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28 COVER STORY Champions!

With this month’s cover story we recognize the Carmel High School football team’s recent IHSAA 6A state championship. It was simply a game for the ages that included 2 critical third down conversions and an onside kick to secure the 20-17 victory. We want to thank Coach Herbert for sharing his thoughts on a remarkable season. Congrats to the Greyhounds on its ninth state championship. Cover Story Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photo // Zach Hughes

6 It’s a Time for Honoring Traditions 9 Business Spotlight: Traditions at North Willow 10 Business Spotlight: Adkins Draperies and Blinds 12 Savor Is Opening Soon in Carmel 16 Concerts for a Cause: Offering Unique Live Music Experiences and Funds for Deserving Charities

18 Palladium Spotlight: Dave Koz 20 Swing into 2020 with “Sinatra & Friends” 22 Home for the Holidays, Now What Do We Do? 25 That’s A Wrap On 2019 30 Carmel Fire Department and The Kasey Program Team Up

CARMEL MONTHLY PUBLISHER / Neil Lucas / 317-460-0803 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / Neil Lucas / 317-460-0803 PUBLISHER / Lena Lucas / 317-501-0418 DIRECTOR OF SALES / Lena Lucas / 317-501-0418 HEAD WRITER / Janelle Morrison / 317-250-7298 DECEMBER WRITERS / Janelle Morison, Neil Lucas Business Spotlight is sponsored content.

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The holidays give us numerous reasons to celebrate, but they also give us a reason to slow down, reflect and take pause to honor the traditions that we have carried on throughout the years. It is a time for each of us to remember whence our families’ and communities’ traditions come from and why it is important to teach them to the younger generations. As we do every year, we polled a few notable Carmel residents and community leaders on some of their most treasured holiday traditions and/or memories that they enjoy with their loved ones and friends every holiday season. Carmel Monthly would like to thank each of these individuals for their contributions and you—our readers and advertisers—for your support of our publication over the years. We enjoy sharing our city’s best stories and events with you and look forward to bringing more of the best in 2020. We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous new year!

Elizabeth Hamilton, Carmel Clay Public Library Foundation Director My favorite holiday tradition is to attend Indiana Ballet Conservatory’s performance of “The Nutcracker” at The Toby Theatre at Newfield’s. Their traditional performance brings back fond memories of sharing this with my children during their childhood. My youngest daughter, Marta, serves as the production manager, which makes the performance even more meaningful.

Scot Pollard, Carmel Resident, Former NBA Player and Local Realtor The cranberry in a can (not the sauce) is the one thing that must be a part of our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It brings back childhood memories both good and bad. Plus, I like the flavor. Mincemeat cookies is another favorite. Not a lot of people know what they are, but my mom always made them and having them brings back memories. Dawn—my wife—makes them for me, and they’re pretty close. Dawn loves her mom’s sausage stuffing. It was her dad’s (and everyone in the DeGasperis family) favorite. They used to put way too much gravy on it! I am VERY helpful in the kitchen but not until after the meal. I’m the dishwasher! Dawn loves to do all of the cooking but doesn’t love having everyone in her kitchen! You stay out of the way of the “Thaitalian” when she’s working her magic! Our 17-year-old loves Dawn’s mashed sweet potatoes with melted marshmallows on top. Our 12-year-old loves Dawn’s whipped mashed potatoes and homemade gravy made from the drippings of the bird. Our 3-year-old likes corn and green beans—and making a mess of the table!

Adam Aasen, Co-Owner of Donatello’s Italian Restaurant, Carmel City Councilperson-Elect My favorite Christmas gift would be the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures that Santa Claus left for me when I was 7 years old in 1990. My favorite was Michelangelo—yes, I recognize that I own a restaurant called Donatello’s, and he should have been my favorite. I think he [Donatello] was a close second.


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Gwendolyn Rogers, Owner at The Cake Bake Shop Janna Hymes, Music Director at Carmel Symphony Orchestra My favorite place to spend the holidays is Maine. The cold, crisp air, sunny blue skies with white puffy clouds, shiny white snow on the trees and ground make the wreaths, twinkling lights and abundant red berries pop. For years my parents would visit. The house was always filled with a roaring fire, complete with our black lab stretched out in front, music (of course) and a busy, delicious-smelling kitchen. My mom taught me to make everything from scratch, so we shared many incredible times together in the kitchen. We all loved having my parents with us, especially the kids. I will always cherish those times, and while we miss them terribly, we continue to share the holidays in Maine. And now it’s my turn to pass down favorite family recipes.

The most ideal or memorable holiday gathering is when you are able to spend it with your family, friends and loved ones in your life, including your dog. Here is my secret to making your home cozy and comfortable: • Put throws or blankets on the couches and chairs in the living room to make it cozy. • Light the fireplace and light candles. • Have festive music playing in the background. • Dim the lights to make it soft on the eye. • Have something yummy cooking on the stove or cookies in the oven. • Everyone will automatically gather in the kitchen while you are cooking. You don’t need to clean for three days before having anyone over. They will be so happy to just spend time together, they won’t notice if you have finished the laundry. Budget wise: It’s easy to put a wonderful cheese tray together with grapes, olives, crusty bread, olive oil, three of your favorite meats and cheeses. Simple, delicious and no cooking necessary, and everyone loves a great cheese tray. I love to make pasta when having a party. It is inexpensive, and everyone loves it. You can also ask everyone to bring a bottle of wine or a dish so you can focus on the atmosphere and being the host. My kitchen is the heart of my home. My boys and their friends gather around while I cook, they tell great stories, and we laugh. They always want to help me, which I love. This is what creates joy and feeds your soul. It makes your house a happy home.

Jeffrey McDermott, President/CEO at The Center for the Performing Arts and The Great American Songbook Foundation My all-time favorite holiday song is “Happy Christmas” by John Lennon. I love it because it is hauntingly beautiful, and the lyrics remind us that no matter what negative things may be going on in our personal lives, or in the world in general, there is hope for the future.


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Kevin“Woody”Rider, Owner at divvy, Woody’s Library Restaurant, Carmel City Councilperson (On how his trip to the Holy Land has impacted his perspective of the holidays)

It [the trip] made it real to me. Having been in the areas and experiencing everything that I’ve read about in [biblical] passages has had the most impact on me. Reading about these events and places is truly a different experience when you are actually there. We spent some time in Capernaum, where Jesus did the majority of his teaching, and we went to the Sea of Galilee—no, I did not walk on water. We spent a lot of time in Jerusalem and the West Bank, where he was crucified and entombed. If you’re a history buff, it’s a great place to go, and if you’re a person of faith, it’s monumental. I was baptized in the Jordan River, which was pretty cool and humbling. It was all kind of overwhelming at times. Another cool experience was walking into the Church of Mary, and everybody was singing the same song but were from 10 different countries. We felt incredibly safe while we were there, and I would recommend anyone going. Every year I say and post, “Remember the reason for the season,” but this year, the holiday season has even more meaning and is even more special to me since my trip to Israel.


