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LaBruyère brings joy, guides choir to success

Photo by Sarah Spell

Junior Lillian Doskey joined choir at St. Martin’s Episcopal School due to the love for singing she has had all her life. It is an important aspect of her life, as she sings in the shower, in the car, or while studying.

However, it was not until she joined the St. Martin’s choir that she found what was missing: direction.

Co-Chair of the Performing Arts Department Dr. Louise LaBruyère brings joy to the St. Martin’s community every day through her strong direction and

lively spirit. “She’s really real with you,” Doskey said. “She’ll always tell you what needs to be done, what she thinks sounds good, what she thinks can be better. She’s really hands on.”

LaBruyère, like many educators, takes great joy and satisfaction from inspiring her students.

“It’s the smaller things that are more important,” LaBruyère said. “Like when I got Ian Ottinger (’16) to start singing the right notes, so much that he even had a solo. He was very dedicated and tried and worked and worked, but at first, he just didn't sing the right notes. That was certainly a highlight.”

Many of her students remember her inspiration warmly.

“I think my favorite memory would be getting the opportunity to have a solo for one of the performances we had, the 75th Anniversary of St. Martin’s,” said Junior Rimi Mandal. “She told me that she was really happy that I got this opportunity and that she had faith in me.”

LaBruyère worked in music professionally before growing to understand that she was truly meant to be a music educator.

“I didn’t realize that I was an educator until I started teaching high school,” LaBruyère said. “I had taught college before, and I enjoyed it, but when I got to high school, which I didn’t think I was going to like, I loved it. I was teaching all girls, and I realized that I am a music educator.”

Talent inspires LaBruyère, but so does the lack of it. She loves helping people, regardless of their weaknesses.

“I have very much enjoyed working with the students here,” LaBruyère said.“Sometimes I find that I enjoy working with students who are less talented and who try so hard. Sometimes, when you’re working with talented people, it’s like they feel like they don’t need to listen or try because they can already do it.”

However, when working with somebody who doesn’t have the natural skills, it’s different, according to LaBruyère.

“I’ve always said I’d rather have a choir full of people who are not talented than one with all the talent in the world and not working as a group,” LaBruyère said.

Music stands as a form of communication and collaboration for all, and LaBruyère wants to bring it into everyone’s lives.

“I believe that music education is something that everyone should experience,” LaBruyère said. “You don’t have to go on and major in music, but what music does for people—it’s a form of communication that’s unique.”

LaBruyère became a part of the St. Martin’s community through the Former- Performing Arts Director Jason Kirkpatrick.

“We had done ‘Urinetown’ together one summer through JPAS,” LaBruyère said. “I was not very happy where I was before. There had been a lot of changes at some place I had been forever, and I just wasn’t happy. He knew that. So when the position opened up here, he called. We got to be really good friends that summer, and he called to see if I was interested.”

Sophomore Gabby Killett has worked with LaBruyère in the past and appreciates her teaching.

“She leads me to recognize my own talent," Killett said.

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