Nathan Tuttle is the Head of School at the Edison School of the Arts in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Edison School of the Arts aims to promote creative achievement through the use of visual courses and performing arts programming. Nathan talks about some of his favorite experiences with Henry Leck and how they have impacted his life!
Henry and I met after I became a new music teacher and was invited to volunteer with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir Summer Music Festival in 1986. I was invited again the following summer and after that, the ICC offered to put me through Kodály training, which provided a new approach to teaching music literacy. After I completed my training, I was asked to be one of their regional directors. The whole process, from me volunteering to my training to becoming a regional director, was approved by Henry Leck.
As I started working alongside Henry at the ICC, I learned how easy it was to relate to him, how he was a great communicator as far as methodology and instruction, and he displayed great actionable instruction; but most importantly, I saw his precision and passion for teaching children’s choir and choral music. I try to implement those qualities into my music instruction as a choir conductor and as the CEO of the Edison School of the Arts. Henry set the stage for me as a music educator in how I want my teaching style to reflect that of Henry’s, as well as how I strive to get my choirs to sound and behave like the ICC.
As a board member, Henry brings about several progressive ideas balanced with an educational background. He is very forward thinking and strives to extend an organization’s boundaries through increased partnerships. In my opinion, one of his most memorable actions as a board member was when Henry created regional choirs as well as satellite choirs with grant money so Indianapolis Public Schools received the opportunities to have a choir at their schools. The reason this action was so memorable was that these schools and students would not have gotten this opportunity without the grant. With this money, the ICC reached more students by paying for bus transportation, paying for conductors to go to the different schools, the music they used in rehearsal, the uniforms they wore for their performances, and more.
Overall, Henry is just a very positive mentor who genuinely cares about people and community-based organizations. He strives to see the best out of everybody he encounters, thinking about how many people he can help, and how he can offer assistance to anyone that is in need. He has been able to create an organization that he is now able to back away from. Henry has left a legacy, and that’s not always something everyone can say when they leave an organization. He brings hope to those that are starting their own organizations, especially within the arts.
My experiences with Henry Leck have greatly impacted my life, and that impact has brought hope to me as a music educator and a member of the arts in general.