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menu of social activities and outings to keep them from becoming isolated during a time of year that can conjure up feelings of being alone and discarded. Brown explained that all of their residents have 24/7 on-site access to the community’s licensed nursing staff. Personalized service plans include any ongoing assistance that you or your loved one may need with daily care and activities, eliminating unnecessary stress or worry for you or your family members.


Let Traditions at North Willow Become Your Family’s Tradition


North Willow offers the Varietas Memory Care Program. The program is a combination of therapeutic and positive stimulation—including expressive arts, exercise, nutrition, reminiscing and cognitive activities—and is used to enhance social engagement with peers, families and staff members. Another unique program to Traditions at North Willow is its Behavior-Based Ergonomics Therapy (BBET). BBET is a nationally recognized and award-winning nonpharmacological, personalized approach North Willow uses with residents that is proven to promote resident engagement and reduce agitation, depression, falls and medication use. “We consider every one of our residents as extended family,” Brown said. “We know them all by first name and know most of their life stories. Every person has a unique life story, and we take special care to learn as much about each resident as possible as this process starts when we first meet.”

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of Traditions at North Willow

The winter season can create unnecessary hardships for most anyone, but it can be especially precarious for seniors who should be worry-free and relaxing in their golden years. If you or your loved one is ready to enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle without the burdens of maintaining a home or lawn or ever having to shovel snow from a driveway or sidewalk again— now is the time to explore life at Traditions at North Willow.


raditions at North Willow is a state-of-the-art, reputable senior living community, conveniently located close by St. Vincent Hospital and to several restaurants, coffee shops, pharmacies and a local Kroger store. Though it is in close proximity to these amenities, the community itself offers a quiet, resort-like feel while providing excellent security to its residents with a gated entrance.


When it comes to beginning the conversation about moving a loved one into assisted, independent or memory care living at North Willow, the staff understands the difficulty and the emotional toll just the mere conversation can have on a family. The staff is there to walk the family through the entire transition process and will remain a dedicated partner with the family thereafter. Let Traditions at North Willow be your guide through this part of your family’s journey. North Willow offers well-appointed Independent Living as well as thoughtful, expert Assisted Living and Memory Care, designed to encourage independence, dignity and well-being


upscale independent living community, complete with attractive one-story villas, most of which feature two bedrooms, two baths and attached garages. Amenities at North Willow Villas include: emergency response systems connected to 24/7 nursing personnel support, all appliances provided (including: washer and dryer units and stove tops), scheduled transportation, and maintenance free living at its finest. “We take care of all the utilities: landline phones, trash, cable, and we shovel the driveways and sidewalks so you can really just sit back and relax this winter season,” Brown said. “You’ve worked hard throughout your entire life, so now it’s time for you to relax and let us take care of these things for you.” Brown emphasized that the entire staff at Traditions at North Willow understands that transitioning to a senior living community is an emotional and sometimes arduous journey for not only the individual but also their family members, but it can be an easier one for everybody involved if they have the right support team and if the community is the right fit. Take the first step of your next journey now and schedule a tour of Traditions at North Willow today. For more information about Traditions at North Willow, visit


As the winter months unfurl, it is even more important that your loved ones are enjoying their day-to-day goings-on in a safe manner with access to 24/7 nursing care and maintenance-free living, as well as have exposure to an extensive

The Villas at North Willow are part of North Willow’s


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When asked if there was a significant difference in price between Adkins and a big-box store for custom window treatments, Catherine was quick to state, “There’s not much difference in price, but there is a difference in quality and the installation itself. Our products come with warranties, and we have our own installers, so if you call here with an issue, you’re going to be taken care of. Good luck trying to find the person who installed your treatments from a big-box store. Our products will last longer and will be installed correctly every time.”


Unique Local Maker Of Custom Window Treatments That Will Cater To Your Every Desire Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Laura Arick and submitted

It may be drab and dreary outside for the next few months, but don’t let the winter season keep you from transforming your home into a beautiful sanctuary that boasts color, pattern and personality!


ocally and family-owned, Adkins Draperies and Blinds is your solution to personalizing or updating your window coverings and home decor that reflects who you are and transforms any room into one that makes a statement.

A FAMILY-OWNED AND -OPERATED BUSINESS An established and reputable name in the greater Indy area, Adkins Draperies and Blinds has been in the business for more than 40 years. Adkins Draperies and Blinds has been owned

THE INSTALLATION PROCESS and operated by the Miller family for 26 years out of Westfield showroom. Co-owned by Frank Miller Jr. and his better half, Catherine, the business has adapted and evolved with changing styles and trends and the ebbs and flows of the economy, all the while growing their operations and establishing their brand and reputation as one of the area’s most dependable and trusted companies in their industry.

When you visit Adkin’s Draperies and Blinds storefront, you will see an array of styles and products from traditional and classic looks to modern and contemporary and everything in between.

WHAT’S TRENDING TODAY IN WINDOW TREATMENTS? According to Catherine, gray tones and neutral tones are still the top trending colors. While motorized window treatments have been available for the better part of a decade, there has been a lot of advancements made in that technology as well as “smart technology” for window treatments that operate on app-based programs. “You can control your blinds and window treatments at home or at your office through audio programs like Alexa,” Catherine shared. “ Still one of the most popular options for blinds are the cordless blind systems.

ENJOY WINDOW SHOPPING AT AN ACTUAL STOREFRONT Adkins Windows and Drapes offers free in-home consultations but is also one of the few companies that still delivers a storefront experience where people can come in as walk-ins or by appointment, six days a week, to see, touch and explore the myriad of fabrics, products and accessories.

According to Catherine, the “average” job, once the initial consultation appointment has been made, will take four to six weeks for drapes and three to four weeks for blinds and shades. “Sometimes it’s a little longer this time of year because everybody wants their projects completed in time to show them off during the holidays,” Catherine said. “Shutters—especially if they’re specialty shapes—can take a little bit longer and are usually eight to 10 weeks.” Once a customer has made an appointment for Adkins to come out to their home or office, they can expect a visit within the next couple of days. “We can usually get someone out there within a couple of days by the time they call, unless they have to have it Saturday and then it might be two weeks,” Catherine said. “And a consultation can be anywhere from an hour to a few hours, depending on the scope of work and how partic-


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ular and knowledgeable the

vendors, cornice boards, valances, top treatments, that indeed offer something for everybody no matter how subtle or extravagant one’s personal taste is. Adkins also works with any level of budget so that everyone who wants to add some personality and protection to their home can do so—using quality products—without breaking the bank. “Our customers are looking to stay in their homes for longer than five years and want to invest in their homes and add some of their personality

Adkins offers customer is about the prodmore than your ucts and styles they want.” basic window READY TO MAKE YOUR HOME treatment shopping TRULY YOURS WITH CUSTOM MADE and installation WINDOW TREATMENTS? Adkins offers more than services. They make your basic window treatment custom draperies, shopping and installation pillows, coordinating services. They make custom bedspreads and draperies, pillows, coordinatcushions covers ing bedspreads and cushions at their Westfield covers at their Westfield location exactly according to location exactly your specifications. according to your Customers can select from specifications” a vast inventory of fabric

to their decor,” Catherine said. “Our customers want quality treatments that are professionally and correctly installed and are products that are going to last.” Get a new look that draws in guests and makes your home warm and inviting. Adkins’ professional team can assist with manufacturing and installation. Enhance your home with a simple upgrade that will last for years.

