,” Chastain stated. “To support young people with a dream and the veterans who fought for freedom so that people can live their lives and express themselves [freely]. I feel like supporting an Indiana artist who went through the Songbook Foundation and will be singing with the orchestra is something to celebrate in our community.” J’lan Stewart shared that he is currently studying musical theater and human services at Ivy Tech Community College. He plans on becoming a professional singer and actor. “My greatest goal is to become an inspiring person that people look up to in the world,” Stewart said. “I would like to give thanks to God, who is the head of my life, along with my mother. I would like to say, ‘There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.’” Joining the CSO for the Masterworks 2 concert will be guest conductor David Commanday, who conducted CSO’s opening concert of the current season. Renowned on three continents, Commanday is known for having a vital connection with musicians and audiences. Currently, Commanday is Artistic Director and Conductor of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, Director of Orchestral Activities and Instructor of Cello at Eastern Illinois University, and Music Director of Youth Music Illinois. A graduate of Harvard University, the cellist was a principal at Tanglewood under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, Seikji Ozawa and Aaron Copeland. He has held faculty positions at Harvard University, Boston University and MIT and is currently an artist in residence and on the adjunct faculty at Eureka College. He also founded the
Eureka College Summer Arts Festival, now in its fourth year, and directs a prestigious chamber music series on campus. “The [Carmel] orchestra is playing wonderfully,” Commanday said. “I truly appreciate the spirit of this [Veteran’s Day] program and the meaning of it at this time. We always need to honor our veterans because of all that they do, give and risk. Music, of course, is a great medium for the expression of the sometimes unspoken things … and deep sentiments. This program is actually a love letter to America and has a theme of unity.” Commanday added, “The [Carmel] Symphony is delightful and I’m excited about how this [program] will all come together as an experience for the audience. Every concert is an adventure, just as every piece is a journey. When you combine them into a concert experience, you’re making something that unique, and I think this program will delight and reward the audience.”
CELEBRATING COMMUNITY WITH THE HOLIDAY POPS CONCERT
At this year’s CSO Holiday Pops concert, get ready to be enchanted by the talents of Ben Davis, Amelia Wray, the Indiana
Ballet Conservatory and the Second Presbyterian Choir. Special guest Mayor Jim Brainard will also be accompanying the CSO French horn musicians. The concert will be led by guest conductor Paul Langford. A Chicago-based singer, arranger, keyboardist, producer and conductor, Langford has a career that spans over 25 years. His works have been performed by vocal and instrumental groups all over the world, including The Chicagoland Pops, West Michigan Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Voices of Liberty, GLAD, Willow Creek Community Church, multiple Disney parks and many orchestras around the nation. He has been a vocal and piano guest artist in studio and live performances with several headline and Grammy Award-winning artists, and he’s been honored to perform for former President Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama. Langford is an in-demand music educator, clinician, guest conductor, respected band and vocal ensemble leader, and invited singer with orchestras and a cappella groups across the globe. “It is interesting, the last time I [guest-conducted] this orchestra was
during the pandemic,” Langford recalled. “We were on stage, but there was no audience. We were live-streaming, and it was so strange to be performing to an empty room. I am looking forward to having appreciative people in the seats enjoying the music … it’s going to be great. [The Palladium] is an incredible venue that is visually appealing and beautiful-sounding. It’s a darn near-perfect venue, in my experience. For performers and audience members alike, it’s an aesthetically thrilling experience. Whoever was involved in building and designing this place did a great job!” Langford concluded, “The [Holiday Pops] program has a tremendous variety of music. There’s a lot of classic Christmas music like ‘Sleigh Ride’ by Leroy Anderson and ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ by one of our guest singers, Amelia Ray. ‘You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ will be sung by another guest soloist, Ben Davis. The variety is a mixture of old and new, and it’s going to be changing every four minutes so it will be really entertaining and exciting! There’s something for everybody in the show.”
