HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - “When the day came that I found I had musical talent, that was like being handed an extra Christmas present,” said Leon Bates.
At the age of six, Leon Bates discovered his passion.
“You really have to put your whole body and soul into the process; it's the most sincere form of expression,” shared Bates.
Sunday, the award-winning musician brought his talents to West Virginia to celebrate the 150th anniversary of historic Storer College.
"Between West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, its rich in history, and a lot of my music that's a part of my repertoire is from the 1800s," said Bates.
In the pews of Curtis Freewill Baptist Church, where the recital was held, sat a young man who was inspired by Bates to pursue his own passion for music.
“A lot of the types of music that he plays -- jazz and classical and George Gershwin -- I’m really familiar with those artists, so also, I wanted to meet a world-renowned musician,” said Ethan Baker attendee.
Baker is a budding musician. At the age of thirteen, he is already performing on large stages and in front of hundreds via his YouTube channel.
Like Bates, Baker said music is what moves him.
“I like being able to express the emotions and songs through my playing,” explained Baker.
Baker sat transfixed, like the rest of the audience, as Bates played his one-hour recital.
As the notes floated through the sanctuary, Bates reminded listeners to fully grasp the experience
“You must listen to the music to become more aware of what it has to offer and what it represents,” said Bates.