A Christmas Tradition of Making Music
Music is an important part of just about everyone’s Christmas, whether it’s Christmas carols at the church Christmas program, a rerun of Bing Crosby singing in ‘White Christmas’, or the incessant Muzak playing at the malls. As a singer and musician, Christmas music is an especially important part of my Christmas. I have been making music for the holidays since I was a teenager playing the organ in a little Baptist church, and it continues to be an important part of my Christmas celebration every year.
I have made Christmas music just about everywhere. In that small church, at the school where I taught for many years, in the televised choir of a large suburban congregation, in the back of a truck on a Christmas caroling hayride, on a barge floating down the San Antonio River with the Boy Scouts, for church senior groups, in the dining rooms and halls of nursing homes. I’ve made Christmas music in every one of those places. My opportunities to make Christmas music grew exponentially when I learned to play the dulcimer and ukulele. My dulcimer group, The San Antonio Slow Jam, is still in the learning stage, but we make plenty of Christmas music nevertheless! Hopefully in a year or two we will be able to perform publicly and share our music with the people of San Antonio.
My husband and I also belong to San Antonio’s Ukulele Ladies and Gents. This group is a performing band and has become quite accomplished over the years. This group is special to me in that it offers me the opportunity to take to the mic every so often, complete with forty ukuleles, forty backup singers and a bass behind me. We play all kinds of music, including lots of island songs, and perform for just about anyone who wants to listen! With this group, I have expanded my holiday repertoire beyond the usual Christmas carols and radio and movie songs to include Hawaiian Christmas music, complete with hula dancers and red and green Aloha shirts. And we sing them in Hawaiian! Of course, we do other Christmas songs also. The ukulele group plays many different places, including parades and churches and libraries and a lot of nursing homes. I love going into the nursing homes, especially the Alzheimer’s units. It constantly amazes me that the residents can remember the words to a Christmas carol when they’ve lost so much else. I also love singing with school choirs and the young ukulele players accompanying them. Although we play for someone or something every month, the holidays tend to be our busy season. So far, we have four performances scheduled for December. And that’s so far. There may be more.
Christmas is also a fun time for the ladies’ choir at my church. Every Thursday we hop on a bus and sing at a different nursing home. We have a lot of fun with four-part ladies’ harmony and have been known to sing Christmas songs from Africa, complete with drums.
Making all the performances can get hectic in an already jam-packed season. Occasionally we must skip a party or another event to play and sing. But making music, especially Christmas music, deeply enriches our holiday. I cannot imagine Christmas without it.
Maggie’s Starring Role
Durango St. Theatre Series
Durango St. Theatre Series
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Company
Date of Publication: Sept. 23, 2019
ISBN: ISBN 978-1-951055-16-5
Number of pages: 198
Word Count: 68,000
Cover Artist: Boroughs Art Department
Tagline: It’s all about the money, honey.
Maggie Gutierrez’s job is to keep the Durango Street Theatre afloat financially. In other words, she spends her days sticking her hand in people’s pockets in the hopes of pulling out cash. Well, euphemistically.
The Harrington Foundation grant would go a long way to ensuring the theater’s continued survival, but the administrator of the grant is the guy she used to crush on in a big way, and the last time they saw each other…let’s say things didn’t go so well. As in, he blames her for his father’s death.
Soooo…what’s a girl to do? Anything she can to get that grant, including spending time with him, which takes them down a road that might just lead to a forever neither envisioned.
She settled into her desk chair and Kirby sat down across from her. “So are there any questions I can answer for you?” she asked, cursing the faint flush she could feel on her cheeks. She wasn’t sure if it was from wanting to impress him on the theater’s behalf or Kirby himself.
“No. Not a one.” He leaned forward with an unreadable expression. “Don’t get your hopes up about the grant. The only reason I came today was because the Rileys insisted. I have no intention of letting those people award their grant to the Durango.” She caught a smirk starting to cross his face before he schooled it into impassivity.
The rustling coming from the other office stopped. Maggie willed herself not to look up at the gap at the top of the temporary wall. “May I ask why? Don’t we meet the parameters of the grant?” she asked, feigning confusion.
“Actually, you do. If things were different, I would be happy to see them award the grant to the theater. But with things the way they are, I intend to see that they send the grant another direction. I’m sure you understand.”
Maggie’s heart sank as she looked at him. So the grant was lost because of his antipathy toward her. He really was going to take his anger with her out on the whole theater. Damn him, she thought hotly. He was a prick. Some things never change. The grant might be gone, but he wasn’t going to get away with a stunt like this. She’d be damned if she let him walk out the door with no repercussions. He was going to explain himself to everyone at the Durango and the chips could fall where they may. She had nothing to lose. “No, I’m afraid I don’t understand. If we meet the parameters of the grant, why are you so determined that it go elsewhere?”
“Because of your association with the theater,” he said, his voice calm and his expression cold. “I absolutely refuse to work with you. You are directly responsible for my father’s death and I will not work with you, have anything to do with you, or award the grant to the theater that employs you.”
“So let me be clear. You’re mad at me, so you’re willing to take it out on everyone here at the Durango, despite the wonderful proposal, and even though we meet the parameters and need the money desperately. Do I have that right?”
“I wouldn’t have put it that way, but yes. You have that right.” He leaned forward. “Karma’s a bitch, isn’t she?”
“Oh dear. I am so disappointed.” She leaned forward so that they were barely a foot apart. “Especially since your old friend Josh Goldstein, who’s my boss and the executive director of the theater, assured me you’d be fair despite your feelings toward me. Why, he sat in that office next door, the one he’s sitting in right now eavesdropping on this entire conversation, and said you weren’t the kind to take out your feelings about me on the theater.” She looked up and raised her voice. “Did you hear all that, Josh? Guess you were wrong. He doesn’t plan to play fair.”
“Yes, I heard every damned word,” Josh yelled.
“I did, too,” Rachel shouted from her office two doors down.
“So did I,” a deep voice piped up from the lobby.
Kirby’s face morphed from a vindictive smirk to unmasked horror. “You…you knew they were listening,” he gasped. “You knew they’d hear every word.”
“They needed to.” Maggie regarded him steadily. “You’re breaking faith with the Rileys and you’re breaking faith with us. I told you yesterday we both needed to behave in a professional manner. Instead you decided to use the grant as a weapon to pay me back for something in our past that you hold against me. You’re being unfair to the Durango and you’re being unfair to the Rileys. Somebody needs to know. Hopefully someone who will inform the Rileys of your duplicity.”
Kirby opened his mouth but glanced up and closed it again. He muttered something under his breath as he stood up and yanked the door open, slamming it behind him.
Maggie leaned her elbows on the desk and put her chin in her hands. That had been sneaky, but damn it, Kirby had no right to punish the theater because he was mad at her. They deserved a fair shake, and if that meant getting Kirby in trouble for admitting he was using the grant as a weapon, so be it. She giggled as the sound of raised voices filtered into her office. Good. Josh was giving Kirby a deserved ration of shit. And if she wasn’t mistaken, the voice she’d heard in the lobby was none other than Wade Baxter. The Rileys’ grandson. She smirked even as she rubbed her aching temples.
Yes, Kirby, Karma can be a bitch.
About the Author:
Author of nearly forty romance novels, Emily Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write fulltime. The mother of two sons, she and her husband split their time between their home in San Antonio and a second home on Lake Buchanan, and make frequent trips to Tennessee to visit their grandchildren. For fun, she plays the piano, organ and dulcimer, and plays her ukulele and sings in two different performing groups. She says, “I love to write romances because I believe in them. Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman-if she’ll just let it.”