Profile: Leif Olsen


Sam Green

The piano accompanist for the Lincoln Cardinal Choir, junior Leif Olsen, stands in the hallway outside the band room.

Sam Green

The sun shines brightly through the large window of Lincoln High School’s band practice room where junior Leif Olsen plinks away at an electric piano. Watching students walk by on the patio, his fingers run loose, becoming deeply lost in the music of the moment.

Everyone in Lincoln’s Cardinal Choir knows Leif Olsen. For​​ the past three years, he has been the choir’s piano accompanist and has played a vital role at every single rehearsal.

“I first started playing piano when I was six years old,” says Olsen. “My mom decided to start me with piano early.”

Beyond his role as the Cardinal Choir accompanist, he is involved in numerous musical activities at Lincoln as well as professionally.

“[Something] I love to do at Lincoln is play in the jazz band,” Olsen says. “That’s really fun, because it expands my music skills beyond just a classical style of piano. I also help with the theater program when they produce musicals. I’ve worked with some choirs outside of school. I do a lot of stuff for the solo and ensemble competition.” 

Although Olsen says he loves his work, the pressure of this workload is undeniable.

“For our school talent show, Popcycles, this past show I was doing ten or eleven acts. Managing all the different performances and acts that I have to do all in one night, going on and off stage, that can be pretty stressful.”

However, despite the stress, Olsen’s love of music makes everything worth it.

“I do piano recitals at my piano teacher’s studio and a couple times when I’ve been performing, I just felt so alive and in the moment. It was daring, adventurous. I just felt wrapped up in the music and that was really fun.”

Olsen hopes to continue pursuing music in his future.

“I feel like a music major would be a really fun experience, but I also want to expand my horizons a little bit and open up more opportunities.”

To Olsen, playing music is more than just the average pastime. It is a powerful and unique experience that reflects a specific moment in time.

“To me, a lot of the beauty of music is that it’s art that is permanently fixed to a specific moment,” says Olsen. “Even if you play a song a million times, it’s never going to be the same twice.”