CARMEL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA HOLIDAY POPS
FEA TU R IN G: SUNDAY DECEMBER 10, 2023 3:00 PM | 7:00 PM B EN D A V IS A M ELIA W R A Y IN D IA N A B A LLET C O N S ER V A TO R Y S EC O N D P R ES B Y TER IA N C H O IR
GU ES T C O N D U C TO R P A U L LA N GFO R D
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“Elf the Musical” Civic Theatre Presents:
Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Joshua Hasting Photography and Civic
Based on the cherished 2003 New Line Cinema hit, “Elf” features songs by Tony Award nominees, Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (“Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway,” “The Wedding Singer”), with a book by Tony Award winners, Thomas Meehan (“Annie,” “The Producers,” “Hairspray”) and Bob Martin (“The Drowsy Chaperone”).
uddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh realities that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. Don’t miss out on this exhilarating holiday tradition. Get your tickets at thecenterpresents.org!
JOHN GOODSON — DIRECTOR Elf’s been done a couple of times here at Civic now. We get to kind of put a little different spin on it, so it won’t be exactly the same show as before as it’s coming
from a different lens and from a different director. Anne [Beck] and Brent [Marty] are still bringing all their expertise, so some things will look and sound familiar, but we’re switching things up. I try to come in with a fresh set of eyes, and we’ve got some folks that are new and some that are now in different roles. But they’re all really awesome people that I’m excited that I get to work with. I hope the audience will laugh, have a good time, and leave with a little wonderment and a reminder of what it’s like to be a kid! I would say it’s important to remember the traditions [of the season] but to also create some new ones!
BRETT EDWARDS — BUDDY This is a role that I’ve kind of had circled … whatever chance I got to do this role, I was going to take it. I partially feel excitement but also a responsibility to not just the cast and director but to this role. There’s a sense of responsibility I have to make sure that I
put in all of my effort and to be prepared and ready. This is a movie that my family and I have watched every Thanksgiving, so to play the role [of Buddy] is a real exciting moment for myself and for my family as well! It is my first show here at Civic — I’m one of the fresh newbie actors here, and I’m just getting the feel of not just the show but for Civic as well. I definitely feel this is probably the most physically demanding [role] from a vocal and choreography standpoint. The choreography level is elevated here, and to be able to rise to that has been an exciting challenge so far.
NINA STILABOWER — EMILY HOBBS I was Deb in the 2021 version [of “Elf”], so having the chance to step into the shoes of Emily has been a cool challenge. Having done this show before, I’m very familiar with the content and flow of the show, and while it’s not the same choreography — it’s a bit different — the dialogue and music are always going to
be the same. So, it’s kind of like slipping back into a shoe … it’s just comfortable, and I know what’s in store for us these next couple of months. I think getting to do something different and stretch my acting muscles a bit in a different way is really exciting. And I’m excited to bring that to “Elf” 3.0 in 2023! It’s amazing to see the excitement that has built in just the first few weeks of rehearsals from the top down. Anne, Brent, John, Brett and the rest of the cast … we’re all in this together to put on a great show and have an awesome holiday season. We experience this sort of universal beauty together in one room, and every show is special. I think that’s the joy of being part of a holiday show here at Civic.
JACK TANSELLE — WALTER HOBBS I get to play the role of the person who’s the last one to “get it.” We only get full circle when I finally get there, in my role. So, while my role isn’t nearly
as active or energetic as the other roles, there’s something kind of fun about being that sort of capstone at the end. Where Walter finally comes around and figures it out. I was in this shoe two years ago, and it was the first time I had gotten back on stage in 23 years. My daughter grew up here [Civic]. It was at the fundraising event earlier that summer that somebody randomly said that I should audition with her [Tanselle’s daughter] for “Elf.” So, the last time I did it, there was something personal about it for me. This time around, I’m doing it because it’s a lot of fun, but there’s this other piece … for all that Civic has given to my family and especially my daughter, a place to learn how to show up and learn how to act, sing and dance, I feel compelled to give back to Civic in whatever small way I can. Civic’s leadership is just loaded with immense talent who cares deeply about the arts. If I can be a small piece playing a role in one of the shows as a way of contributing and giving back to Civic … that’s an easy ask, in my opinion.
