Since its construction wrapped in 1999, the Leonard Auditorium has been used at HSE for presentations, assemblies, speeches, movies, and shows like the annual Mr. Royal and Spring Musical. But who is the Leonard Auditorium named after?
South Pacific, the World War II era story of love and prejudice, was the first drama production in the auditorium. However, the inauguration ceremony for the new stage saw a different kind of act, a performance by the acapella group Rockapella.
In 1986, four college students, Sean Altman, Elliott Kerman, Steve Keyes and David Stix, founded the music group in New York.
Rockapella made their debut by performing the theme song of the television series Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? The show, airing from 1991-1996, challenged young viewers to catch international thief Carmen Sandiego as she traveled across the world and aimed to teach them geography as they solved mysteries to find her. Rockapella still performs the theme song at shows, and did so in the Leonard Auditorium back in 1999.
But what does this have to do with the naming of the auditorium?
Before, in 1991, a new member had replaced Scott Keyes in Rockapella. The new member was none other than Scott Leonard. He had been raised here in Indianapolis and had attended Lawrence North High School. Leonard took the open space in the group after leaving his previous job singing at Disneyland. Throughout the nineties, Rockapella made notable appearances on television and opened for big acts like Styx and Billy Joel. They are still together today, still performing, and Scott Leonard is still a member.
However, Scott is not the “Leonard” that the auditorium is named after. The name above the doors is Dr. Charles D. Leonard. In fact, that name can be found all over schools in the area.
Dr. Leonard served as the superintendent of the district for sixteen years from 1984-2000. During this period of expansion in the district, such buildings as Lantern Road Elementary, New Britton Elementary, Harrison Parkway Elementary and the Leonard Auditorium were constructed. HSE News asked history teacher Janet Chandler, who has taught here since 1979, about Dr. Leonard and his involvement in the school and the community.
“Dr. Leonard was always very supportive,” Chandler said. “He went to all of the elementary school musicals and was impressed with the quality of work of those elementary students.”
Leonard was notably a patron of the arts, and the auditorium was named after him at the end of his time as superintendent. Scott Leonard, one of his two sons, performed here with Rockapella to celebrate the establishment and his father. The mystery is solved!
Now in his seventies, Dr. Leonard retired after coming back for a term as interim superintendent.
“He’s still in Hamilton County. I see him every once in a while,” Chandler said. “Sometimes I’ve seen him at basketball games, he’s a big athletic person as well. For a long time he worked as a baseball official for the [Indiana High School Athletics Association], I’ve seen him umpire before. Both of his sons live in Florida, so he visits them some.”
The Leonard Auditorium honors Dr. Leonard’s dedication to the arts and the community by bringing students together to be entertained and educated . The 2016-2017 Spring Musical, Oklahoma!, runs March 9th, 10th, and 11th at 7 o’clock in the auditorium. Don’t miss it!