When Mara Lund was a little girl, her mom gave her a princess microphone.

From that point forward, Lund was singing, and she has not stopped since.

Her passion for vocal music paid off for Lund earlier this year when she was afforded the chance to sing on a grander stage as part of the Minnesota state wrestling tournament at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul.

During the team tournament held Thursday, March 1 Lund sang the "National Anthem" in front of thousands of people. It was the largest live crowd Lund has ever sing for in her life.

That, she said, was an experience she will never forget.

“I have always been into music,” said Lund, who is a junior at Redwood Valley High School.

While Lund had the chance to sing in elementary school and recalled singing her first solo in third grade, she said it was not until she was in the sixth grade that she joined choir.

Always encouraged by her parents, Chad and Amy Lund, Mara said as a young girl her dad recorded a video of her singing a Lady Gaga song and posted it online.

“For me singing is my happy place,” said Lund, who is a member of the Redwood Valley High School choir and women’s ensemble.

Over the years Lund said she has performed the "National Anthem" more than a dozen times, adding it was during one of those local events that her chance to sing at the state wrestling tournament came to be.

“I sang it at the Riot (the local wrestling tournament held each December),” said Lund.

An individual who helps coordinate the state tournament for the Minnesota State High School League saw her there and then approached Andy Ourada, Redwood Area School District activities director, about the idea of having Lund sing at the state tournament.

Naturally when she was approached, Lund agreed to do it.

At first Lund said she was excited, and then as the day got closer she admitted there was a little bit of anxiety that creeped in to her mind. Yet when the time came, and she walked out on the wrestling mat at 5 p.m. that all went away and Lund did what she does best.

While Lund has performed a number of songs throughout her life, she said the "National Anthem" is special for her.

“For me, it is not just about singing it, it is about the story behind it,” said Lund, adding when it comes to singing the National Anthem she is a purist.

It is not about her when she sings it, she said, it is about showing respect, which she said is why she doesn’t like to add the musical acrobatics others do.

She thinks that just draws attention to the singer rather than it being about the song.

Yes, Lund agreed, singing the National Anthem is challenging, adding it is one of the most difficult songs to sing because of the range but also because it is such a familiar song. So, everyone knows when you get it wrong.

Lund does not use background music when she sings, adding she likes presenting it a cappella.

It was during a local baseball game when Lund said she sang the "National Anthem" for the first time, and since then she has presented it in a number of venues. Later this summer she is going to sing it during Redwood County Relay For Life.

Lund has also performed solos at events including this past fall’s homecoming coronation.

She was selected to participate in the Dorian Music Festival this winter, and she is currently working on a piece in Italian for the solo and ensemble contest in May.

Lund is an Alto II in the concert choir, adding at times she also sings tenor.

Performing is part of Lund’s nature. In addition to singing in the choir, Lund has also been involved in the high-school theater department and was involved in this year’s three-act play and the One-Act play. She is also involved in the National Honor Society, serves as an officer for the junior class and is helping prepare for Prom 2018 as a member of that planning committee.

When it comes to music, Lund said she enjoys ballads, adding she really appreciates soulful music that allows the performer to pour their heart into what they are presenting. Lund said she has been keeping a log of her musical performances, adding she intends to use that as she starts looking at life after high school.

“I want to sing in college,” said Lund.

Whether it is participating in choir during the school day or singing in the car on trips with her mom, Mara Lund can’t help but use her voice to make music.

In fact, if it were up to her she just might sing all day long.