Follow Adkins Draperies and Blinds on Facebook and visit the website at for general information. Call Adkins direct at (317) 896-3833 to schedule your free at-home consultation or showroom appointment.



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Savor Is Opening Soon in Carmel Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted

Coming soon to Carmel—Savor—a fusion of European/Mediterranean and modern ambiance with a gorgeous corner view of Main Street and Third Avenue Southwest in the Arts and Design District in Carmel, Indiana.


avor’s owners, Henri Najem and his wife, Shelley, are no strangers to the Indy food scene. Najem and his wife built a solid reputation as restauranteurs with their previous restaurant, Bella Vita, that was a popular waterfront venue in Geist. Najem is also known for his Flamme Burger locations that feature the award-winning Flamme Burger and other delectable options that are prepared with fresh ingredients from local purveyors and in a true wood-burning oven. Savor, Najem’s latest endeavor, will also feature healthy, fresh and local ingredients and also with an authentic wood-burning oven like at Flamme Burger, but that’s where the dining similarities end. Najem shared with us that Savor’s menu will feature dishes with an Italian and Mediterranean flare with an emphasis on fresh ingredients—especially fresh seafood.

“Mayor Brainard brought the idea of opening a restaurant in the Arts and Design District about 12 years ago,” Najem recalled. “The city was in the early [redevelopment] stages, and so I came out here and met with people from the city, and at that time, there wasn’t a whole lot here yet—just a few businesses. Over the years, I’ve watched the growth, and it really has been unbelievable to watch. I got excited with what [Brainard and the city] have done with this business-friendly area, and the walkability, connectivity to the business community, pedestrian traffic and accessible parking are all very important to me, as is the close proximity to the residential areas. I decided it was time for me to figure out what [concept] I was going to create for this area.” Najem noted that there is a parking garage behind his restaurant and valet parking is available.

Why Carmel?

The Savor Dining Experience

More than a decade ago, Najem met Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard at a fundraising event at Belle Vita.

“I looked at what I’ve done in the past, and the upscale, polished casual dining [experience] is my niche,” Najem shared.

“We are in between casual and fine dining. I’ve never been a white tablecloth person because I don’t want [my establishments] to be for special occasions only. When I started creating the concept of Savor, I had to define who my guest will be, and they are everybody for any occasion.” Najem and his wife, Shelley, have worked tirelessly at creating a comfortable ambiance, paying close attention to detail to complete a first-class, quality experience for their guests. Buying and working with local purveyors and artisans is incredibly important to the Najems. The wood for the wood-burning ovens is supplied by a family-owned business out of Seymour, Indiana, and all the meats and produce are purchased from within the state of Indiana. As they are the preferred caterer and exclusive inhouse caterer for Daniel’s Vineyard, Savor carries all of the local vineyard’s wines. Even the art displayed within Savor is created by local artists. “I’ve always been a ‘bar’ person,” Najem said. “It goes back to my family roots. As I’ve gotten older, I like to sit in the bar area and have that full-service experience. What we’ve done with this location is we’ve installed a NanaWall system and have a 25-foot section in the bar where the doors fold in and the bar extends out to a dedicated patio section on the west side of our location that will seat up to 40 people. The city has worked with us on this, and we will be able to create a Mediterranean ‘look’ out there on the patio with vines and a wooden trellis system that will create a diversion from the cars and streets without completely barricading it.” Najem describes the ceiling treatments as suspended “clouds” that absorb noise but don’t enclose the space the way dropped ceiling systems do. “We have hung a beautiful trellis system over sections of the dining and bar areas that will create a warm and inviting feel that’s not too fancy but is aesthetically pleasing,” Najem described. “One of the first things our guests will notice when they come in is a 25-foot-long fire pit that runs through the middle of our dining room. It goes along well with the woodfire oven that people are always intrigued with once they see the open flame.” Najem continued, “My wife, Shelley, has


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done a great job as far as the colors. She’s a little more patient with the colors and the decor, and she’s done a great job keeping the features subtle to where you don’t feel like you have to come in dressed up.” The couple shared the meaning behind a prominent artistic feature that captures the imaginations of all who walk past its designated wall: a pair of closed eyes that represents a woman caught in the moment between a blink and a dead-on stare along with a quote, “A strong woman looks at a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink.” The Najems saw a similar art installation in the Bahamas and were inspired to feature something similar along with an inspiring message in Savor. Savor’s 5,600 square feet of space allows for a maximum seating of 140, including the bar, patio and a private dining area that can seat 35 to 40, depending on the configuration. The private dining room has retractable doors for privacy and includes an 85-inch flat-screen with full audio capabilities. Guests can also enjoy ordering from a private menu. When the room is not booked, it serves as overflow space for the main dining area.

Getting the Band Back Together Again Many of Najem’s original kitchen staff have been with him since he opened Bella Vita in 2004, and two have been with him since 1999. Najem has remained in close contact with most of his original crew, and many rejoined him at Savor. “I’ve always kept in contact with my employees and have told them that I’d like to work with them if we opened another concept,” Najem stated. “Many have come to Savor, and one thing that I’ve learned with staff—especially when you’re a restaurant—is that the kitchen is the heart of the operation. I’m excited to have all these people back because we know it’s going to be good.”

Savor the Food and the Entertainment Najem shared that he began experimenting with wood ovens in 2012 and 2013 when he created Flamme Burger. “Over the last five years, I’ve really grown to like that cooking method because of the flavor it gives the food,” he said. “I don’t use hickory because it overpowers the flavor of the fish and/or meats. Flamme Burger is a burger concept, but we do fresh seafood there too, and that’s really how I grew to understand this method of cooking and began creating different ideas that I could take from a casual environment and step into an upscale, polished casual atmosphere.” Patrons of Savor can expect a straightforward menu that offers many of Najem’s best recipes—new and even a couple edible gems from his previous establishment. “For us, Savor is about the seafood element,” Najem explained. “I like fresh fish, and we deal with one purveyor out of Chicago who does a great job and provides the freshest fish I’ve seen in the last 15 years. I always say that your protein is the star of the dish. You begin with a great quality protein, and from there, the rest should be easy preparation. I don’t like to saturate my fish with sauces. I like Mediterranean-style, Italian- or Middle Eastern-influenced recipes, so the menu will be modern American cuisine with the Mediterranean and Italian influences. I like putting fish over different ingredients, like couscous. I love lentils with fresh spinach, tomatoes and kalamata olives sauteed with a little lemon, butter and garlic. For me, it is about the good flavor of the fish and complementing it with whatever you’re serving it with. We also have pasta on the menu because I love pasta, and we have a few steak options and of course—our award-winning Flamme Burger that has been voted the ‘Best burger in town’ for four years now.

