Music Teacher Corey Leak Elevates and Educates Through Song

Mr. Corey Leak is currently the music teacher at Lucile Souders Elementary School. His greatest joy is inspiring his students to enjoy all that music has to offer across many genres.  While at Lucile Souders, Leak has put on musical productions such as Annie, Motown Christmas and the Wiz.

At the age of 13, Mr. Leak started traveling and singing professionally with the Boys Choir of Harlem. He has performed with a diverse group of music’s most distinguished and revered recording artists, ranging from Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder to Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Kathleen Battle. Mr. Leak was a member of the cast of the Lion King, and has performed with the North Carolina Symphony, New York Symphony and Boston Symphony.

Mr. Leak is a graduate of the Choir Academy of Harlem, a performing arts high school, and holds the Bachelor of Arts degree in Music/Vocal Performance from Shaw University. Leak has completed additional studies in vocal performance at Indiana University, Boston University and Westminster Choir College.

3 Things making your life richer & why?

Three things that make my life richer are my family because they keep me grounded and have been the core of helping me to grow into the man I am today. They are my reason for pushing myself to be the absolute best that I can be.

Teaching and getting to work with my students daily is one of the greatest experiences of my life. They challenge me to be better by wanting to give them all I’ve learned and experienced in life. Every day we get to take a journey through music, whether exploring music genres from around the world, learning different instruments, or singing. I get to see them grow and dare to dream of endless possibilities of what they can accomplish.

The last thing that makes life richer for me is the opportunities I have been given to still perform and sing. As much as I love teaching, I also have a great love and equal passion for performance and singing and using my gift. Having the opportunity to share my gift of singing is truly a joy. I love connecting with my audience through song to uplift, inspire, and even provoke moments of thought in them.

Local artist you admire?

I admire and respect greatly Monique Butler McLeod. She is a professional singer, choir director, coach, and so much more. I had the privilege to sing with her at the past two Lift Every Voice and Sing shows presented by Cumberland Choral Arts. She is a phenomenal singer and performer and equally a phenomenal person to know in everyday life. She inspires me and has truly become a wonderful friend. 

What is one of your current artistic experiments?

I am currently looking to start working on a recording of African American spirituals and art songs. I’ve never done a full recorded album before and while I am nervous, I am also excited for the opportunity. This is an untapped market that you really don’t have much representation in today and so it would be a total reward for me. 

How does your practice inform your teaching, or vice versa?

My practice informs my teaching through the discipline I teach them when it comes to performance. How to stand, how to hold a music folder, how to engage an audience, and tell a story through song. It also informs the level of expectation I have for my students. I do not limit their abilities: I push them to where I know they can go and beyond. I do not allow them to speak any negativity about themselves or each other; instead I only promote positive reinforcement and words. No two people are alike. My expectation is not that they learn to be better than one another, but for them to be the best THEY can be in whatever musical expression we are exploring at the moment. I hope they will take those tools and carry them throughout the rest of their lives and apply it to whatever they do, wherever they go. 

Corey (second from right) with fellow soloists at “Lift Every Voice and Sing” 2022

What is your favorite way to share artistic history with your students? 

My favorite way to share artistic history with my students is through animated videos that depict the portions of history I would like for them to learn, and wherever possible, bring in fellow musicians, singers, etc to do live presentations. I try to introduce music history in ways that inspire, provoke thought, and engage my students.

What do you want for your art students? 

What I want for my students is for them to get every opportunity there is to learn all about the wonderful world of music. I would love for them to be exposed to different cultures, instruments, musical experiences. I would like for them to walk away from my class inspired to be their absolute best creative selves. I want them to be free to explore and become as well-rounded human beings as possible. 

If you could teach anything using your art form, what would it be?

Music is a part of life that helps to create and effect positive change.  Music has the power to heal, uplift, inspire, challenge, and increase positive brain development. Music is what changed my life and to be able to use it in part to influence my students of all the possibilities and creativity is truly amazing to me. I would like to continue to use it to teach my students how to respect, love, and appreciate one another. I think our world would be a better place if everyone were able to look at each other through the eyes of love. If I can use my art form to help put a little more love out into the world then I would have accomplished my mission in life. 


Vocal Music Teacher Temoni Agee-Boyce Lifts Students’ Voices

Ms. Temoni Agee-Boyce has been singing since the young age of three. She is a member of the gospel group, The Truthettes, and has been since the age of ten. As a graduate of Fayetteville State University, she majored in Music Education with a concentration in voice. She received her Master’s Degree from Liberty University where she studied Music and Worship. Currently, Ms. Agee-Boyce serves as the Vocal Music Teacher at Reid Ross Classical School. She has taught English to students in Beijing, China. She is the Praise and Worship leader and Youth Choir Director at Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC.

Last year, Ms. Agee-Boyce launched her private vocal training studio through her business, T.A.B Empowerment. Her desire is to be able to share her life values and love of music with the world, but she has a special love for youth and young adults. She hopes to continue teaching full-time, while serving the Kingdom of God in whatever capacity necessary. Ms. Agee-Boyce’s desire is that she can continue to give back in such a way that resembles the way in which she has been tremendously blessed by her Creator.

3 Things making your life richer & why: My Education, Mindset, and Talent and/or Skill. I worked hard in school and earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in my content area of Music. Because of my credentials, I am able to apply for specific positions and receive pay for my time, knowledge, and performance. My main pay comes from being a music teacher, but I receive outstanding pay serving as a church youth choir director, and a praise and worship leader. I was also recently able to open my business in which I provide vocal training to all ages. Because of the opportunities I am awarded and have awarded myself, I must put forth the effort, dedication, and time in order to receive the benefits. I must make sure I show up prompt, prepared, productive,  polite, and positive.
My mindset is the most important piece to making money. If I want to opportunity, I have to do what is required. To whom much is given, much is also required.
Lastly, my talent has played a part in my success. This is the talent God has blessed me with. With this talent, I have put in the time to perfect my craft. Through my experience and expertise I have built my skill in the area of music, in general, but specifically in the voice.

Local artist you admire: If I had to choose, one of the local artists I admire in Fayetteville is Yael Hilton. I admire her because she is so humble and embraces the opportunity to bring light and peace to others through her gift and ministry in Gospel music.

What is one of your current artistic experiments? One of my current artistic experiences I am working on is building my business and making sure it is serving my clientele in the best way possible.

How does your personal practice inform your teaching, or vice versa? Experience is the best teacher, and this has been my personal practice. It has made teaching and performance extremely smooth and easy.

What is your favorite way to share artistic history with your students? I like to share artistic history with my students by showing them actual performances. They are able to not only relate but to critique constructively. This creates space for them to compare and contrast for improvement and success in their performance.

What do you want for your arts students? I would love for my students to exceed me in all I have seen, done, and learned. They have so much more potential than I did and they are dedicated to their craft. I’d like to see them be the best musician they possibly can be. I want them to receive all the opportunities possible. I want them to perform everywhere and experience all that the world of music has to offer.

If you could teach anything using your art form, what would it be? If I could teach anything to my students, I would want to teach them nuggets to help develop and improve their discipline, humility, vocal skill, and leadership skills. This is what is needed and will help them go far in the industry.