Having been baptized, confirmed and married at First Presbyterian Church, Abbie’s musical family instilled in her a desire to share her God-given talents as a worship leader at a young age. Over 40 years, Abbie’s faith has grown through music and worship leadership at Methodist, Lutheran (ELCA), United Church of Christ, and Presbyterian congregations as well as Bible Study Fellowship and Job’s Daughters. Abbie graduated from Drake University with a Music Business degree (pipe organ/church music emphasis), and she continues to grow at annual Calvin Worship Symposium attendance.
In addition to leading the contemporary music team and creating weekly worship visuals, Abbie leads worship at the piano at the same service her mother, Teresa Leithold, played for 50 years at First Pres! Daughters Camille and Audrey often join Abbie in music ministry at Sunday and Wednesday worship while husband, Dave, is in the visual booth. Abbie truly believes that music is a gift from God that should be unreservedly shared back to God, no matter the level of ability, and that we are specifically directed in the Bible to worship with music. Participation in worship has never been one of “performance” or “what did I get out of it?” In choosing music for worship, Abbie depends on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help select the right songs to engage the congregation in worship, not just picking favorite tunes. At the end of worship, Abbie asks “How did the music help the congregation enter into worship?” not “How well did I (we) play?”
As a Music Advocate, Abbie encourages music-making at all levels for all ages and all abilities through her management and marketing roles at Leithold Music in Historic Downtown La Crosse and through organizations like La Crosse Concert Band and UWL Choral Union. In addition to attending Audrey’s musical performances with Dave and their moms, Abbie looks forward to family game nights, cooking for her family, Disney princess movies, all things Harry Potter, puns, and curling in the occasional bonspiel.