We will also have pizzas that are prepared in the wood-burning oven.” The bar area will feature a DJ booth— an important element in creating the entertainment factor without being a nuisance to the diners. “I’ve always felt that music adds to the ambiance,” Najem said. “I’ve brought in [live] bands over the years at Bella Vita, but it’s hard to control the sound, and you can’t carry on a conversation. With a DJ, we can control the volume and the playlist. We’re not a nightclub and we didn’t put in a dance floor, but it is important for us to be able to provide musical entertainment, and if you want to chair dance, it doesn’t bother me at all. We understand that you chose to spend your hard-earned money with us, and I want to create not only the best food experience for you but one that makes you feel well fed, well served and well entertained.” While Savor’s dinner menu is impressive, the craft cocktail menu is equally as enticing. “I have 10 different local tabs and the national brand domestics,” Najem said. “While we are focusing on featuring local breweries on our taps, we are also promoting our handcrafted cocktails. I had always wanted to offer this at Bella Vita, but it was such a monster, and I wasn’t able to do it with 25 bartenders, so the cocktail list is going to be a really cool cocktail list. I infuse a lot of different simple syrups with fresh herbs and ingredients, like basil, ginger, Serrano pepper and such. I like to mix it up.” Enjoy great food in a comfortable and fun atmosphere with your co-workers, friends and/or family—be sure to check out Savor in Carmel! Call-ahead seating is available, and reservations can be made by phone at (317) 564-4126 or via Open Table. Follow Savor on Facebook and Instagram @ savorcarmel for updates and special announcements!


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Willy Porter

Concerts For A Cause:

Offering Unique Live Music Experiences and Funds for Deserving Charities Writer // Neil Lucas • Photography // Submitted

Concerts for a Cause has announced the headline performer for its Jan. 25 concert will be Willy Porter. Also appearing in the fabulous and intimate Lucas Estate concert venue setup will be Ryan M. Brewer. “We are excited to kick off our fifth season of concerts with two really talented singer songwriters. If you like musical storytellers, you will love Ryan Brewer and Willy Porter,” stated Concerts for a Cause co-founder Steve Neely. Remember, all proceeds for each concert supports a local charity. The Jan. 25 concert supports the Little Red Door’s Summer Camp for kids with cancer.

For those unfamiliar with him, Willy Porter has been turning first-time listeners into die-hard fans for more than two decades. Willy blurs the line between indie-folk and rock with his searing signature fingerpicking guitar sound, absorbing lyrics and playful, high-energy live performance style. He has shared world stages with music icons Jeff Beck, Tori Amos and Paul Simon, carving out a successful solo career as an artist who makes music that resonates long after the last guitar chord fades. From the release of his breakthrough album, 1994’s “Dog Eared Dream,” to the launch of his own record label, Weasel Records, in 2005, Willy is an artist dedicated to delivering high-test, original musical experiences. His 2015 album, “Human Kindness,” featured the songs “Train” and “Chippewa Boots,” performed live on NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion” by Willy and his singing/songwriting partner Carmen Nickerson. The pair teamed up again in 2016 to make “Bonfire to Ash,” a record of co-writes produced by Grammy award-winner Ben Wisch (Marc Cohn, Jonatha Brooke). Willy’s most recent project is the EP “mnemonic,” which features several new songs, including the instrumental “Bears Ears & The Great Law,” along with several catalog classics revisited and reimagined. Equally accomplished as a guitarist, singer and songwriter, his songs weave a universal perspective about the questions, struggles and triumphs of human existence. His live shows are guitar-driven events—equal parts grit, soul and muscle—that are electrifying, dynamic and wholly original in the way that Willy’s voice blends and fuses with his dizzying fretwork. Whether in the studio or on stage, Willy Porter gifts listeners with an unforgettable ride, embodying the very best of what live music has to offer.


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PORTER’S ACCOLADES: “If you need another flat-top guitar hero, look no further than Willy Porter, a blindingly fleet and maddeningly nimble player. If you’re trying to get the hang of fingerstyle picking, you’ll either curse the dude or forsake all and follow him.” — Riverfront Times

“I found Willy on iTunes six years ago. Went to see him live and joined the converted.” —Al Kooper (Bob Dylan/Blood, Sweat & Tears)

“Porter is a dazzling acoustic guitarist with a moody baritone…” — The Washington Post

“Porter accentuates well-rendered tales with spitfire-percussive acoustic guitar strumming and fiery color-chord picking.”

Concerts for a Cause Makes a Difference for Local Charities According to Bruce Kidd, Concerts for a Cause co-founder, “The first four years of concerts have far exceeded our thoughts for the number of people (3,200) who might attend and the amount of dollars ($200,000) we would be able to donate. Our sincere thanks to everyone who supported us by attending our concerts. I really believe our 2020 concerts will be our biggest and best to date—I hope many more people will join us for great live music and a chance to impact hundreds of kids’ and adults’ lives.” 2019 Concerts contributions to Local Charities: • January 2019 concert: School on Wheels received $18,000 • April 2019 concert: Brooke’s Place received $20,000 • July 2019 concert: Agape received $17,000 • October 2019 concert: A Kid Again received $14,000

Jan 25th

Lucas Estate, 1143 W 116th St 6–7 p.m. is a reception with lots of food and drinks—all included in a ticket purchase 7 p.m. will be Ryan M. Brewer, a talented local singer songwriter 8 p.m. is Willy Porter, a gifted acoustic guitar player and folk-pop songwriter The concert will support the Little Red Door’s Summer Camp for kids with cancer. For tickets go to

— Billboard

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DAVE KOZ AND FRIENDS CHRISTMAS TOUR 2019 Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of The Center for the Performing Arts


First, I’d like to welcome you back to Carmel. You have become an annual holiday tradition here for so many of your fans, so I’m curious what is it about the Palladium and our city that keeps bringing you back to kick off the holidays for us? Carmel is one of those places that is a “must” on the circuit for us. The venue is so amazing, and it just feels like Christmas for us while we’re there, though I’ll be honest, I think the Palladium at any time of year is special because it is acoustically and visually striking. And not just the hall where the show takes place but the lobbies, the different rooms and the way it’s put together. Whoever designed it and whoever put all the pieces together really knew what they were doing. You had mentioned that another part of what makes your stay in Carmel so enjoyable are the people behind the scenes who make the day-to-day goings-on most enjoyable for you and your fellow artists. Do you care to elaborate on that point? What most concertgoers don’t know is that behind the scenes, the people that we interact with that are part of the catering or part of the production staff make our lives. Those are the people who are so instrumental in a good show, and they never get the credit that they deserve. And those are the reasons that we keep coming back and also because of the incredible audiences. It’s a listening and appreciating audience, and I have to say that we play in a


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lot of wonderful places with this tour year after year, and we always try new places, but as I said, Carmel remains a “must” on the tour. I remember the first time that we came to Carmel—there was not much going on there. There was not much development then. Now, every year we come back, there’s like this sprawling city, and it’s really amazing to see the growth that’s happened there.

