The Singing Therapist

“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.” - Kahlil Gibran

Work, in general, can have so many stressors that can weigh you down and it’s nice to have a good outlet to unload. I’m a big believer in getting out there to see what the world has to offer and what new soul searching adventures life has in store for me and it turns out, you don’t have to go too far, or even spend too much to find ways to express yourself and ease some of that mental burden.

Here in the 573 we’re blessed to have so many creative outlets and ways to express ourselves and satisfy our souls. With so many different art related activities to choose from, it can be difficult or even overwhelming, trying to find something that speaks to you and really helps you shake off the day. I myself enjoy a wide variety of different art forms, but the one that seems to soothe my soul the most is music, and it turns out that there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way.

Meet Kathy Waggoner; Local Therapist, Vocal Artist, Matriarch, and more recently... Karaoke Guru.

A busy woman indeed, Kathy is a devoted wife, mother of 10, grandmother of 41, great grandmother of 3, veteran, BACA member, counselor, teacher, and singer. Dubbed the Singing Therapist by several of her clients and colleagues, Kathy has been making quite the reputation for herself and that’s just the kind of thing that piques our interest.

We’ve been fortunate enough to have Kathy come and host Natural Solutions Care-aoke at a couple of our events this year, including the 573 Chalk Arts Festival and the BIG 573 YARD SALE and we could not have been more impressed. On top of having an excellent set up, and a large variety of music, Kathy was kind, fun, and had one amazing set of lungs! A Farmington Counselor with a heart of gold, a velvety voice and a phenomenal presence she commanded the attention of all who were in ear shot and had an audience gathered in no time at all. So obviously, we here at 573 were intrigued and just had to know more.

How did you get into doing karaoke and how long have you had your set up?

“I have always loved singing..."

“I have always loved singing, and dreamed of one day doing it professionally, but don’t have a very big range, so I never really thought I could. In church I couldn’t go as high as the music, and I couldn’t hit all the notes when I sang along with the radio. So I would sing to my kids all the time, but never sang in front of other people. However when I sang to my kids acapella, I could sing the whole song, I just never understood how.

I learned about finding my key around the same time I discovered karaoke and the ability to change keys on my selected songs, which was around age 30. I never learned to play an instrument that I could sing with and so dreamed of having my own karaoke set up and eventually got a machine to play discs. I enjoyed it, a great deal and used to lug this big ole machine around to family functions, church events, and even played for a few parties. I thought then about trying to do karaoke as a side job, but that big ole thing was not really very professional for big gigs.

That machine gave out on me after about 5 or 6 years (I wore it out) and my kids all got together and bought me a computer with a karaoke set up as a present in 2009. I could not believe it.. what a wonderful gift! From the time I was a little girl I had dreamed of being like Doris Day and singing at night clubs, lounging on the piano, or starring in musicals on the silver screen. I would love to have been in a band as a vocalist, but without being able to play an instrument, no one was really interested. It’s also hard to find bands that will play older music, and my favorite genre is 40’s & 50’s music.

The new karaoke machine was perfect for me. Easy to carry and set up, could be filled with thousands of songs, and of course allowed for my kids to be able to have their favorites as well. Since then that has proven to be a wonderful gathering tool with my grown children and grandchildren at family events. They all are musically talented in their own right (we could have been the Partridge family! lol), and every one of them have a good singing voice even if they are too afraid to let it out. Guess they got that from Mom. Lol”

How long have you been a practicing counselor?

“I have been in the mental health field since the early 1990’s. I went back for my masters degree in the late 90’s graduated, completed my supervision and was fully licensed in 2005. I started my own private practice, Natural Solutions, on the side in 2009 while working with other agencies, and moved all of my focus to it in 2016 when I left the last agency I worked with and went into ‘working retirement’ Lol.”

Have you ever sang professionally?

"I have been asked often to sing for weddings, anniversaries, church functions, birthdays, and special events. I’ve been told if you get paid for it, then it’s professional, so I guess you could say that. Lol. I also made a CD, but it was mainly for family. I never tried to sell any because I didn’t seek rights on the music."

“Where words fail, music speaks.” - Hans Christian Andersen

Brunette woman with sunglasses and black leather biker vest sings into classic chrome microphone under a large tree

What was your most exciting or notable performance?

“I guess I would have to say it was when I got to sing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.. lol.. not like a celebrity.. I was in a contest.. but it is my brag that I got to stand on that big star in the middle of that wonderful stage and sing one of my very own songs. It was a song I had written as tribute to my Father who was one of my biggest influences. What made the experience even sweeter was the fact that it was family who had made it all happen.

We’ve never had a lot of money and could never have afforded the registration fee or travel expenses for me to participate on our income. Knowing it was my lifelong dream to feel like a star, my husband and children spent several weeks collecting aluminum cans off the roadsides and change donations from a funds can they set up at the Patton Junction in order to get me to Nashville and on that stage. It was a wonderful gift, and an experience I will treasure always.”

You mentioned your Father being one of your biggest influences. Can you tell me a little more about him, growing up, and some of your other influences?

“I was raised in a musical family. My father had such a beautiful voice, he sounded like a cross between Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, two of my favorite performers. He also sang from the diaphragm, (obviously where I got it) and so had a loud, strong voice. I remember noting how people looked at him in church and felt pride that people admired his voice. He and his brothers would get together often for good old fashioned German gathering lots of music and beer. They could harmonize out of this world. Daddy told me he once had an offer to sing with one of the big bands, I can’t remember who, I think maybe it was Harry James, but he was