Music is a balm for me—it always has been. Since 6th grade, when I discovered I could make and play music by ear, it became my greatest form of therapy. I’ve spent countless hours crying over a piano, singing and playing to release or make sense of my emotions. Music has also helped me to express moments of greatest joy—like singing with sisters and bridesmaids on the day of my wedding or announcing the arrival of our first child.
In a way, I’ve come to see the competitive aspects of music performance (anything from high school show choir to competing for theater or opera roles) as unseemly blemishes on an otherwise sacred art form. To me, the core of music has always been community, emotional expression, and the creative pursuit of something beyond oneself.
It’s hard to calculate just how much my life has been affected through music and song. Both have shaped me; it’s impossible to know who or what I would be without them. Song, in particular, has given me a medium through which I can best and most comfortably serve and love others. Whether it’s singing and playing music from the '20s-'50s for the elderly in a nursing home, or singing for young children as educational outreach, song has always been the expression of the best I have to give. Simply, my life has been blessed beyond imagining because of the presence of music and song.
- Betsy Ley, Alto Heartland Vocal Artist