Then we’re introducing a guy named Chris

these things that remind us of our past. Music

Walker, who was the music director and bass

is so much like that, and that is where musical

player for the great Al Jarreau for 20 years. Chris

comfort food comes from. When you hear that

is an amazing singer and artist in his own right,

Christmas song that you’ve been listening to

and he just released his Al Jarreau tribute al-

your whole life, it just makes you feel good. It’s

bum—“We’re in This Love Together,” celebrating

a reminder of simpler times. Christmas comes

Al Jarreau—to keep all that music alive. Chris

around, and it’s a calendar-mandated oppor-

has been on our cruises and is developing a real

tunity for all of us to be reminded of what’s

strong fan base, so this is a wonderful year to

important and maybe go into the new year

introduce him to our guests as well.

focused on being a little bit more generous, tol-

Talk with me about your new holiday album that recently dropped and is available now—a wonderful holiday gift—titled, “Gifts of the Season.” I should also say that Michael, Jonathan and I all have brand-new holiday albums. What’s really nice about this tour is being able to introduce new music—it isn’t new music per se because they’re classic Christmas songs, but they’re new renditions of these songs. Being able to have three new albums to mix up the set list makes it really fresh and allows us to build a brand-new show.

erant and kind. It’s a chance to press the reset

For those who don’t know, this is the I read once that you refer to holiday 22nd year for this tour. A lot of evolution music as “musical comfort food.” What has occurred over the years, I’m sure. exactly does that mean to you? And What is new for this year’s tour that you what is your favorite holiday song that would like to share with your fans? holds the most meaning to you? Jonathan Butler’s coming back this year. Musical comfort food is how I describe the He’s been my right-hand guy for many of holidays. The holiday season is all about nosthose years. There are many people who come talgia, and that’s the reason why we connect to the concert just to hear his version of “O with these songs we’ve heard hundreds if not Holy Night.” I can tell you for sure that will be thousands of times. They really connect us on the set list, otherwise people will be throwwith our past. ing tomatoes if not. Jonathan has so much For me, “White Christmas” connects me raw talent that just oozes out of his pores. He’s with my past even though I grew up Jewish. an amazing guitarist and singer. Christmas music was always around my house We have a legend and true icon of music because my parents loved the classic singers that is joining us for the first like Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, time who’s been a good friend of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. mine for a long time, and we’ve So, I heard all of these beautiful PERFORMER SPOTLIGHT collaborated together but we’ve songs lofting in my house, and never toured together, and that is when I play them and hear Melissa Manchester. them, they remind me of those moments in my Her body of work, her songs—she’s an life. I think in that way, music is such a great amazing songwriter as well—is incredible. communicator of the feeling of Christmas. She’s a multiple Grammy winner, and we’re It’s also why we really don’t want to hear new very excited about introducing her to our Christmas songs. If you look at the lexicon audiences for the first time. And then we have of Christmas songs, the newest ones that we another saxophonist—who is one of my best listen to are 25 years old, so it’s really hard to infriends—who’s never been with us before, troduce a brand-new Christmas song because Michael Lington, and who is originally from at this time of year, we want to go back to that Copenhagen, Denmark. He’s been living in the sweater that our grandmother gave us that is U.S. for about 30 years, and we’ve been friends holey, and we really shouldn’t be wearing it but since I met him, which happened to be the it feels so good when you put it on. Or that spefirst week he came here. cial holiday food that your aunt makes, and all


button on our lives, and music is a huge part of that experience.

Speaking of generosity, are there any organizations or causes that you work with that you would like to shine a light on this season? Thank you for asking that question, yes. The Starlight Children’s Foundation—which has been my pet charity for about 25 years—helps kids who are in the hospital for long periods of time and provides them with a little sense of normalcy in a very not normal situation. This year, we raised an amazing $200,000 on our Australian Cruise for Starlight, and our cumulative total that we have raised is well over $1 million dollars. This year, we’re taking the money that we raised and are donating 100 virtual reality headsets to local children’s hospitals in every city that we go to on this tour, including Carmel. The children’s hospitals will be getting a VR headset that is total stateof-the-art and brand-new technology. It’s been clinically proven to improve health care for children by improving the child’s experience while in the hospital. So, hopefully, we are making an impact in each of the cities that we go to and help these kids in a profound way. What do you hope the audience will experience and take away from your show this year? My best intention is that when people walk out of the Palladium, they felt like we were an extension of their family and friends. That it wasn’t just a concert per se, but the feeling that we want to create is that of a big living room where we’re all friends and family enjoying the holidays together. It is a very high-energy show, but it’s also very sentimental. The holidays bring out a lot of emotions, and we don’t shy away from any of those emotions. It’s a full experience from start to finish. Plus, you’ll get to see five artists who love collaborating and working together who are equally committed to creating a magical and special night for our guests.


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Swing into 2020 with

“Sinatra & Friends” Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of CSO

Don’t miss the party of the year! Join the Carmel Symphony Orchestra, led by Maestro Janna Hymes, as they welcome back special guest artist Steve Lippia to The Center for the Performing Arts for “Sinatra & Friends” on January 11, 2020.


ippia, a Grammy-nominated recording artist, has become one of the most prominent, in-demand vocalists in America, known for his youthful, energetic interpretations of “standards” and traditional pop music. You will enjoy a wide variety of songs Ol’ Blue Eyes and his friends performed in the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and beyond. You are invited to come to the concert dressed in period attire! Sinatra’s show-business career spanned 50-plus years, so the sky’s the limit. Hymes and Lippia graciously took time to share with us what people can expect from this special event and why it will be appealing to people of all ages and not just classical music aficionados. “The [Carmel Symphony] Orchestra is versatile,” Hymes said. “The orchestra exists to play music that is for everybody, and while we get a certain audience that comes out and supports our classical concerts—we receive

standing ovations and confirmation that our audience loves the concerts— but not everybody loves classical music. We want people to know that we play concerts such as ‘Sinatra & Friends’ and collaborate with artists like Steve Lippia as well.” Hymes has previously collaborated with Lippia while she was conducting the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra and is excited to work with him on this upcoming concert event. “Steve is a ‘Rat Pack’ guy who sounds terrific and has great stage presence,” Hymes shared. “He’s got that jazz-show swagger, and he loves what he does. I find him really inspirational. People who attend [‘Sinatra & Friends’] will get to see the orchestra play popular music from the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, and with that in mind, I’ve added a Pops series for next year, and I think this concert and the new series will show the community that we are listening to what they say and are watching what is selling. I think collaborative efforts such as this one with Steve and other concerts where we have or are collaborating with organizations such as the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, the Carmel High School Ambassadors and Actors Theater of Indiana are very exciting. Everybody’s got 50% at stake, and when you both jump in with two feet and create something together, it makes it even more exciting.”