THOMAS MEEHAN & BOB MARTIN
Buddy – Brett Edwards Jovie – Maggie Lengerich Walter Hobbs – Jack Tanselle Emily Hobbs – Nina Stilabower Michael Hobbs – Jack McNally Santa – Parrish Williams Deb – Nicolette Mantica Macy’s Manager – Jonathan Studdard Mr. Greenway – Joe Beck Chadwick – Jacob Smitherman Matthews – Sydnie Blair Sam– Luke Robinson Tiara – Amelia Schoeff
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I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the unwavering support and dedication of all those who participated in the development and redevelopment of our city over the past 28 years. We embarked on a remarkable journey together, which transformed our exceptional city. There have been so many of you that have been instrumental in evolving this community into the thriving, vibrant and prosperous place it is today. First and foremost, I want to thank members of my administration, past and present, who have tirelessly worked day in and day out to make our city a better place for all its residents. Your commitment, dedication and passion have been the driving force behind the progress we’ve witnessed. Together, we have faced countless challenges and celebrated numerous achievements. Your hard work has shaped our city’s landscape and touched the lives of every individual who calls Carmel home. As I reflect on these 28 years, there are specific points of growth and accomplishments that made significant positive impacts on our community and helped establish our high quality of life and unique characteristics. Some of those moments include creating a walkable community, building a downtown, focusing on the arts and building a world-class performing arts center, creating a roundabout network with the transformational Keystone Parkway, and making sure that we had the streets, utilities and safety services in order to stay ahead of our growth. However, it’s essential to remember that none of this would have been possible without the unwavering support of our community. To our constituents, the beating heart of our city, I extend my heartfelt thanks. Your trust, patience and collaboration have been the pillars upon which our accomplishments have been built. We have listened to your voices, your concerns, and your dreams for a better future, and we have strived to turn those dreams into a reality. I can’t help but think back to January of 1995 when my first campaign began and we embarked on this adventure — knocking on doors every night, listening to the concerns, hopes and dreams of our fellow citizens. Many of you who are still with us today shared your vision of a city with a bustling downtown, and we took your words to heart. It was through your voices that we understood the need for change, for growth, and for progress.
It became clear early on that transformation on a community-wide scale was a delicate balance, requiring us to continuously analyze what the people wanted and what they didn’t. We constantly evaluated the needs of our city, adjusted to the changing local, national and international landscapes, and adapted to the ever-evolving times. Through recessions and a pandemic that could have shuttered many other places, we stood strong and resilient. Our diverse corporate partners allowed us to stay strong as other communities with singular industry focus suffered. Our dedication to public safety has always been our foremost priority. We recognize that before a city can focus on anything else, its basic goal must be the safety of its residents. This served us well through difficult times. Our commitment to clean streets, a dependable transportation system, and a robust public education system has set the stage for our economic development. These factors have allowed us to attract over 150 corporate headquarters of regional, national and international significance. We’ve created a thriving downtown with mixed-use spaces, high architectural standards, and a focus on creating a high quality of life for our residents. When we set out to build a downtown for our city, the challenge was significant. In 1997, we announced the City Center [project] as we stood in an empty field. The Old Town section of Carmel was in a state of decline, but we revitalized it through public-private partnerships, investing in infrastructure, and making it pedestrian-friendly. Our approach to city building has been different, designed for people, not just cars. We’ve embraced roundabouts, making our roads safer and more efficient, saving millions of dollars in the process. We’ve reduced the number of lanes on Range Line Road, yet trip times have remained consistent, thanks to these modern intersections. Our financial stewardship has been diligent, allowing us to spend money strategically on things that genuinely matter to our economic growth and longterm community success. The Palladium, a testament to our investments in the arts, culture, and the community, stands as a symbol of the enduring legacy we aim to build. We’ve been willing to spend money on projects with long-term potential and positive impacts, ensuring that the investments we make today will continue to benefit generations to come. As we look ahead to the future, it is my hope that the spirit of unity and progress that has defined these past 28 years will continue to guide our city toward even greater heights. Let us never forget that the collective efforts and the shared vision of a community pave the way for growth and prosperity. In closing, I express my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you. Our city’s story is still being written, and I am confident that the pages that follow will be filled with even more achievements, unity and progress. Together, we have made Carmel, Indiana, a better place, and I have no doubt that with your continued support, it will continue to thrive for generations to come.
