Category Archives: Music

Something to Talk About…..or Sing About

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Day 26 & 27~

Crazy few busy days has got me behind again.  Thanksgiving prep and Thanksgiving take a lot of time and bring on some exhaustion!  But it was a great day with loved ones and friends near and full of many blessings!

I want to combine a couple of things again today.  In a way, I guess you could consider them the same thing, but I want to break them apart a little.  Since I am a singer and I like to talk a lot….. today I’m grateful for my voice and my vocal chords!

My voice I will consider partly as having a voice.  A voice in what I think, or what I want.  Being able to voice my opinion.  Isn’t freedom of speech a great thing?  I don’t consider myself one to be outspoken on many issues…..(at least not publicly) but I’m grateful that I can be if I so choose.

This is a photo of me singing to my husband at our wedding reception in 1979.

This is a photo of me singing to my husband at our wedding reception in 1979.

But having a voice…. one that makes sound, requires the use of vocal chords.  Apparently I was blessed with ones that can be very loud!  🙂  I was told many times when I was young that I was loud…. especially by my siblings.

Thankfully, I must have been blessed with a little of my Mom’s genes when it comes to my vocal chords because I’ve always been able to sing.  It’s just something that’s come naturally to me and has afforded me many opportunities to perform which I LOVE to do!  In fact, as I get older, I get fewer and fewer of those opportunities and I miss it terribly!  Especially this time of year!  I love singing Christmas music!  About 13 years ago, I made a quick little Christmas album just for fun for my parents.  Since that time I have shared it with several friends and they seem to like it.  Which brings me a lot of joy.

My voice and vocal chords are a part of my body that I use everyday, as I’m sure most of you do!  I’m grateful to have and use them.

As a way to start off your Holiday season…. I’d like to share a little video my husband put together with a song from my Christmas album.  It’s one of my favorites…. Amy Grant’s arrangement of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas…. but sung by me!!  I hope you enjoy it!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

 

 

What Would I Do Today IF I Had the Opportunity?

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There have been many times in my life that I wondered if I was ‘born’ at the wrong time.  It usually hits me during a ‘oh woah is me’ time in my spirits….. or when watching an old movie and wishing I could have done that.  And it hits me during modern times for the same reasons.

I love to perform.  Always have.  My Mom said I would live my life through my Barbie doll when I was little.  I acted out everything with her…. including being on the stage.  Luckily, I’ve had many opportunities to perform over the years.  I really have been blessed!  But I guess, at times, I’ve kind of had ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ as far as my experiences have gone.

When I watched older movies in that ‘mood’ I just described, I would sometimes literally ‘cry’….. why wasn’t I born back then so I could have gone to Hollywood when all those wonderful movie musicals were being made?   I would have loved to do that!  Now, would I have been lucky enough to actually been cast in anything????  I have no idea!  But a girl can dream, can’t she?

Even though I’ve been blessed with so many wonderful opportunities and blessed with fairly decent talent…. I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to be there ‘back then’.

 what-would-i-doIt occurred to me the other day, that I have felt that way many times with today’s younger generations current opportunities.  Where were those awesome current musicals when I was young enough to play those Ingenue parts?  I’m SO jealous of these young kids getting to play such amazing roles!  Though there are some great roles for older women, they are few and far between and the competition to get those parts is huge!  I’ve been lucky enough to land a couple, but not all that I would like to.

Then there is the non-musical theater singing that I love to do.  Another thing that I’ve done for years.  I see all these soloist and groups finding a way to gain an audience and a fan base via the internet.  Again….. where was that when I was younger and was maybe motivated enough to promote myself that way?  Maybe I shouldn’t attach it to age….. but I think I’d have a much harder time gaining a fan base today at my age than the younger crowd does.

I think You Tube and other methods of promoting your talents is a pretty awesome tool.  It still takes money to make a decent video though.  It’s helpful if you have the backing and/or funds to do it.  Also…. some creative producer can make a huge difference.

I guess the thought that really occurred to me was would I do today if I were that young again?  I’m sure I’d have the desire to…. but would I have had the confidence to promote myself?  I don’t really know the answer to that, and I’m not sure I ever will.  I guess my mission in life was not becoming a You Tube or Hollywood star.  But that’s OK.  I’ve had a great life and can still enjoy my music without ever becoming an icon.   The best part is that I have been blessed with talents and I have been lucky enough to be able to share them with others.  And for that….. I am grateful!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

We Three Amigos

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I love spending time with good friends.  An occasional Girl’s Night Out (GNO) is great fun.

