The following is excerpted from the spring 2016 issue of The Magazine of Sigma Chi.
Beautiful music has always inspired Order of Constantine Sig Leon Peterson, UTAH 1961, and now he is encouraging young musicians to create it. It has been a natural progression for the affable gentleman who can't read a note, much less carry a tune.
“From a very early age I enjoyed beautiful music,” says Peterson. “The only two girls I ever dated were ballerinas, so I had their exposure to music. … I think beautiful music can make everybody's life better. I've coined a phrase, at least I think I've coined it, but if someone else said it, I'll defer. I say, ‘Music is what feelings sound like.'”
Those feelings are what has influenced him to offer financial assistance to budding young musicians and fundraise for the University of Utah’s School of Music. His efforts prompted the Fraternity to name him the Mark V. Anderson Character-in-Action™ Leadership Award winner for spring 2016.
Peterson’s love for music goes back to his undergraduate days. As a finance student, he took a music appreciation class at the University of Utah, and enjoyed it so much he repeated it with a different instructor as a way to expand his horizons. When Peterson went on his two-year Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission to England in 1958, he visited famous venues like Covent Gardens, which is home to the Royal Opera House, and Royal Albert Hall, which hosts performances by renowned musicians. Peterson says he saw the great musical talents of the time.
Peterson has also held free Sunday concerts at his ranch near Salt Lake City, and has donated money to help fund scholarships at the University of Utah School of Music. And most importantly, he has provided direct monetary support to musicians such as Aubree Oliverson, a 17-year-old violist who soloed at Carnegie Hall in New York City five years ago and studies at the Colburn Music Conservatory in Los Angeles. Peterson has also helped 13-year-old vocalist Lexi Walker, whose rendition with artist Alex Boye of the song Let It Go from the movie Frozen has garnered 75.9 million views on YouTube. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall and on the TV show America’s Got Talent.
(For the full story of Peterson’s support of the musical community, check out “Others’ Success is Music to His Ears” on page 8 of the spring 2016 issue of The Magazine of Sigma Chi. Also, visit sigmachi.org/character to nominate a deserving brother.)