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Lippia has become one of the most prominent, in-demand vocalists and has quickly established his place among the finest interpreters of “standards” and traditional pop music in the nation. Lippia’s youthful, energetic talent and powerful show create a perfect blend of “classic” with “today.” His show introduces a new generation to this timeless music while appealing to longtime listeners. After leaving his previous career as a stockbroker in New York City, Lippia took a huge leap of faith and began his music career headlining highly successful, extended engagements at the Rio Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, where standing-room-only audiences lined up more than two hours before show time to vie for seating. He has performed in multiple engagements for Hilton Atlantic City and Casino Windsor, among others, and has become a favorite of symphonies and has performed to sold-out symphony audiences across North America. “Like a lot of people, I was introduced to this music [The Great American Songbook or American Standards] watching television as a kid and through my parents’ influence,” Lippia said. “I just kind of took to the music. Every generation has its own ‘cool’ and has some great music that on a visceral level—at the very least—you can appreciate for its beautiful melodies, great harmonies and arrangements. I know it may seem simplistic, but I use food analogies. Imagine going to a restaurant with your family, and a 16-year-old family member looks at you in horror because you ordered ravioli at an Italian restaurant, and he says, ‘That is so 1950s.’ Then you say, ‘Ravioli was good in the 1950s, and it’s really good in the 2000s’ because there is something universally pleasing about it.” Lippia continued, “I think that’s why we like Bach, Beethoven, Elvis, Renoir and Monet. There are some elements of

art that transcend that sort of simple, temporal and tribal notions of culture. I always tell people, we like what is familiar to us.” He paused and then added, “The shelf life of music used to be 25 years or more and then it was 10 and now it’s almost 10 minutes. You can play something from the early 2000s and a young person will tell you that it’s ‘old school.’ I think that’s an arrogant, antiestablishment and provincial attitude, and sometimes you throw the baby out with the bath water, but that’s just my view of the progression of culture in our country and probably around the world. I always tell people that you either grew up listening to this music or you grew up listening to your elders listening to this music, but in one way or another, it reached you. Maybe you’ll listen to Maroon Five and Bruno Mars but why not Maroon Five, Bruno Mars, Elvis and Wagner?” When asked about reuniting for another concert with Hymes and returning to Carmel, Lippia said, “I worked with Janna years ago with the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra—that was our first collaboration. She is one of my favorite pops conductors. I immediately liked her and respected her abilities as a

conductor, as well as her understanding of pops music. There’s a learning curve [to conducting pops], but Janna was at home with the music right away. I’m really looking forward to coming back to Carmel. It is a beautiful community— you folks have some cool architecture. It’s an odd pocket of really high-level architecture right in the middle of the Midwest.” Both Hymes and Lippia emphasized that the audience participation by coming “dressed for the era” will help make for a fun and memorable night out at the beautiful Palladium. Hymes concluded, “We hope that people join us for ‘Sinatra & Friends.’ It’s the kind of music that you know or recognize, and it makes people feel good. I think people might be looking for some fun things to do after the holidays, and if they come dressed in ’40s, ’50s or ’60s attire and come early to enjoy cocktails and preconcert entertainment up in the Founders’ Room, it will be a fun event for the adults, but the concert itself will be fun for all ages.” For more information and to purchase tickets to CSO’s “Sinatra & Friends” with Steve Lippia, visit


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Home for t h e H o l i d ay s , N o w W h at D o We Do? Festival of Carols

Looking for fun activities for you and your friends and/or family do this holiday season? The good news is, there is no shortage of unique and magical holiday activities, and they’re all located just a short distance away in Boone and Hamilton counties!

DEC. 20, 21, 22

The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir returns to the Palladium this holiday season to present Festival of Carols, which promises to be another spectacular event for families, friends and lovers of holiday music. Celebrate the merriest season of all with familiar holiday songs and carols, featuring the talents of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, acclaimed star of Broadway’s “Phantom of the Opera” Michele McConnell, the choruses of Herron High School and Mt. Vernon High School and the debut of “The Christ Child” by the annual Christmas Carol Commission Competition winner Jonathan Reid.

CARMEL Carmel Christkindlmarkt NOW–DEC. 24

The authentic German holiday market returns for its third season with more than 50 vendors, the signature glühwein pyramid and its newest feature—an Indiana German-American Heritage Museum.

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Presents Handel’s “Messiah”


DEC. 19

The greatest story ever told. The most majestic music ever conceived. This is the “Messiah” of the season, performed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra along with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, and it is music’s most powerful message of faith.

“Elf the Musical”


DEC. 6–28

A title known the world over, “Elf The Musical” is a must-produce holiday musical that can easily become an annual tradition for any theater. 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”).

The Ice at Center Green NOW THROUGH MARCH 2020

Skate sessions are at least 75 minutes long, and if you don’t have your own skates, you can rent them from us! Food and beverages are available, or slip on over to City Center, Midtown or the Carmel Arts & Design District to enjoy some great local fare.



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Reindeer Ride Express

A Merry Prairie Holiday

Christmas in the Village



A family-favorite holiday tradition returns with the Reindeer Ride Express, boarding in Forest Park in Noblesville. Kids from one to 92 can enjoy Christmas carols, festive crafts and a visit from Santa aboard the Nickel Plate Express.

Head to Conner Prairie to enjoy a new holiday event, the new home of the Reynolds Farm Equipment Christmas Lights. Guests can hear music at Blitzen's Bandstand, enjoy food and beverages at Clowes Common, stroll through Prairietown and more.


Visit Santa at the Santa House, enjoy carolers, live music, wagon rides and more during the weekends in December.


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That’s a Wrap on 2019

and Another Decade in Carmel Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Staff and Courtesy of City of Carmel

As the year winds down and a brand-new decade awaits the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, we sat down with Mayor Jim Brainard to take a look back at some of the year’s major projects and gain some insight as to what projects will be completed and which ones are slated to begin in 2020 that will set the pace for the next several years.

THE KEYSTONE BRIDGE AND OTHER PROJECTS OF INTEREST Once crews moved traffic onto the bridge heading southbound, commuters received a bit of a reprieve from the traffic congestion last month while crews continue to finish up work underneath the bridge at 96th Street. According to Brainard, “Despite the early arrival of cooler weather and bouts of rain, the construction crew has been able to stay on schedule and plan to be completed with the majority of the project by the end of this year.” Other city projects of interest that the mayor said are still being negotiated

include the former PNC lot, or Lot One as it is now known, that is located at the northeast corner of Main Street and Range Line Road in the Arts & Design District. The request for proposal was the first step in the process to redevelop the land into a mixed-use development. PNC Bank, which sold the land to the city, will remain on the property throughout and after the redevelopment is completed. “In addition to Lot One, we are working on five other projects along Range Line Road in the redevelopment area,” Brainard said. “We are still in the planning stages for Monon Square [shopping center] as well. There is a lot going on [in the city],


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and we are also working on getting the infrastructure investments in Home Place that will include the township-funded roundabouts at 111th and Westfield Boulevard and 111th and College Avenue. We are looking at additional roundabouts at the intersections of 96th and College, 106th and College and 106th and Westfield. Additionally, we will be adding more bike paths and better drainage for that area, so we’re working on all that as well.” Brainard went on to explain that the city has spent over $40 million over the last three years in drainage improvements to Carmel. “We’re making progress,” he said. “We had the heavy rains this season, and it was first time in years that I didn’t get any calls about flooding, so I think we’re making progress. The storms have been more intense and have produced greater amounts of rain in shorter periods of time, so we’ve made adjustments to the [drainage] system to compensate for that as well, but I’m comfortable saying that we’ve made a lot of progress in the stormwater drainage area as a whole, and we will continue to invest in that and make improvements.”

