WELCOME TO LEAH WAYBRIGHT AND INNERTAINMENT!
Please enjoy your time here and check back from time to time for updates on everything new. Leah has written and produced a museum-quality gift book, Beauty Gone Wild about the myth, magic and folklore of flowers and put the stories to music. If you want to pull the curtain back and read the story so far on Beauty Gone Wild please proceed to the story page. To select a sample of some music, read what the critics have said about the project, or to place an order, please proceed to the music page. You can also place an order on the contact page. There are some examples of the illustrations from the book on the gallery page. If you wish to contact Leah about Beauty Gone Wild, a wildflower presentation, a floral design program, or a piano performance or her piano teaching please click here.
Leah is a country girl, born and raised on a dairy farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Mason-Dixon line runs right through the family property, so you could say she grew up in the state of Maryland too. Her family were farmers and gardeners and have a long history of growing their own food and working the land. Since the passing of her mother, the pre-Civil War house her family restored from 1743 is now a bed and breakfast here.
Leah studied piano from a young age and also played flute and alto sax in the Gettysburg high school band. After discovering Barbara Watkins at a summer camp, she was so taken by her piano technique that she decided to audition for and attend James Madison University to study piano under Barbara's father, Dr. Lowell Watkins. Dr. Watkins was also the father of Kit Watkins, later of the progressive art-rock band Happy the Man. Following school and over the span of several years, Leah had musical stints with two all-female rock bands and a handful of collaborations with various solo artists. One of the rock bands "Tommie," based in San Francisco, featured Nancy Wenstrom, a guitar player known in the bay area for her work with Grace Slick and Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane and Starship. It was after "Tommie" and upon her return to the East Coast that Leah began sowing the seeds for Beauty Gone Wild. Leah was elated to finally be writing and performing all her own material without limitations or compromises. The project was several years in the making, as the book had to be written, designed and fully illustrated, not to mention writing, recording, mixing and mastering the music. Soon the word was out on Leah and her solo piano perfomances at local wine bars and coffeehouses were establishing a growing local following. Around this time, Leah's sparkling performances naturally evolved into her becoming a sought-after piano teacher. Over the years, Leah has developed her own teaching style that emphasizes all the fundamentals, but also encourages creativity, experimentaion, self-expression and composition - even with the youngest of beginners.
In addition to her piano skills, Leah also has a diverse background in many other areas. Leah attended the Cappa Chell finishing and modeling school in the Washington D.C. area and had a brief career as a fashion model. A few photo shoots and fashion shows later, she found modeling simply didn't suit her personality. She wanted to pursue her love of nature and decided to attend Michael Polychrones School of Floral Design, in Springfield, Virginia. Subsequently, Leah spent a number of years designing in floral shops in Virginia, Washington D.C., San Francisco and New York; eventually working her way up to being granted the prestigious American Institue of Floral Designers designation. Leah is an enviromental activist, an expert nature preservationist, an award-winnng floral designer, a garden club lecturer and a conservationist. Leah is an instructor of floral design at the New York Botanical Garden and has been teaching there since 1988. In 1996 she had a desire to volunteer her expertise, so she could give something back - cultivating and nurturing flowers - instead of snipping them off and using them in awesome designs.
This led her to Teatown Lake Reservation in Ossining, New York, where volunteering soon ushered her into a paying job as the curator in charge of the Wildflower Island. The Wildflower Island at Teatown is a magical and serene nature preserve, an island in the middle of a lake, featuring an abundance of rare and endangered native plants and flowers. Leah carries with her a distinct love and passion for nature, and she is an avid bird watcher and organic gardener. She spearheaded a successful initiative along with New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, to plant wildflowers along the Taconic Parkway. She was recently the president of the New Horizons Garden Club and gives lectures, floral design programs and wildflower presentations to other garden clubs and nature gatherings throughout the New York metropolitan area. Leah has repeatedly been the featured floral designer at the prestigious Stone Barns Center on the Rockefeller Estate in Pocantico Hills as well as at the Lasdon Arboretum in Somers, New York. These successful satellite programs are sponsored by the New York Botanical Garden. Her activities have been featured prominently and repeatedly on Channel 12 in Westchester and in the Journal News.
