BATON ROUGE, LA (LOCAL33) (FOX44) – One Baton Rouge woman is following her passion by sharing her voice with others.
Music has a way of moving us.
“It takes you to a different level. It takes you through an emotional experience that you wouldn’t get to have otherwise.”
For Leanne Clement, music changed her life.
“I was so shy and reserved before I saw that, and it just showed me so many possibilities and really transformed my life,” said Clement.
She remembers her first opera experience like it was yesterday.
“Opera Virginia came to my middle school and they did a program called ‘Opera in a box’. They had 4 singers who pulled hats out of a box, and they put them on, and sang different arias and became different characters. That was my first exposure to opera and I was just amazed!”
After that she was hooked. She started performing in school shows and taking voice lessons.
“Once I did that first show I was so hooked and wanting to be part of more and more, but I was still very shy and afraid to be on stage. I had a lot of stage freight, so those voice lessons helped with that and my confidence.”
When she went to college she decided to take a different path.
“I really thought, I’m going to find a job that makes money! You know, i’m going to be a lawyer. So that was my intent to get my English degree and go to law school.”
But she couldn’t escape the music.
“While I was there I continued to sing and work with the theatre department, and it was just in me. I couldn’t let go of that.”
She decided to peruse a graduate degree in music and voice.
“I came in at the bottom of the totem poll of all the singers because I didn’t have a degree in music. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Today Clement is the General Director of Opera Louisiane.
“Opera has taken me from a very shy child who had really no self-confidence and no vision for what I wanted to do in my life. Once I found opera and really found my voice it has given me a path and direction in life.”
A passion she hopes will inspire others to find their own voice.
“Continue to look for that opportunity. Continue to look for that venue that you feel most comfortable in, even if it is the most difficult thing you do. I didn’t anticipate how hard it was going to be to be a singer, but it was also the most rewarding thing. Now that I’m in my role here at Opera Louisiane I’ve found that even though day to day running a non-profit is incredibly difficult, it is also so rewarding. And something that I’m thrilled to share with my daughter, and that example that working hard for something is so worth it.”