When Leah Weigel was 16, she visited her grandmother in the hospital.
Weigel’s grandmother suffered from dementia and no longer recognized her family members. During the visit, her head was down and she was drooling.
Weigel’s father suggested she play a song on the guitar for her grandmother. She chose “Amazing Grace.”
“When I started playing that song, she lifted her head up and she looked us right in the eyes and she started singing all the lyrics,” Weigel says. “That’s when I noticed that music; it felt like something magical was happening and it was. That was a beautiful moment of closure for us.”
The experience inspired Weigel to study music therapy. The Lampeter-Strasburg High School alumna graduated from Boston’s Berklee School of Music in May. She’s currently working on a farm in North Carolina, but come January, she’ll begin an internship in California.
Weigel’s father was familiar with the field of music therapy through his own work as a psychologist. She watched YouTube videos of therapy sessions and did research about the field. It didn’t take long for her to realize she’d found her calling.
“I knew I wanted to do something that served people so I could work with people,” Weigel says. “I didn’t know how, though. I also knew that I wanted to be an artist and a musician. … The fact that both of those passions of mine could merge together was really cool.”
Weigel says Lampeter-Strasburg teacher Jeffrey Marsh was
influential to her during her time at the school. Marsh describes Weigel as free-spirited, bubbly and unique. Her decision to pursue a career that serves others is no surprise to the teacher.
“She was someone who just cared,” Marsh says. “There are special kids like that who simply care about others and it…