LIVING, WORKING AND PLAYING WELL IN CARMEL The city continues to attract new businesses and headquarters from across the nation and throughout the world as it boasts a quality of life and a vast menu of amenities and entertainment venues that are unrivaled in surrounding communities. “It is good to see continued construction along the U.S. 31 corridor,” Brainard said. “The KAR [global] headquarters recently opened, and we are continuing to work on bringing in more corporate headquarters to this area, the Midtown and central parts of Carmel as well. There’s a long line of developers that want to invest in Carmel, and that’s good for our tax base.” Brainard added, “Whether it’s the private sector or government sector, communities need those investments if they’re going to thrive and prosper.”


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With the completion of the Midtown Plaza, and the continued improvements made to Monon Boulevard, residents and workers alike have been enjoying the community “play yard,” the local breweries and restaurants as well as community viewing parties and friendly matches of ping pong, billiards or cornhole that break up the monotony of the workday or provide a pretty awesome backdrop for people and families to come hang out on the weekends. “It [Midtown Plaza] is really amazing,” Brainard said. “I’m really happy with what the designers have done with Midtown. It is a product of the feedback that I was given by members of our community all those years ago when they told me they wanted a walkable, mixed-use downtown and not just a series of retail strip centers in the suburb.”

LOOKING AHEAD AT 2020 The mayor was proud to share that the Carmel Fire Department is looking at adding 15 additional firefighters to operate a new ladder truck that will continue to make Carmel safer. “Our fire department is one of the few accredited [fire] departments in the state,” Brainard shared. “This will be another great safety improvement for the city. We will also continue to plant lots of trees in Carmel to help the environment and add to the beauty of our city. We have a lot of improvements coming with our park

system over the next several years. We will be investing in our existing parks, and we’re continuing to look for opportunities for small urban parks in the downtown area.” Without mountains and oceans, the city has had to create amenities and opportunities for people in order to compete with other states, regions and even countries with regard to economic development. “We’ve had to work hard at providing a quality of life to be able to get people to come here, and if we continue to invest in the community and make it a place that people with the education, experience and skills to go anywhere in the world choose to live, here in Carmel, then we will continue to thrive and prosper. If we are unable to do that, we will lose jobs and decline. It is important for that reason that we continue to invest in the quality of life and the amenities for the entire community.”

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RHONDA STEVENS For more information about nominations or Ranj Puthran Insurance Agency, call 317-844-4683 or visit 815 W. Carmel Dr., Carmel

To nominate

Rhonda Stevens moved to Carmel with her parents and two sisters in 1976 and graduated from Carmel High School, went to college and then got married. Rhonda and her husband found their way back to Carmel where they raised their three sons. She has lived in Carmel now for 33 years. As Rhonda’s boys grew up she enjoyed volunteering in the school system they attended. She had fun seeing them go through elementary, middle and high school and enjoyed volunteering as much as the school and her boys would allow. She served as Class Mom planning class parties and field trips and ran the Day food fundraising program for the elementary school. She engaged her boys and their friends to someone go toMarket help load food in customers cars. or Rhonda was introduced to Meals on Wheels when her mother volunteered to deliver meals in Carmel for many years. She would accompany her mother when she and her sons had some extra time. Once her boys left for college Rhonda had more time on her hands and the desire to feed and help more people. Rhonda has been a Meals on Wheels weekly volunteer since 2015.

If you would like to nominate someone you know who is volunteering in the community, please email me at

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317.753.5542 CARMEL MONTHLY

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2019-12-12 1:31 PM

CHAMPIONS! Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Zach Hughes

This month, Carmel Monthly is proud to feature the Carmel High School (CHS) football team and IHSAA Class 6A state champions on our last cover of 2019. For those who missed the riveting game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Nov. 30, the game had Greyhound fans on the edge of their seats through the fourth quarter when rival Center Grove Trojans made a fierce comeback, but after two big third-down conversions, Carmel recovered an onside kick, ran out the clock and claimed their hard fought 20-17 championship victory.


e spoke with CHS Football coach John Hebert about what it took for the team and the entire program to prepare for this year’s season and how that preparation and growth led Carmel to clinch its ninth state championship title.

the focus throughout the off- and regular seasons. “We focus on getting better at things that we know will help us in the long run,” Hebert said. “We focus on the day-to-day routines and our processes to prepare us, and then when we take the field, we feel like we’re really ready to go out and compete at our best.”

Preseason Preparation

Growing Pains

Hebert shared with us how the program begins building a team in the off-season, identifying the leaders as early as February— long before the official season kicks off. “We include the players in most discussions and decisions that are made, and that’s something that I really believe in doing,” Hebert said. “The leadership positions within the program were earned and identified based on last season. We have meetings to prepare the leaders on what and how they’re going to teach the rest of their teammates, and we talk about things like integrity, accountability, respect and trust.” Hebert said that talks of winning the championship were not a focus. Practicing and playing to everyone’s full potential was


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Hebert shared how the team converted a humbling loss (41-14) to Trinity High School’s football team in Louisville, Kentucky, early in the season into a valuable learning lesson. “We lost that game down in Louisville after we had beaten them at home last year,” Hebert recalled. “This year, we went down there, and they just blew us out. We turned the ball over four times, and they capitalized on it. We outscored them in the second half, but it is an example of a great opportunity for growth for the team. It gave us an opportunity to separate words from actions, and it gave us a real window into how much farther we had to go.”



2019-12-12 11:54 AM

A Return to the State Championship

Carmel went on a four-game winning streak after that game but had some tight games and missed opportunities in the first part of the season, according to Hebert. “[Success] doesn’t happen without going through some tough growth,” Hebert said. “There were some games that I didn’t feel like we started well and didn’t come out offensively, but at the midpoint of the season—after losing to North Central and Ben Davis [high schools], we had constant conversations in the locker room, encouraging players to have ‘players only’ meetings and discussions about trusting each other, making commitments to one another and trusting us coaches that we are doing the right things to help the team reach its full potential.” Hebert said at that point, the success of the team fell on its leaders to help keep the team together and focused on its shortterm and long-term goals. “I think anytime there’s success with that many people [involved], those types of conversations have to happen all the time,” Hebert emphasized. “They’re not always convenient and comfortable, but they’re very important. And I think the more that people buy into the meaning behind it all, the better chance you have of it all coming together.” The team turned a corner, and once it made the playoffs and beat Warren Central High School (28-0) in week eight, Hebert said the team was sold on the vison of what it was going to take to be state champions, even though that was not specially discussed at that point in the season.