Jim Brainard Mayor Jim Brainard, City of Carmel
The City of Carmel:
An Overview of a Decade of Growth and Prosperity 2018-2023 Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of City of Carmel and Laura Arick
In this final quarter of the calendar year, the City of Carmel and Mayor Jim Brainard have compiled an overview of the last years of his administration. Additionally, Mayor Brainard has composed a letter of gratitude and appreciation to his constituents, supporters and members of his administration — past and present.
ach quarter, Carmel Monthly has highlighted some of the city’s more notable accomplishments
Carmel’s Population 2018: 2023:
Carmel unveils name of future City Center hotel – The Hotel Carmichael
developments over the last couple of decades to reminisce along with longtime residents of Carmel and to share with folks
CITY OF CARMEL
who are new to the community what came
Number of Roundabouts 2018: 2023:
2018 January “Festival of Ice” launches at Center Green (now Carter Green)
before the development of the city’s worldclass amenities. For nearly three decades, the City of Carmel, under the leadership of this mayor, has grown from a rather typical suburban, car-centric city to a world-renowned city known for its infrastructure, development and redevelopment, arts and entertainment, diverse culture, and, of course, roundabouts.
City Center and Veterans Way
Brainard is Carmel’s first seven-term mayor
Bike Carmel introduces events: Family Fun Rides and Ride, Dine and Dance Photos: 2018 – Bike Carmel
and one of the longest-serving mayors in the United States. Most cities would take a few centuries to achieve the milestones that Carmel has in 28 years. During Brainard’s tenure, Carmel experienced tremendous growth and prosperity. It is considered one of the fastest-
#1 Best Place to Live in Indiana (Money magazine) #1 City with the Most Sustainable Credit Card Debt (WalletHub.com) Best Rooftop Bar in the State of Indiana – Sun King Spirits in Midtown
March CarmelLink 2.0 announces road improvements, including: 96th Street Corridor roundabouts at Hazel Dell, Priority Way, Keystone, Delegates Row, Gray Road Monon Boulevard reconstruction
growing cities in the United States and is
Range Line Road reconstruction
recognized as a model of modern urban
Stormwater projects all over the city
planning around the world.
May Bike Carmel announces partnership with Rollfast Foundation for a Bike Carmel mascot Spokes the mascot was announced in June Photo: 2019 – Mayor with Spokes at Bike to School Day July Carmel named Best Place to Live in America by Niche.com, second year in a row
#1 Best Place to Live in America (Niche.com) #1 Place to Launch a Career (Money magazine) Mayor Jim Brainard
Mayor speaks on climate crisis in D.C. – Mayor Jim Brainard was a keynote speaker today at a gathering of public officials in Washington, D.C., at the Route Fifty Clean Air Action Forum – State and Local Leadership on Climate and Clean Air Action.
Best Place to Raise a Family in the Midwest (Yahoo.com)
#1 Best Places to Live in the Midwest (Newsweek)
#1 Best Suburb to Live in America (Niche.com)
#1 Best City for Fit Lifestyle in Indiana (BarBend.com)
#1 Best Place to Live in Indiana (Niche.com) #1 Best Place to Raise a Family in Indiana (Niche.com)
“Safest City” in the state of Indiana (with a population of more than 20,000) (SafeWise.com)
Carmel hosts first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration
April - Include something about mayor sending COVID tests out of state? https://www.usnews.com/news/cities/ articles/2020-04-23/how-an-indiana-cityplans-to-proactively-test-for-coronavirus May - July - Events canceled, city urges online local shopping, dining, hosts COVID information booths with CFD
#1 Place with the Best Public Schools in Indiana (Niche.com)
April 9 - Feed the Frontlines - Hospitals in Carmel, Indiana, are working 24/7 to respond to COVID-19. Meanwhile, independent restaurants are in peril from the economic impact of the coronavirus, with hospitality workers laid off by the thousands and restaurants shuttering across the nation.
#1 Best Place to Live in Indiana (Niche.com)
August 27 - Mayor Jim Brainard and the City of Carmel celebrated the historic grand opening and ribbon cutting of the Hotel Carmichael today, an Autograph Hotel Collection that is part of Marriott International, managed by Coury Hospitality
#1 Best Place to Raise a Family in Indiana (Niche.com) #1 Residents Most Financially Prepared for Retirement in Indiana (LendEdu.com) #1 Best Place to Live in Indiana (HomeSnacks.net)
BraunAbility to build corp headquarters in Carmel. BraunAbility is the U.S. market leader in wheelchair-accessible vehicles and wheelchair lifts.
