The final chorus: Students say goodbye to Linda Nap


Linda Nap has finally graduated.
The music teacher at LCCVI who was one of the founders of Jazz Attack retired from her work Thursday and on Friday, some of the hundreds of students who learned the joy of music from her came to say thanks.
Nap was a student at LCCVI and then returned to teach music. Twenty-five years ago, she and fellow teacher Pam Dobbs came up with the idea for a musical jazz group where students performed choral music using microphones and instruments. “It was so different from the concert choir,” said Nap during a reception to honour her. “Because it was so different it caught on.”
The students in Jazz Attack performed all over Lambton County and traveled to Japan for performances. Membership in the group became coveted with students auditioning once a year when spots became available in the group.
Nap says 25 years later, she’s surprised by the impact the group has had. “I never dreamed it would be something that would go on so long and that they would think enough of it to comeback.”
Erica Warder was one of the students who came to LCCVI to say goodbye. She was a painfully shy Grade Nine student who tried three times to be part of Jazz Attack. When she made it, she was terrified to sing in front of an audience.
“I was extraordinarily shy and Jazz Attack forced me to sing…it helped me to come out of my shell.
“I wanted to be out there with the microphone and the cool tie,” she says adding Nap was one of the reasons she pushed through her shyness. “She expected a lot of us and she took music seriously…She helped me come out of my shell. If it wasn’t for her, I might still be singing in the dark.”
Warder went on to study music and now makes her living singing with orchestras and choral groups across the country and around the world.
And while the students obviously enjoyed it, Nap says she was touched by them as well. “it was not just about teachers teaching kids, kids were teaching the teachers, too.” And Nap says she still keeps in touch with many of her students.
That’s why it was strange to hand in her keys Thursday. “It was like I’d finally graduated.”