The tradition of excellence continued when Carmel not only made the stage but when it clinched its ninth State Championship title. Hebert shared his personal thoughts about that night. “We were so close to the goal,” Hebert reflected. “Center Grove was mounting a furious comeback. At that point, the team was fighting to do what they’d practiced and knew that they had to do the best that they could at that time. We brought in our ‘hands’ unit [on-side kick return team], who had practiced the day before and had done a walkthrough before the game where we talked about that very situation.” Hebert continued, “We discussed a scenario where the whole game hinges on catching the ball, and if we don’t, it lessens our chance of winning. And doing this while five guys are coming at you and while the whole team, the whole program and the whole city is watching, depending on you to catch the ball.” The team’s preparation and perseverance paid off. Carmel took a knee—and the title—with clock at 1:39. Champions, once again. “It was all that time in the making and learning hard lessons that led us here,” Hebert said. “It was going back and looking at mistakes that cost us [plays and wins] in previous games and practices and working to get to the point where everybody [team and staff] is on the same page and knows what the expectations [are]. When you’re able to get that point across and the players know it and believe it the same as the coaches—then championships are possible.”

Developing a Championship Team The secret to Carmel’s success is that the coaching staff doesn’t just develop its starters. It develops the entire team. “We prepare two to three guys at a position and develop this team for the long term,” Hebert said. “If you’re going to win a championship, you can’t just pick a group of guys—the starters—but you have to be committed to getting a lot of guys experience. While it’s harder to establish an identity when you play a lot of people, it’s really important to the process.” It is important to note that Hebert mentioned throughout the interview the players who contributed to and made the big plays that led the team to victory that have been well documented in the litany of news articles and news segments after the game. Out of respect and admiration for the entire team, staff and crew, and so as not to omit anyone by accident or by virtue of limited real estate in this print article, Hebert asked if we could credit the team, staff, managers, assistants and parents—as a whole— for their contributions that led to the team’s success this season. “There are just too many [individuals] to name,” Hebert said. “The guys that have the biggest impact on the team are usually the hardest workers. We picked our captains for Saturday night’s game because they’re hard workers, and nobody questions their allegiance to the program or their vision, and the team respects everything they have to say. I don’t want to leave anybody out. There are so many great, great kids, and programs like this can’t be boiled down to a few kids—it takes all of them.”


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2019-12-12 11:54 AM

Carmel Fire Department and The Kasey Program T e am U p f o r Fire Safety Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of The Kasey Program

Carmel Fire Department (CFD) recently announced its partnership with a very special fire safety and prevention program, The Kasey Program presented by Koorsen Fire & Security. The purpose of the partnership is to assist “Sparky” the fire dog in teaching fire safety to children not just in Carmel but nationwide. As the sponsoring fire department and official home of firedogs Kasey and Kali, CFD is thrilled to have their owner/handler Jeff Owens—a retired firefighter and paramedic of more than 30 years—and his black Labrador retrievers as members of the CFD family.


he Kasey Program is a program that teaches children their fire and life safety skills by using Kasey and her pal, Kali—the next “Kasey-in-training”—to performs skills that Owens teaches, such as stop, drop and roll and how to crawl below the smoke and check to see if a door is hot. The program is geared for children preschool through sixth grade. The Kasey Program is the only full-time, nationally touring fire prevention program in the country.

Tragedy Turned Blessing Owens started the Kasey program in 1995 after a family tragedy that brought about a blessing. “My wife never wanted to have a dog, which is a funny statement considering what I do for a living,” Owens shared. “But we lost our 6-year-old nephew to a brain tumor, and his dog was getting ready to have a litter of puppies. My wife wanted one of the pups to remember him by, and that was the original Kasey.”


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Owens got the idea for The Kasey Program after speaking to his son’s kindergarten class, to which he brought the original Kasey along. “Kasey could sit and roll over, and I was like, ‘Well, that’s stop, drop and roll!,’” Owens said. “The kids were so mesmerized by the dog, and I thought, ‘Maybe I’ve got something here.”

The Launch of The Kasey Program Prior to his career as a full-time firefighter with Wayne Township Fire Department and a part-time EMT at IU Health Methodist Hospital, Owens was a theater major in college. He is also a musician and plays guitar. Owens is employed by Koorsen Fire & Safety, which sponsors The Kasey Program. Owens shared with us that Randy Koorsen, owner of Koorsen Fire & Security, fully supported Owens when he decided to take The Kasey Program full time and nationwide. Koorsen also assisted Owens with establishing The Kasey Program as a 501(c)(3) organization. Owens stated, “I wouldn’t be here [doing this program] if it wasn’t for Randy and the Koorsen family. Randy isn’t supporting the program for fame or any other reason. He simply wants to help save lives.” Once Owens went full time with The Kasey Program, he went from teaching 3,000 kids a year to teaching 63,000 kids that year in 1995—shattering his humble goal of doubling the number.


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“In the course of five years, the program went from my idea to teaching over 400,000 kids and over 400 programs a year,” Owens said. “The program usually lasts between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on the age group.”

the program are recognized for displaying leadership and kindness and are awarded a plaque from the department to display in their school. “The Kasey Program is yet another opportunity for not only our firefighters but our entire community to rally around something that is pure and beautiful and represents everything that we’re about,” Haboush expressed. “It gives exposure to our organization not only on a local and state level but even on a national level. One of the things that we talk about here is building a world-class fire service organization, and Jeff and The Kasey Program fit right into that mold. It is a completely fresh and new, innovative approach to fire safety and prevention and is an opportunity to present fundamentals about fire safety and life skills at the most basic level. And whether you are 4 or 40 years old, it’s still an interesting program because of the dogs!”

CFD—The Sponsoring Fire Department of The Kasey Program CFD’s Chief David Haboush spoke about how the department is thrilled to have Owens, Kasey and Kali as members of the department and as representatives of the Carmel community. “It’s impossible to be in a bad mood when you see those dogs wagging their tails,” Haboush said. “When the dogs are in front of children, laying there and wagging their tails, the kids are completely laser-focused on them. I could never captivate anyone’s attention like that, that’s for sure!” CFD has expanded The Kasey Program to recognize the students when the program visits a school. Two children from the host school who have participated in

Follow Kasey and Kali on their tours across the nation via Facebook and Twitter, and for more information on The Kasey Program, visit

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2019-12-12 11:13 AM

Profile for Collective Publishing

Carmel MONTHLY - December 2019  

Champions! With this month’s cover story we recognize the Carmel High School football team’s recent IHSAA 6A state championship. It was simp...

Carmel MONTHLY - December 2019  

Champions! With this month’s cover story we recognize the Carmel High School football team’s recent IHSAA 6A state championship. It was simp...