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Band 'Souled' on Leming's talent

Tuesday, February 5, 2008  
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By Katie Halstead

At age 18, freshman Amy Leming is the youngest member of a band called "Souled Out." The group is a dance and variety band featuring older rock music and plays for formal events such as wedding parties. The band has been together since 1989.

"It's nice to be able to come into a band that is already put together and has been around for a while," Leming said. "All the hard work of a band just starting is already over, and now, we just have fun."

Leming plays the keyboard for the band and is also the lead vocalist. Leming's favorite part of being in the band is getting to wear gorgeous dresses for the events.

Being in a band is not the only thing Leming does with her time. She is also the band director for this year's Spring Sing.

Leming's interest in music began at a very young age. She began playing the piano when she was only three years old.

"A major reason for my interest in music is my father," Leming said. "He is a great musician himself."

Leming's father is a longtime guitar player who spurred his daughter's interest in music. Her mother has also been a big supporter of her music, but she comes at it from another angle.

"My mom has no idea about music, but she loves it," Leming said. "She's what we like to call a huge music appreciator."

Leming plays a wide variety of instruments. When she was in 5th grade, she started playing the clarinet. In 6th grade, she moved from Irving, Texas, to Edmond, where she met University of Central Oklahoma's Jazz Lab Assistant Manager Jeff Kidwell.

Kidwell urged Leming to play the bassoon in 7th grade. He was Leming's teacher throughout junior high and high school, and now she plays in his jazz band at Central Oklahoma. Kidwell is also a part of "Souled-Out." He appointed Leming the lead vocalist of the band without even hearing her sing.

"I had never heard her sing, but I suspected that the natural talent which I had seen in her since 6th grade would allow Amy to succeed," Kidwell said.

Leming wasn't just satisfied with learning the bassoon. She soon went to Kidwell and asked him if she could try the saxophone. Kidwell gave her a baritone saxophone, the largest of the saxophone family and said, "Sure, here ya go!"

Kidwell discouraged her from the bari sax so she would stay on the bassoon. He felt she had a chance at making the Central Oklahoma Directors' Association, (CODA) honor band. Leming came back the next Monday and out-played most of the current saxophone players. She then continued to make CODA on the bassoon and the bari sax.

Leming also played lead alto and soprano sax as a 7th grader in Cimarron Middle School's jazz band. The next fall she showed up with her dad's cornet and could play all the CODA audition material better than any of Kidwell's trumpet players.

In high school, Leming was a member of Marching Band (sax - section leader), Wind Ensemble (bassoon and piano), Jazz Ensemble (lead alto), Act II (accompanist) and other activities including Follies (accompanist - talent show), and musicals (pit musician - staff accompanist.) She has been recognized for her talents at district and state levels.

"Amy Leming is one of the most talented young ladies I have ever had the pleasure to teach," Kidwell said. "She is an incredible musician on a wide variety of instruments and is a very gifted singer as well."

Leming's future as a musician is unknown, but Kidwell has high expectations for her.

"OC has a star in the making in their music department," Kidwell said. "Amy Leming has the potential to be a world class musician, or whatever she chooses in life, and I think she's a world class kid as well."



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