It seems to be happening to me all over again! So sorry that I have not been able to keep up with the news on this site. It has proven once again to be such a busy but incredibly rewarding and enriching life. For all of you who have asked, I don't normally post any dates and times of flower shows and wildflower presentations here, as nearly all of them are closed to the general public and are by "invitation only." Between the speaking engagements and floral presentations, the various activities at the "Wildflower Island" at Teatown, my Garden Conservancy and Master Gardener obligations, teaching floral design for the NYBG, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and Bard College - well it's such a busy time! Of course, I curently have 16 piano students, and growing organic food in the home garden - well you get the idea - there hasn't been much time leftover to keep this website up to date! I suppose when it all comes down to it, I must also confess that I am not much of a computer person.
I would like to send out a special thanks to all the tri-state area garden clubs who have invited me to speak - I continue to enjoy the process of formulating custom presentations for all of you. Also a salute to all the good folks who purchased Beauty Gone Wild. A heartfelt thanks from me for supporting the artist and the arts.
Many of my hardest working piano students continue their studies with me over the summer, a nod goes out to them for their dedication. Trying to find the time to focus on my music and fire up the piano so I can lay down some piano tracks for a new project. Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for all the emails and the requests to elaborate on Leah's activities. It seems like it is always a busy, but rewarding time. Leah won a first place blue ribbon for a miniature floral design recently and got several first place ribbons for her horticulture submissions - at a regional competition for the New Horizons Garden Club at Lasdon Arboretum.
She also took first place at a Rockefeller State Park charity event, for a floral design she created in support of the blooming of the peonies. The peonies were donated by the Japanese to the Rockefeller State Park, as a tribute to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11. At the time the flowers were donated and planted, the Japanese also sent a crew to help install the flowers and provided guidance to the park on how to maintain and care for them. If you haven't seen the display, it is really worth a trip over to the park to see them when they are blooming. She also won the first place award this year - for "Best Use of Peonies" in this prestigious competition for charity.
Leah was honored to entertain the Judge's Council at the Federated Garden Clubs of Pennsylvania's Annual Convention, at the Hyatt Convention Center at Penn's Landing, in Philadelphia. Sponsored by Longwood Gardens, it was a VERY tough room especially with the presence of the National Garden Club President, Shirley Nicolai in attendance. Leah created on the spot seven amazing designs which were subsequently raffled off - to the delight of the attendees - at the end of the program. At this point, Leah creates her designs much like a chef - heading to the floral wholesaler only to pick and choose the flowers that are unique, special and fresh that day - and then creates her designs extemporaneously based on her feelings at the moment. Leah completely wowed the audience with her amazing talent and creativity - and in watching her, it is hard to believe how much of the program was improvised around a few simple props and containers. Leah has become fluent and intuitive at thinking way outside the box and bending - even breaking the rules. Her designs never cease to amaze and delight her audience - no matter what level of education and sophistication. It was gratifying to this council of judges to see that she incorporates so many plants, greens, grasses, ferns and mosses from the woods and garden - along with the flowers she purchases from the local wholesalers. And the judges were very grateful, heaping on the praise afterwards and providing enthusiastic applause as the designs unfolded. Nearly everyone in the audience worked their way to the front to snap phots of the completed designs.
She is spending her time getting the Wildflower Island open for the season, giving tours, nurturing the seedlings for the home garden, working at the Master Gardner's and Teatown plant sales - and is currently getting her piano students ready for their June piano recital.
Leah completed all of her course requirements at Cornell University and has earned the Master Gardener designation. Congratulations to Leah for all the hard work and to be awarded this prestigious honor. Her father was a Master Farmer, so it's only fitting that she follow in her father's footsteps as a Master Gardner!
Leah has been selected as Wildflower Chairman, Federated Garden Clubs, Ninth District, State of New York. The Ninth District extends from approximately the Newburgh, New York, area on the north edge - down to New York City - and includes the five boroughs. Leah is honored to assume this position and will pour her energy and dedication into making the best of this fine opportunity.
Stay tuned, there are rumblings about a new plan for Beauty Gone Wild in the new year, and a new record is in the works!