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Upstate Leisure: Why Sue Milliman loves singing

Sue Milliman of Lakeland, a human resources assistant at Upstate‘s Community Campus, has a passion for music that began in childhood. She sings soprano and has played the piano since age 5.

* “I‘ve been singing as long as I‘ve been talking. My first solo was in elementary school. I did the verse of ‘White Christmas,‘ and then the chorus came in.

“My mother sings. She was the choir director, and we sing in the choir at church. I‘ve always had music.”

* “It‘s my sanity. You have a bad day at work or at home or whatever, but you go to rehearsal or go sing in a concert, and it‘s like being in a different world.”

* “It‘s a social thing. It‘s kind of a bond to participate in something together, together as a choir. You‘re getting across the message of the music. It‘s a bond. You go through rehearsals, and sometimes you think ‘oh, my goodness, we‘re never going to get this.‘ And then you get to the concert, and it comes together.”

* “I like all kinds of music. I sing with the Syracuse Chorale. We do some classical concerts. Then we also have a cabaret in the springtime. I also sing with Master‘s Touch Chorale. That‘s a Christian singing group. We do everything from Beethoven to bluegrass.

“I rehearse once a week for Syracuse Chorale and once a week for church choir from October to June. Then for the Master‘s Touch, we have concerts or rehearsals every other week. Of course at home, I‘m warming up and going over parts that I need to.

“I sing in the shower. That‘s kind of where I do my warmups. The shower has great acoustics. And I sing when I‘m driving. I‘m sure people think I‘m crazy driving down the road.”

* “It‘s so hard to pick one favorite song. My favorite hymn, I would say is ‘Amazing Grace.‘ And a favorite song would be ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.‘ ”

* “One of the ladies who I sing with in the Syracuse Chorale went to the Berkshire Choral Festival in Sheffield, Mass., and she came back just raving about it. The whole festival is four weeks during the summer. I go for one week. It‘s like fantasy camp for musicians. You‘re just surrounded by music all week. There are people from college age up through the 70s. A lot of them are music teachers.”

* “Music affects people emotionally. You can go to a concert or be immersed in a show and just get caught up in the music, and it‘s hard to put into words. There‘s something that I learned a long time ago that says ‘it‘s easy to believe that God hears music above all else.‘ It just can carry you to a different place. It‘s emotional. It can be spiritual. It can be uplifting. It can be what you need it to be.

“I would be lost without music in my life. I know that.”