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June 8, 2004

Leeds girl finds concert 'good, loud'

From: In-Forum (subscription), ND - Jun 8, 2004

By Patrick Springer, The Forum
Published Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Morgan Leapaldt was one of 18,223 pairs of ears at the Shania Twain concert Saturday at the Fargodome.

Hers undoubtedly were among the most enthusiastic.

The concert was a first for the 12-year-old – whose hearing was restored two months ago by a cochlear implant.

Morgan, who lost her hearing at the age of 7 months, offered a succinct review of the concert:

"Good. Loud."

That assessment was relayed Monday by her mother, Gay, who said her daughter bought three souvenir photos of the country star as mementos.

"When it first started she just started crying," Gay Leapaldt said. "I asked her what was wrong and she said, 'I'm just so happy.'"

The Leapaldts, who live on a farm near Leeds, N.D., had seats near the stage – but up high.

"We had to use binoculars to really see Shania," Gay said. "I'm glad we brought them."

Morgan is still learning to recognize and distinguish sounds. She followed the beat, sometimes dancing along with the rhythm, but had to struggle to track the vocals.

"She wouldn't sit still," her mother said.

The concentration of listening carefully to sort through all that audio stimulation proved taxing, however.

At the end of the concert, with a two-hour performance by the headline act, she was tired and had a headache.

Half an hour after the concert ended, Morgan turned off her processor, which converts sounds to digital code that are transmitted to the cochlea, a snail-shaped organ in the inner ear.

Sometimes, silence can be golden.

"She had a good time," Gay said. "When we were finished she said, 'I'm ready for another concert.'"

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

©2004 Forum Communications Co. Fargo, ND 58102 — All rights reserved