As part of our preparations for our 20th anniversary weekend (June 4-5, 2016), we present a small series of alumni profiles, celebrating the profound and enduring role Kokopelli plays in the lives of many of its choristers.
’Nuf Sed 00-02
In 2000, I was a member of the Edmonton Youth Choir that Scott Leithead was conducting at the time. In the spring of that year I went through an extremely trying time in my life; I felt lost, depressed and alone. I remember being on the phone with Scott on a Sunday night explaining what had happened and he asked me to come to a Kokopelli Choirs rehearsal. I didn’t know how that would change my situation, but I knew well enough to trust Scott.
On Wednesday, my mom drove me to the rehearsal. I was sure I would step into the room and be instantly viewed as the outsider, with questions of “Who is this new girl, we have enough sopranos.” Instead I was greeted with hugs, acceptance and words of excitement that I was there.
That day my life changed.
Music became my way of connecting to people, my way of expressing myself. Scott’s love and support is to this day a driving force in my life. At 18, after only two and a half years in Kokopelli (a short time for most Kokopelli members), I moved to Paris to be a nanny. Before I left, Scott gave me a journal and wrote in the first two pages. Scroll down to view a picture of the second.
I have brought this journal with me all over the world: to Paris when I was a nanny, to Montreal when I moved for University to study music, to countless Opera/Singing gigs around the world, to Africa when my cousin got married, to Switzerland last year when I sang with Theater Basel’s Opera company for a year and now it is here with me in Calgary. I always had intentions to write about my journeys, but of course failed as I am horrible at keeping a journal.
I have read those two pages from Scott hundreds of times, and they always remind me that, even though I am far from those I love, they are supporting my journey and are always there to lean on whenever I need them.
Scott Leithead is more than just a choral conductor; he has an ability not only to see talents, strengths, and beauty in people, but to then guide those people to see those things in themselves. I know my story is just one of the thousands of lives Scott has changed.
He is an inspiration and I am so lucky to have him in my life. Love you, Scooter.