Lynda Salina’s music heals the heart and more

Pat Van Dyke Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Pat Van Dyke
Columnist, The Friday Flyer

In 1820, author Washington Irving penned these words: “There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.”

These words, written so many years ago, fittingly describe Canyon Lake’s Lynda Horton Salina.

Lynda’s parents, Bob and Winnie Baughn, moved into Canyon Lake in 1986; only one year later, Lynda Horton and her husband Joe, both avid water skiers, found themselves as Canyon Lake homeowners.

a15-pic-1-unsung-hero-lynda-hortonJoe and Lynda, impressed with the community feel and rural atmosphere, felt it would be a great place to rear their two, soon-to-be three, sons. During the next seven years, Joe and Lynda were active members of the Canyon Lake community, participating in many of the social events and using the ammenities of the area.

One of Joe and Lynda’s favorite activities in Canyon Lake was bicycle riding, with Joe often taking a late afternoon ride before dinner. On the evening of March 15, 1994, Joe did just that; however, he did not return home at the expected time. Lynda received a phone call that he had been involved in an accident and rushed to Inland Valley Hospital. She and her family quickly arrived at the ER only to learn that Joe’s injuries had been fatal.

Lynda found herself a widow with three young sons, Aaron (13), Matt (7) and Chris (5). While going through the grieving process that one must face when a loved one dies, Lynda found herself at her piano, playing for peace and comfort. She found music to be her greatest means of therapy as she would sit and play, letting the healing tears fall.

Eight months later, Lynda’s life began to make a major turn.

a15-pic-2-lynda-n-husband-n-boysWhile attending a football game at Temescal Canyon High School, Chris Salina (also from Canyon Lake) noticed Lynda and asked some friends who she was. They shared that she was a recent widow, so Chris decided to keep his distance….but not for long. Several weeks later, at another game, he approached Lynda and spoke with her.

Lynda shares, “I thought he was really nice. He looked me up in the Canyon Lake directory, and called and asked me to dinner. I was so freaked out and nervous about going on a date!!! I finally said yes, I would go. He was so sweet and said that he knew my situation and, if I decided I wasn’t ready to go out, to call him and cancel ,and he would totally understand.  I went through with the ‘date’ and the rest is history! God must have known I was uncomfortable with the whole ‘dating’ thing, so He sent me the right man the first time around!”

At this same time, Lynda’s Bible Study members discovered that she could play the piano, and she was asked to play before a Christmas production. Her assignment was to play in the foyer as the attendees entered. She shares that it was a “Nordstrom’s Experience.”  She vividly remembers people doing a double take and referring to her as the “closet pianist.”

This first performance at Canyon Lake Community Church opened an entirely new world for Lynda. No longer was her talent hidden, but it sparked into a blaze which continues today.

a15-pic-7-chris-n-lynda-weddingLynda’s willingness to share her musical gift soon found its way to local schools and community centers.

Past groups that have benefited from Lynda outstanding ability include Corona High School, Temescal Canyon High School, Paloma Valley High School and Christian Youth Theater.

Currently she plays for the Canyon Lake Choraleers; The Colony Chorus; Menifee Valley Middle School Choirs; Heritage High School; Canyon Lake Community Church Choir, Orchestra and Praise Team; and occasionally at Cornerstone Church. She has also played for numerous weddings, funerals, luncheons and private parties. She plays “whenever and wherever I am called to do so!”

Lynda and Chris Salina were married September 23, 1995. Chris is Lynda’s biggest fan. When asked for his thoughts on his wife’s amazing talent, Chris shares: “I am blessed whenever I hear her play because I know she has a special God-given gift; a wonderful gift that other people can enjoy. I know many people can play the piano, but not many who can play at her level.”

Lynda’s career began early. At the age of 3, while she was sitting on the piano bench by herself, she managed to pick out the song, “Jesus Loves Me.”  When she was 5, she convinced her mother that she needed piano lessons.

Music then became a major part of her life and even extended into her time with her childhood friends. Much to the delight of her neighborhood friends, Lynda knew all the music of both “The Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins,” and she and her friends would spend hours singing the scores.

Lynda had the guidance of several memorable teachers. Her first teacher was Mrs. Collier, a little Irish lady who was very strict about proper fingering, which, looking back, served Lynda well in the coming years. But it was Mrs. Long who encouraged Lynda to “do your own thing and feel the music.”  Lynda’s musical ability blossomed under her instruction. “She taught me to put the expression into it so it became a thing of personal beauty and not just mechanical notes.”

But when it all gets down to the Canyon Lake accompanist extraordinaire, what are her thoughts about her talent? It’s simple. It’s not about Lynda. It’s about others. “I am extremely blessed to be able to give my gift of music back to my Lord by playing for worship at church. It is all from Him anyway! When playing for a funeral, I always feel so honored that I can bring the beauty of music and always pray that it will touch the grieving hearts and bring some comfort.

“I really love playing for the schools. It is so wonderful to see the young kids taking part in music. Music is so important!  And it brings back so many memories of when I was in school and played for the choirs! I have met so many wonderful and dear people in the community groups that I accompany. I am so happy that I can help out in this way and bring music into people’s lives.”

Lynda Salina is truly the Sound of Music in “A Little Bit of Paradise.”