Singing takes me where I’ve always dreamed of going. Ever feel like that about your passion? Use your creativity or imagination, and you’re transported to a beautiful beach or breath-taking waterfall. Perhaps you’re hiking through the rain forest or viewing the lush heather of the highlands. Maybe you’ve become the hero or heroine of your favorite book or movie. That how I’ve always felt about singing.
My mom said that I was singing before I was speaking. At two, I began my singing career at church with the tiny tot’s choir. Church choirs and praise teams were the norms until 2010–choir and women’s ensemble in middle school, choir and Music Masters in high school, choir, and two different ensembles in college and being a paid choir member for two churches during my college days. Choirs for background vocals on several CDs and singing and recording with The Gary Bonner Singer for seven years in Southern California were beautiful highlights.
When we moved to Oregon, it was an honor to sing with the Eugene Opera Chorus, which was another dream come true. I sang in two, sometimes three choirs at the same time, most of the time. When counting the choirs and all the years I had been in them, the calculations made me laugh.
“I’ve been in choirs longer than I’ve been alive,” I joked with a friend. I do miss my choir days.
My only big dream was to sing. At thirteen, I began writing songs and poetry. After fifteen years of songwriting and playing guitar, my right shoulder was injured. I had to quit playing. Struggling to write music without my trusted friend was disheartening. My guitars sat in their cases, rarely played, while I wrote chords for someone else to play. As frustrating as that was, I am thankful to have known several talented guitarists and pianists that have played for me.
Nearly fifteen years later, I taught myself to play chord charts on the piano. Though I have a degree in music, my emphasis was in voice, not piano. As a child, conventional piano lessons were arduous for me. For some reason, my left hand didn’t like playing with my right hand. Like some siblings, my right and left hands just didn’t get along. Although stressful for me, after college, I taught private piano lessons to beginning students. I knew the rudiments, but couldn’t play much myself.
All in all, it took me a few years to develop my skill in playing chord charts. I must admit, I certainly have not arrived yet. But I play well enough to volunteer as a lobby pianist for a local hospital and accompany myself at concerts and church.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been songwriting for more than forty years. Maybe someday, I will hear one of my songs on the radio. What a thrill that would be!
It gladdens my heart to see someone moved by my music–concert attendees, anxious patients coming in and out of the hospital. Sometimes hospital employees on a much-needed break listen and relax. I like knowing I am making a difference in someone’s day. I love what I do.