By Jeff Hunter,
The Herald Journal
Published: Friday, July 10, 2015

Like a lot of girls, Leah Edwards had big dreams while growing up in Richmond, Virginia.

She wanted to be an elite gymnast.

And a professional ballet dancer.

And a renowned pianist.

But unlike most girls, she accomplished all of those goals before she even got out of high school.

“I actually joke about how I had three different careers by the time I was 16,” Edwards says with a smile. “I actually started as a gymnast when I was really little, but it got really intense really quickly, so my mom said, ‘I want you to have a childhood. Let’s put you in dance.’

“Then I was dancing professionally by the time I was 9 with the Richmond Ballet. But soon I had to make a life choice about what I wanted to between piano and dancing, and I chose piano.”

Edwards became so successful as a pianist that she ended up attending high school at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. And from there, she was accepted at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

But after two years of undergrad work in the piano program at Eastman, she was serving as an accompanist at one of the school’s vocal studios when she “fell in love with this teacher, and the way that she could make anybody sing and love music.”

“Even if they came in really defeated, everyone would leave her studio just excited about singing,” Edwards explains. “So, I asked if I could take a lesson, and after I took one lesson she told me I should change my major immediately.

“And so I did.”

The former gymnast/ballerina/pianist quickly became regarded as a talented soprano, which resulted in her relocating to New York City to attend the renowned Julliard School at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where she would earn a master’s degree in opera.

“And I have been singing ever since,” Edwards notes. “And that’s why I’m in Utah.”

And Utah is clearly where Edwards wants to be right now. And not just because she’s performing this summer in two different productions for the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre.

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