Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
As our resounding young voices sang the final notes of Fanfare for Christmas, we turned as one to join the audience’s applause for its composer and conductor, our music teacher, Mr. Leggett.
His unique combination of elementary school choir and orchestra created interesting moments for students, requiring us to move from holding instruments to standing to sing. My music tutelage with this inspiring teacher began in grade 7, consuming my days with practicing violin or voice. His technique for training our voice included standing a soprano shoulder to shoulder with a bass. We were taught to trust our own voice and abilities.
Belonging to his musical group not only taught us how to sing but to depend on our community of music friendships. Nurturing these friendships as we headed into high school cultivated an appreciation for who we were, and what we were capable of becoming. These insights were crucial as we began the journey into an adolescence often fraught with struggles, pains and disappointments.
Scores of students at a recent 40-year reunion for our school’s music alumni still hold him in high esteem. Alumni relate how, “we all have ‘Aw, Legget’ moments as a piece of music triggers poignant recollections of formative experiences under his tutelage.”*
In a darkened classroom, as though we were toddlers down for our nap time, we’d lie on mats listening to music as a whole body experience. I can still feel the music radiating through my body, especially as a classical piece moved into its resounding crescendo.
It is not remarkable that a teacher with vibrancy and enthusiasm as a music mentor is still making and conducting music, at aged 80.
But, it is remarkable that children on the cusp of adolescence embraced not only his love for music, but also his wise direction to honour and to listen to our inner voice. Teaching us to hold our voice notes highlighted the wisdom of holding onto our own unique melody in life, to be certain of our own life song, no matter where life placed us. ‘As he lifted up our young minds, he set us on a better, more positive path; he made us aware of the possibilities’*.
Instead, it is oftentimes those who are quietly following their life passions who affect others the most.
Like many teachers.
It is Mr. Leggett’s musical legacy that is without a doubt the reason the life motto ‘live life in crescendo’ resonates so deeply within me.
Through his quietly formative and influential way, Mr. Leggett’s students not only retain their enduring love for music but also their enduring respect for a teacher who continues to live his life in crescendo.
( a Post in Honour of Teacher’s Day October 5)
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* notes quotes from article Kids Alumni choir gets adult reincarnation