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Music from the heart

Lollie Hampton’s gift of music is one that keeps on giving.

Involved in music her entire life, she realizes its importance in the life of a child. But she also realizes that high costs of singing lessons often prevent children from practicing their musical talents which is why she offers the gift of music for free.

About three years ago she began offering free singing lessons to children no matter the musical genre.

“Singing lessons are expensive and music shouldn’t be expensive. It should come from the heart and soul,” she said, referring to one of her reasons for offering lessons for free.

Although she is a former opera singer, Hampton says it doesn’t matter what type of music the child would like to learn.

“I teach music in an unconventional way, I teach to where they’re comfortable,” Hampton said.

Needing a place other than her apartment to teach lessons, her bowling partner Bonnie Niemy and her husband David Niemy opened up their home to Hampton and her students.

The Niemys’ daughter Ashley, 17, was one of Hampton’s first students and is now a senior at Central Kitsap High School.

“When you’re here, you feel confident,” Ashley Niemy said. “When you’re working with a large scale you feel as if you’re not good, but Lollie has a way of making everyone feel they can pull through.”

Hampton began singing at the age of 3 and has sung at several venues over the years including the Seattle Opera and the San Francisco Opera when she was younger. She and her husband Butch raised eight children and now have 23 grandchildren. Her children are grown and she is happy to return to music.

“I wanted to do something special for children that I couldn’t do for years, I wanted to give back,” she said.

Although she and her husband live only on retirement and social security she says she doesn’t believe in charging for singing lessons because she wants to give back to children.

“It’s my goal to give them an opportunity,” Hampton said.

She now has 10 students and says she has dreams of an entire chorus.

“I have a lot of dreams for the children,” she said. “I see so much potential in my students.” For more information on Hampton’s singing lessons, call her at (360) 307-8853.

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