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11:07 AM Sun, Feb. 17th

Meet Your Neighbors: Keller-Robinett an accomplished songstress, skilled secretary

Lana Keller-Robinett's love of music developed at an early age.

"I've been singing since age 4," she said.

"I used to sing to my dolls and would gather up the neighborhood kids, hold them captive and sing to them."

At 8, she took piano lessons and made her public singing debut at 13 at the First Southern Baptist Church in Kingman.

Keller-Robinett has worked as executive secretary to superintendent Bob McNichols at the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Truxton Canyon Agency in Valentine for the past two years.

She augments her income there by singing professionally at weddings, funerals and special occasions.

She knows hundreds of songs and is always willing to learn new ones to accommodate listeners.

That was the case last year when she was called on to sing at the silver anniversary of longtime Kingman residents C.D.

and Leta Tyra.

"They wanted to hear Indian Love Call, which I'd never heard," Keller-Robinett said.

"She found somebody in town with a copy of the music, but there wasn't enough time for me to work it.

"So, I pulled up a listening file on the Internet, where I found and listened to it, then came up with an arrangement.

The Tyras were very happy."

Love songs that were former radio hits and Christian tunes are the staples she sings at weddings.

The more solemn atmosphere at a funeral is where she will perform such songs as "The Old Rugged Cross," "How Great Thou Art," "In the Sweet Bye and Bye" and "Amazing Grace."

"A lot of times at funerals old hymns are requested and sometimes they're so old they may not be in a hymn book," Keller-Robinett said.

"But someone there has heard the tune so I get them to sing a bit of it to me.

I pick it up quickly and sing it back."

Keller-Robinett said she has sung professionally for about 25 years.

She has done so at the 1989 Arizona Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix and the1990 Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International Convention in Phoenix.

The largest audience in front of which she performed was about 3,200 people in 1975 for a youth conference at the Southern Baptist Conference Center in Glorieta, N.M.

Keller-Robinett, a member of the Hualapai Indian Nation, was born and raised in Kingman.

She lived with Kingman residents Grover and Juanita Keller from the time she was two days old, and was adopted by the couple at age 5.

She did not meet her biological parents, Wayne and Marion Wataname Sr., until she was 25 and is gradually becoming comfortable with the tribe's customs, she said.

As far as her future singing ambitions, Keller-Robinett is preparing a demo tape of contemporary Christian songs to submit to a recording company in Albuquerque, N.M., in hopes that it may lead to a professional recording contract.

Keller-Robinett said she worked as a secretary for the city of Kingman during 1986-98 before joining the Truxton Canyon Agency.

In her spare time, she enjoys digital photography, desktop publishing and sewing clothes and crafts.

Neighbors is a feature that appears Monday in the Kingman Daily Miner.

If you have an interesting story you'd like to share, contact Terry Organ at 753-6397 ext.