The other day, my good friends and I took the opportunity to go and listen to a presentation by another friend of mine called: Understanding, Appreciating and Supporting the Men in Our Lives.  I knew that we wouldn’t have as much time to visit with each other doing this, but I also knew it was good information we all could use to help better our relationship with our husbands.

We enjoyed the presentation a lot and each learned things that will help us.  As we were leaving that night, we stopped to thank the presenter, Ramona Zabriskie, who is a friend of mine.  I was telling Ramona that these are my good friends, the ones I have been singing with for years.  Of course, being a musical person herself, she asked us to sing.

Myself, Nila and Laurie at Nila's wedding Love these ladies!

Myself, Nila and Laurie at Nila’s wedding
Love these ladies!

We don’t really do a cappella.  Everything we do is with a live band or recorded music.  But I figured we knew the harmonies to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy well enough to get through a verse or so a cappella.   So we did and Ramona loved it.  It makes me very happy to be singing with these ladies.

Whether we are singing or not, I just enjoy spending time with them!  This was the first chance we had had to get together since Nila got married.  It was fun to catch up with her and see how she is doing in her new marriage.  It’s so wonderful to see her happy after being alone for so many years.

One of the things we learned in Ramona’s presentation is that women use LOTS more words in a day than men do.  That’s one of the reasons we are such social people!  I truly believe that women need women as friends because we understand that part of being female and we relish talking with someone who understand and thrives on that too.  And I seem to have a lot to say!

I’m grateful that even with our busy lives, that my friends and I can make time to get together and just enjoy each other’s company.  And if we get a chance to sing while we are doing it…. that’s even better!  Love you ladies!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

Christmas Music

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I’ve been listening to Christmas music most of the day today and quite a lot the last few days.  I have to say…. I LOVE Christmas music!  It has always been one of my favorites!

I love the stations you can listen to on Satellite TV.  They play such a variety of music….. from really old things to some of the new stuff.  Many of those songs take me back many many years ago when I was a kid and it brings back such warm memories.

This was always one of my favorites as a kid. I heard one of the songs off of it tonight and that's what made me start thing about how grateful I was for Christmas music!

I can remember stacking Mom’s old vinyl albums on the record player so that we could listen to a several all at once.  I can still see the record covers of some of those albums in my memory.  You know how memories in your head can take you back and make you feel the feelings and smell the smells, etc.?

Christmas music always represented the anticipation of Christmas coming.  Which brought the anticipation of a White Christmas, playing in the snow and time together with the family.  The best time of year.

Being a singer…. I’ve always loved singing Christmas music too.  Since I’ve been blessed to be a part of some kind of performing group since college…. I usually get to sing for others at Christmas time, which I love….. so I’ve always paid close attention to Christmas music so I can pick the songs I would like to sing.

It wouldn't be Christmas without Bing!

I have many favorites and made music my Christmas gift to my parents back in 2001.  I went in and recorded a Christmas album just for fun and mostly for them.  Using karaoke tracks and the recording studio of a good friend of mine…… I went in and literally  ‘whipped’ out 15 songs in one night.  Consequently…. there are a few places that I wished I would have fixed…. but all and all, it turned out pretty good.

I had several copies made and gave many away that Christmas and have given many away since then.  Someday, I’ll work on getting it posted to iTunes so that I can make it available to more people.  In the meantime…. I’ll share one of the songs with you off my album to wish you a Merry Christmas from me!  The pictures we used on the video remind me of the old Currier and Ives pictures and bring back memories of an old fashioned Christmas.  Isn’t it too bad that this generation will most likely never know what an old fashioned Christmas feels like?

And who could forget Andy Williams great album!

I’m so grateful that Christmas music brings me such joy and great memories!  I can’t seem to get enough of it!  Yet…. out of respect to my husband, I don’t start to listen to it till Thanksgiving…. but boy do I try to get a lot of it in after that!  It just wouldn’t be Christmas without it!

What’s your favorite Christmas song / album?

I am Grateful!  How are You?

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas from me to you!  This is one of the songs off my album.  It’s the Amy Grant arrangement of ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’…. but it’s me singing.

Echoes of Christmas

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A few years ago, I was asked to be a part of a live Nativity that was being put together for the community.  I decided to become a part of what was hoped would grow into an annual Christmas tradition for the community…… and I’m glad I did.