Laura Campbell as President, Sue Finkam as Vice President, marked first time for all-female Carmel City Council leadership
September 17 - Carmel launches new “Brews & Barrels Trail” to celebrate local craft breweries, wineries and distilleries
The City of Carmel has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for the city’s comprehensive annual financial report, known as a CAFR, for the second year in a row Carmel Police Department makes jump to hybrid patrol cars July Wahlburgers announced it would open for business at the Proscenium August
The City of Carmel announced that City Street Commissioner Dave Huffman will retire effective Oct. 30, 2020, after a 32-year career. Current Operations Manager Terry Killen has been appointed by Mayor Jim Brainard to replace Huffman as the next commissioner. November March 23 - Mayor Jim Brainard announced that Carmel City Hall will close to the public. Public meetings will take place under the guidance of Governor Eric Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-09.
Three central Indiana companies have announced they will relocate their corporate headquarters to the Agora at the Proscenium located at 10 West Carmel Drive in Carmel, Indiana
March 26 - Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard has ordered the closure of a section of the Monon Greenway and Midtown Plaza due to overcrowding, which hinders compliance with social distancing restrictions in place during COVID-19 quarantine
“Grace, Love, Joy” installed inside roundabout at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian
April 1 - Carmel provides COVID tests for CFD and CPD first responders and other city employees working with the public. Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard has announced that all the City of Carmel first responders and city employees working with the public are being tested this week and will continue to be tested weekly.
October The City of Carmel and Clay Township are moving forward on a project to build a new fire administration building and museum in the Carmel Arts & Design District December Mayor appoints Ann Bingman - Mayor Jim Brainard has appointed Ann Bingman City Controller for the City of Carmel.
April 2 - The City of Carmel has launched Carmel Cares, a city-wide initiative to help residents remain connected despite the limitations posed by the COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines. Carmel Cares aims to provide the community with important resources as well as creative ways for residents to safely engage with and support each other. CARMEL MONTHLY
November 24 - Mayor Jim Brainard joined other mayors on a call with President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris to discuss priorities. The call was facilitated by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM). (See full USCM release here.) The call included members of the Executive Committee and Advisory Board of the USCM. Mayor Brainard is serving as a Trustee and Co-Chair of the Energy Independence and Climate Protection Task Force for the USCM. Also joining the meeting was the incoming Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Julie Chavez Rodriguez. December December 9 - The City of Carmel continues to test its wastewater to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 infections within the community. These studies can show an increase of the virus in the community up to 10 days ahead of a possible spike in positive cases where medical care is required. Wastewater samples are being collected at the Carmel Wastewater Treatment Plant and analyzed for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that is causing the COVID-19 infections.
CITY OF CARMEL
Midtown Selfie Station: City installs new photo opportunity on the back of the Midtown Screen
Carmel honored with “Excellence in Financial Reporting” certificate from Government Finance Officers Association Volkswagen teams with Carmel to test new machine vision software for city streets and traffic June
The City of Carmel’s official municipal golf course, Brookshire Golf Club, will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year with a new logo, upgrades to the 18-hole public golf course, and new features to the 2-year-old Brookshire Clubhouse
City/IMCL Hosts Infrastructure of Livable Cities Panel Discussion at the Palladium
2021 News Awards:
CITY OF CARMEL
#1 Safest Midsize City in America (AdvisorSmith.com) #1 Best Places to Retire (Money magazine) #1 Holiday Market in the USA (USA Today’s 10Best)
City, township plan new 4-acre park Sister Cities Cultural Gardens to improve drainage, create new ponds and trails; exciting changes also coming to Monon Greenway February Next phase of Range Line Road transformation will extend boulevard design, create new eastwest access into Midtown
The Arbor Day Foundation has named Carmel, Indiana, a Tree City of the World. Tree Cities of the World is a program founded by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to recognize cities around the globe that have committed to growing and maintaining their urban forest.
