I love to sing.
I've been singing since I was a little little girl. One of the first singing memories I have is when I was about 4 or 5 years old. We were living in Columbus, Georgia, and my father taught some people in our ward there how to sing "Give Said the Little Stream" in Spanish. I don't remember too much about it, just being in a gym, and singing it as a family for the ward.
Then I remember when I was still in Georgia (I think) I sang a solo in church. I sang one verse of the Hymn "Oh How Lovely Was the Morning". I don't remember how it ended up that me, a mere 6-year old at the most (we moved from Georgia to Utah before I started first grade) sang this song, but I'm pretty sure that I did.
When I was a little older, I would listen to our recording of Amahl and the Night Visitors, and I would imagine that I was playing the part of Amahl. It was kind of a hard thing for me, because Amahl is a little crippled boy, and I was a little non-crippled girl. But, I've always had a healthy imagination, so I managed.
When I was a little bit older, (probably 10 or so) I decided that I wanted to sing "The Rainbow Connection" for our family reunion talent show. I told my mom, and she got me a copy of the song, and arranged to have my Aunt Liz play for me. So, I practiced at home in Southern Utah, and Liz practiced (not very much, because she was already a master pianist) at her home in Northern Utah, and then we met up in my Uncle Scott's cabin and I sang it for my great big extended family. I remember after I was done singing, my cousin Emil, who was serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the program, made a joke that someday soon there would be a young man who would want to sing along with me or something like that. Emil was right, but I don't think he imagined it would take 25+ years for me to find and be found by that young man.
I could go on, but this is probably long enough. I was in many choirs in high school and college, and I took voice lessons for many years, and I've taught voice lessons for a few years as well. I've recorded three very amateur CD's, I've given two pretty amateur recitals, and I've sung at more funerals than I care to remember. I'm strictly a hobby singer, but I have to say that I can't think of many hobbies that are more enjoyable or rewarding than this one.
Singing is like nothing else I've ever experienced. Even better, depending on what kind of music I'm singing (be it classical, folk, religious, popular, or whatever else), the experience varies within itself as well. If I were to count up the top 25 "most joyful" times of my life, I would guess that at least 16 of them would center around a singing opportunity that I experienced.
It's a beautiful gift, being able to sing. It's allowed me to meet people I might never otherwise have met. It's allowed me to feel emotions and happiness that I might never otherwise have felt. It's allowed me to be a blessing to others in a way that I never would have guessed I could. I don't mean to sound boastful or proud, because as I said, I am just a hobby singer. I work at an opera company, and so I have the chance to hear great professional singing quite frequently. I know what truly great singing sounds like, and I am no truly great singer. But, I'm a good singer, and more importantly, I thoroughly enjoy being able to sing.
And that's what matters most to me.