Ever since I was young, I loved singing. I started singing in church. Two of the first songs I remember singing as solos were “Without Him” and “Little Drummer Boy.” I remember going around with my parents as my dad sang in a gospel quartet, and for some reason, I remember the tenor singing his rendition of “He Touched Me.” After hearing that angelic voice and listening to those tight harmonies, I was hooked!
Singing didn’t stop there for me though. My sister would have her friends over, and we would record “music videos,” where we would come up with choreography, and I would sing lead. We had a pretty good rendition of “Rockin’ Robin!” (Those videos are hopefully LONG gone!)
When I got into middle school, I had my first exposure to a choir. We were not great by any stretch of the imagination, but we had a good time! Mr. Mason helped cultivate our love of music and provided a good foundation for high school. One of the first times I sang outside of church was in his sixth-grade general music class!
High school was where I fell in love with music and realized it was an integral part of my life. Mr. Bullock showed through his own passion the importance of music and the idea of musicality. I will never forget the trips we took, the music we sang, and the memories made. Choir in high school gave me a place to belong that I hadn’t experienced before in the school setting. I was able to be part of barbershop quartets and vocal jazz ensembles, play Danny Zuko in a production of GREASE, and perform a Garth Brooks song on Senior Night!
By the time I went to Cumberland University for college, I knew music was something I needed. Unfortunately, I was dissuaded from majoring in music from the beginning because I needed a degree that was going to lead to a career that could really support me, and a music degree apparently did not cover that. As my (now) colleagues can tell you, the journey to find my major was long and winding, and I did end up majoring in vocal performance and mathematics, picking up a chemistry minor along the way.
College is also where I started playing music professionally. I joined a band right out of high school as a keyboardist, and I played shows with them, earning my first few dollars as a musician. A couple of years later, I started my own band - Whitetail Junction - and we started playing regularly enough that I did not have to work another job while I was in school. Cumberland is where I met Lee and Ryan, two of my best friends and members of every band that I put together. I’m so thankful for meeting them and the experiences we had!
Even in graduate school, I couldn’t stay away from music. I’m thankful the Tarleton choral director was gracious enough to let me perform and even travel with them. I honestly don’t think I would have stayed and completed graduate school if I hadn’t done that. I love math, don’t get me wrong, but I needed music, and that filled that void.
Now I’m teaching mathematics full-time at Cumberland University, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to go back to my alma mater and work to improve the lives of students with the same people who made positive impacts on my life. Along with that, I’m playing more music than I ever have prior to this point. The whole COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on my live shows, just like it’s impacted everyone, but I’m still growing and experiencing more with music, and I love it! I even have music on all the streaming platforms, which blows my mind!
Where the Road is Going - Lain Tomlinson & The Lost Troubadours
If I haven’t made it obvious by this point, music is a part of me. It’s a gift I’ve been given, and I can’t deny myself the opportunities to share my passion with others. Where that leads me, I don’t know. I mentioned that I enjoyed teaching, but I also wouldn’t mind traveling the world playing music either! I just know that whatever and wherever I end up, music will always be a part of my life. I’m thankful for those who showed me the magic and beauty behind music, even if I don’t always perform like I was taught in my voice lessons.
What is your passion in life? I know I just wrote about music, but we all have different gifts and talents and creative outlets that we need to make sure we don’t bottle up. Tell me about yours and how I can support it in the comments!