BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Music has a way of bringing a sense of calmness to a room. In Lesli Wood’s case, it brought complete strangers and musicians together.
“Her spirit exuded in everything that she did,” said Patricia O’Neill, Wood’s former voice instructor.
Wood, a visual and performing arts instructor of 23 years at Baton Rouge Magnet High School, was remembered at Blackwater United Methodist Church for her wave of talents that left people wondering how she could do it all.
Wood died in Mississippi last week after stopping to help someone following an accident.
Nanette McCann, Principal of Baton Rouge Magnet High, addressed the congregation during the ceremony. McCann said in the 17 years she’s known Wood, her spirit held true. “Fun-loving, helpful, inspirational. These are just a few words that describe our Lesli Wood,” she said.
“She just had an ear to hear things that most trained musicians who have multiple degrees, still can't hear,” says Jamie Leonard-Brubaker, Blackwater UMC Choir Director.
The choir performing at the ceremony was made up of members of the Blackwater UMC, Baton Rouge Sympathy Chorus, voice faculty from LSU and colleagues from Baton Rouge Magnet High.
Brubaker says Wood’s musical life stretched far beyond the church. That’s why when they were planning this memorial service, she wanted to make sure her friends were given the chance to honor her, “It’s when she’s not there that you realize, wow. She did so many things I didn’t realize that she did for us musically,” she says.
Wood’s musical instinct gave her the ability to gently guide those around her in the right direction. It’s that push the church choir director says gave her confidence, “Sometimes I didn’t have to ask her what I needed next. she would just do it because she knows,” Brubaker said.
Friends say she had a way of offering herself to others in need, “Lesli gave herself away freely and selflessly to the world and we all have felt that one way or the other,” said Pastor Pattye Hewitt of Blackwater UMC.
“She had an infectious smile, calm demeanor, a beautiful inner spirit. She was the heart of our school," McCann said. "That's the Lesli we knew and loved and that's the Lesli that we will remember."
In the years to come as she's remembered for her charity, friends vow to carry that same love for humanity with them.
“She was never afraid to tell you like it was, and I think I always want to follow that for the rest of my life, be patient but be strong,” Brubaker said.
Her music, serving as a constant reminder of her beautiful spirit.