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September 07, 2007 - 08:34 PM
Sara Krieger
- Vocaleyes@aol.com

My first memory of Dick Laughlin was a slightly nervous one. It was 1971 and I was a fifteen, about to turn sixteen year old junior at North Central High School who wanted to audition for the “Big Musical”. I was told that I couldn’t audition for it unless I was in a choir. I was also told to audition for “Mr. Laughlin”, because he was so cool and such a nice guy. I remember sitting down next to him and pulling out my sheet music. I had never auditioned for anyone before. I sang “That’s All” and I remember him accompanying me as if we were going on a great ride together. At the end of it, he turned to me and said “Good God, child! Where did you come from?” and just smiled at me, with those sparkling eyes. He made me feel instantly comfortable, competent and capable, none of which I felt before meeting him that day. I got to know “Dickie Lee” not only a magnificent teacher, but also a tremendous mentor, nurturer, confidant and friend.

There are, if we are lucky, a handful of people who grace our lives and imprint it in the most valuable of ways. When the Gods smiled upon me that day in that choir room by putting Dick Laughlin in my path, I became blessed with the gift of musical confidence and exploration, a gift that eventually led me to New York and to a 35 year career in the arts. And although our paths crossed only occasionally in the years since I moved from Indianapolis, I never forgot or neglected to appreciate the little leprechaun who generously and lovingly started me on my way.

I will never, ever forget you, Dick.

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