Diane Covington, Leesville choral director since 1994, has announced her retirement for the upcoming year.
In addition to humbly leading the choral department, Covington plays an integral part in the success of Leesville musical productions. Sipping her tea at 4:40 in the morning, Covington spends her time thinking about ways to improve musical quality of beginning, intermediate and Capital Pride choruses.
Formerly the chair of Leesville’s arts department, Covington decided to retire because “my family’s needs have changed; my husband and I both have parents in their mid-eighties. I am ready for the next chapter in my life. I know that I have had a successful career, but it’s exciting to look towards other things.”
“I will miss the kids most,” said Covington. “I love watching the making of the music within them, seeing them grow into outstanding musicians. The choral program has mushroomed from 32 to 186 students in the years I have taught at Leesville. I am grateful to have taught so many students over the past 19 years.”
Matt Cesari, junior and Capital Pride member, said an emergency Capital Pride met to discuss her retirement. “We were all shocked. People were crying, and it just felt like nothing made sense anymore.”
Covington has profoundly affected her students, inspiring them to develop their vocal abilities and work cohesively with a large group of people. These effects are evident in the awards Covington and Leesville chorus has received: Covington was named North Carolina choral teacher of the year in 2010, Capital Pride won the The Triangle Youth Chorus Trophy in 2008, all choirs earned superior festival plaques and victories in Busch Gardens and Disney World choral competitions.
Reflecting on her best memories teaching chorus, Covington said, “I am proud of Capital Pride singing the “Berlioz Requiem” at Carnegie Hall and performing in Westminster, England. Every day in class will always be a special memory.”
Chorus is a family, and Covington is the matriarch leading beginning, intermediate and Capital Pride chorus’ to success in choral competitions.