New mural in Carmel Arts & Design District celebrates Black heroes, heroines by Israel Solomon
April Carmel Police Department to Expand Headquarters: CPD announced the expansion of its police headquarters on Gradle Drive at Range Line Road. The 31-year-old building is set to triple in size, making room for more officers and other city offices.
August Mayor Brainard appointed to EPA’s Local Government Advisory Committee September 20th Anniversary of 9-11: Community was invited to solemn ceremony as Carmel fire, police departments honor those lives lost in tragic events of 9-11-2001 Carmel Utilities to upgrade water meters in citywide replacement project
May City of Carmel announces 3-year sponsorship agreement with Allied Solutions for city events. The $450,000 sponsorship — paid out in $150,000 installments each of the three years — will include several events to be held at Midtown, where Allied Solutions’ national corporate headquarters is located.
Feinstein’s Grand Opening Photo: 2021 – Feinstein’s
October The City of Carmel has been ranked the No. 1 Safest Midsize City in America by online business research and reporting site, AdvisorSmith, a New York-based financial services company November Carmel mayor joins bipartisan group of leaders to witness, celebrate President Biden’s signing of Infrastructure Deal at White House
March Stutz Business Center Visionary Begins Next Redevelopment in Carmel: Turner Woodard, the former majority owner of the Stutz Business and Arts Center, purchased the former Rich Furniture building in Carmel, 1030 S. Range Line Road, and says he plans to bring the building back to how it was originally designed as a boutique office and retail space.
December Barb Lamb, first and only Human Resources Director, retired after 25-year career Carmel Christkindlmarkt voted #1 Best Holiday Market by USA Today’s 10 Best Holiday Markets
2022 News Awards:
June Mayor Brainard honored by U.S. Conference of Mayors
#1 Holiday Market in the USA
Carmel projects nominated for Indy Chamber’s Monumental Awards The projects nominated include: Republic Airways Corporate Training Center – nominated for a Construction award
(USA Today’s 10Best)
Meadowlark Park renovation – nominated for a Landscape Architecture award
#1 Best City in Indiana to Live and Visit (Touropia.com)
Marmon Wasp roundabout sculpture – nominated for a Public Art award
#1 Best Place to Live in Indiana (Niche.com) #1 Best Place to Raise a Family in Indiana (Niche.com) #1 Place with the Best Public Schools in Indiana (Niche.com) #1 Best Place to Retire in the U.S. (Money magazine)
July Carmel Cortona Sister Cities Committee sponsoring new art contest, in collaboration with Carmel, to honor Renaissance painter Luca Signorelli Carmel establishes new Sister City relationship with Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India
#1 Most Caring City in Indiana (Insurify.com)
Proscenium mixed-use development – nominated for a Real Estate Development award September Carmel PorchFest celebrates 10 years of music
City announces improvements to Main Street at Carmel High School and Carmel Clay Library, including two new roundabouts, a median, raised pedestrian crossing
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard was appointed to the Board of Governors for prestigious Floridabased institute, Seaside Institute
Carmel designated “SolSmart Silver” for advancing solar energy growth
August 9 - The Indiana India Business Council recognize Mayor Jim Brainard with the prestigious Indiana Ratna (Jewel of Indiana) award for his significant contributions towards strengthening cultural, educational, political, social and economic ties that have helped make a profound impact in both Indiana and India during his seven terms as Carmel’s mayor
March Niche.com once again rates Carmel as one of the best places to live in Indiana and the U.S. Carmel unemployment rate at 1.4 percent
2023 News Awards: #1 Best Small City in America (WalletHub.com) #1 Most Affordable Safe Suburb (SmartAsset.com)
SafeWise 2023: Carmel Safest City in Indiana among cities with 30,000-plus population Palladiscope premiere event, “Eos: The First Dawn”
#1 Best Place to Live in Indiana (Niche.com)
2023 May Carmel Gala raises more than $75,000 for Carmel Youth Assistance Program Photo: 2023 – Carmel Youth Assistance Program (not sure about this one) CARMEL MONTHLY
October WalletHub.com ranks Carmel the No. 1 Best Small City to live in America Mayor Jim Brainard issues statement on Hamas attack on Israel Arts in Carmel generate $42.7 million in economic impact Carmel forms sister city partnership with Rueil-Malmaison, France
CITY OF CARMEL
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