Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Hi, my name is Leia! I'm a first-time author and lifelong musician. I thought I'd take a little time to introduce myself and the idea of Musically Ever After.
Small Town Girl, Big Bassoon.
I started music lessons at age 7, and by the time I was 8 I knew it would be a part of my life forever. I studied hard, and eventually my piano teacher started me on the bassoon.
Starting bassoon was one of the best decisions of my life.
Because of the bassoon, I received scholarships, played music all over the world, and I even found the love of my life, fellow bassoonist Drew West. When I was nearly finished with all school but my dissertation I secured a job as Director of Education for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, working for David Schillhammer, a former bassoonist!
In my third season of with the OPO, I started a chamber music series for young families called the Symphony Storytime Series. I had big dreams for this series. It would have original illustrations, beautiful music, and an actor/narrator to give the program a kid-friendly feel. Enter my dear friend and immensely talented artist, Candace Neal.
Actress, Musician, & Illustrator, Candace
Candace and her husband Tim had become the voices of our Young People's Concerts, and she was happy to step in as storyteller for the series. Our first year was a huge hit, but I quickly learned that very few people shared my vision of chamber music for young children. We had run out of stories after season 1!
I cobbled together a second season and decided to try my hand at creating my own story, a musical version of Golidlocks to end the season, but my illustrator couldn't complete the work! I begged Tim and Candace to recommend an illustrator, when Tim informed me Candace was an illustrator too! She created some gorgeous backdrops and history was made!
So why Musically Ever After?
That first presentation inspired me to create others, leading to my first book (coming soon!) entitled the Double Reed Duckling. My first stories have been inspired by fairy tales and so I end every one with the phrase "...and they lived Musically Ever After." The reason I chose this phrase is two-fold. First, every story features characters who make music a part of their life, and music always enhances their life in some way. Second, I believe that learning and playing music is something you can (and should) do for the rest of your life.