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Sarah Stapleton, wearing a Laurier convocation robe, poses with her grandparents
Sarah Stapleton (centre) with "Grampy and Gramma"

The perfect gift: Sarah Stapleton (BMus ’21) celebrates her love for Laurier with a named seat

In December, when Music alumna Sarah Stapleton (BMus ’21) gave her gift wish-list to her grandparents, one item stood out immediately.

“We always ask Sarah for Christmas gift suggestions,” says her grandfather, Garry Chase. Along with the usual Taylor Swift merchandise, Stapleton has listed a named seat in the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall.

“Knowing that Laurier is so very special to her, we thought this was a wonderful opportunity, and we immediately made the donation,” Chase says.

While seats are still available, donors can “save their seat” in the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall – with a $500 gift to the Making Space for Music campaign, a message of your choice will be showcased on a refurbished seat in the Faculty of Music’s main performance space.

Stapleton and her grandparents, who she calls “Gramma and Grampy,” have always had a close relationship. “I often describe them as my second parents and can’t imagine my life without them,” she says. Stapleton is currently living in Australia, but says the geographic distance hasn’t diminished their relationship.

“When I first went away to Laurier, we kept in touch over the phone and through text,” she says. “Thanks to technology, living on the other side of the world doesn’t feel too different than living on the other side of the province.” 

Back in 2017, Stapleton’s dream of teaching music led her to arrange a campus tour and trial voice lesson at Laurier.

“Grampy was the person who brought me to Laurier for this initial visit, and the second I set foot on campus I knew I had found my home,” she says. 

Chase confirms that Stapleton’s choice was made before they made it home to Ottawa. “I called my wife and said ‘I think we just lost our little girl,’” he jokes. “And the rest is history!”

Stapleton describes her Laurier experience as the highlight of her life that fundamentally changed her as a person.

“I entered Laurier as someone very focused on perfectionism and getting things right,” she says. “I left Laurier as someone dedicated to infusing their work with play, care, joy, curiosity and love.”

“Virtually every Laurier Music staff member has profoundly impacted me in some way,” Stapleton says, but she singles out Professor Kimberly Barber whose mentorship transformed her life, as well as former Faculty of Music Dean Glen Carruthers. “I feel so privileged to have known Dr. Carruthers and to have been one of many students whose lives he touched during his time as Dean,” she says.

While Stapleton says it was the Laurier community that changed her life for the better – from the close-knit feel of the Waterloo campus that first day in 2017 to the support and inspiration she shared with her classmates and engaged faculty members – the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall represents the physical space where everything came together.

“The recital hall feels like the place I grew up and became myself. It is an incredible honour to know that my name will have a place in that building, and even more so knowing that it is part of a project that began with Glen Carruthers,” she says. “It is a place where I built friendships, became inspired by so many beautiful artists, teachers and colleagues, and a place where I learned to open my heart and dare to show up as my whole self.”

Stapleton had the opportunity to choose which refurbished seat to name, and selected a seat that commemorated her own experience while fostering connection to future Laurier students.

“I selected this location because it is a seat where my friends and I often sat when attending recitals, which I felt would honour our shared experiences during our time at Laurier. It is also directly beside the gap in seating where people walk through, and I love the opportunity to have a seat so close to where many future students will walk,” she says. “And I chose seat number 13 to reflect the lucky number of my favourite singer, Taylor Swift.”


Save Your Seat! Your $500 donation to the Making Space for Music Campaign will name a refurbished seat in the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall. Seats will have a plaque that showcases your chosen message within a 25-character limit. Selection of seat location is based on availability. You will receive a tax receipt for the full amount of your gift. 

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