The event I’m talking about is called “Echoes of Christmas”.  It is the brain child of Virginia and Bob Baird.  The idea was a dream Virginia had many years ago, but it took a while to get the people involved that were needed to pull it off.  She was finally able to line up the talent she needed to bring her dream to fruition.

Myself and Jerry Dunn as InnKeeper and Wife the first year of the show. I know we kind of look like Mary and Joseph because the Donkey is there.... but we're not! We just are tending to the Donkey's needs.

Here’s the description of the event from off the ‘Echoes of Christmas’ website:

2008 Saw the first year of “Echoes Of Christmas” and was very well received. The event is an annual gift to the community. The performance is suitable for families, youth groups, civic groups, church groups, and other interested persons. This outdoor event features 7 performances with the Nativity as the main theme. The performances include a solitary shepherd boy; shepherds watching their flock; a high priest at the temple; wise men from the East; an Inn keeper and his wife; Mary and Joseph; and hosts of angels. Guests rotate from one musical presentation to the next led by shepherds guides. The event is produced by Virginia & Bob Baird with original music by Clive Romney and orchestration by Larry Bastian. This non-denominational, inter-faith event has become an annual favorite for the entire community.

As you can see from the description,  it’s a very interesting concept for presenting the story of the Nativity.  Each of the described scenes are set several feet apart within Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.  Far enough apart the the music from each scene does not disrupt the scene before or after it…. yet not so far that the walk to complete the visit is so long or hard.  It’s written with the intent of being totally non-denominational so that anyone who believes in the story of Christ’s birth could enjoy it.

I was lucky enough to be able to play the part of the Inn Keeper’s wife for the first 3 years of the production.  This is the 4th year running and I chose not to be a part of it this year….. but I did chose to go support it!   That’s where my husband and I went tonight.  It was really quite fun to be able to walk the path and see all 7 scenes.  When you are in the show…. you actually don’t get to see the other areas perform because you are busy doing your own little scene all night long.  It was fun to see so many people that have been there from the beginning still involved.

It’s a wonderful way to bring in the celebration of the season….. with live animals in almost every scene, it adds so much to the atmosphere.  I’m so grateful that I had the honor of being a part of those first few years of the show.   I made many friends through the experience.  It’s still something that I will continue to support and hope that others will take the opportunity to see the Nativity done in such a unique way.

I’m grateful my husband consented to going with me to see it this year.  It was good to talk to Virginia and Bob for a few minutes…. and good to see Jack… the one who played my InnKeeper for 2 of those 3 years I was there.  He’s still at it!  Way to go Jack and Shellie!

If you live in the Salt Lake Area….. you still have 4 chances to see it!  It goes through the 21st December, every night but Sunday, from 7 – 9pm..  It’s a great little family outing or date night.  Dress warm and come with the spirit of Christmas in your heart.

I am Grateful!  How are You?

 

Here’s a little video clip giving you a very brief feel of what the event is like.  You can hear my voice at 1:30 for a few seconds.

Christmas with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

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Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?  I don’t think I have.  Well I do… along with millions of other people.  They truly are wonderful.

I affectionately call them the ‘Mo Tabs’ …. You know ….. kind of short for MoTown…..  Only not…..    Just the Mo Tabs…… cause I like it.  It’s clever.

Tonight, I’m sitting here in the LDS Conference center in Salt Lake waiting for the Christmas With the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert to start.  They have guest star appearances by Jane Seymour and Nathan Gunn.  These Christmas concerts have become very popular and are well attended.  They will record the show and then make it available for purchase in a few months…. or, you can watch it on PBS.

Oh my……just sitting here watching the choir file in to their seats is fascinating.  They are so unbelievably orderly!  It’s almost like watching a computerized program evenly filling in the seats on both sides at the same time.  That’s not a good description of what I’m seeing…..  But trust me…..it’s fascinating.

I love hearing the choir sing the sacred music they are so well known for…..  But I love hearing their secular pieces too.  Tonight’s lineup looks like a blend of both. I’ve never seen them perform live…..  So this should be fun………….

Though this is not a picture from this years concert.... it had a very similar look tonight.

(Insert concert here….)

Wow…. Just wow!  What an impressive concert.  I loved being a part of the feeling of being there live!  It’s just not quite the same seeing it on a recording as it is being there.  You just can’t feel the synergy.

Though tonight’s show was actually a dress rehearsal, you’d never know it.  It seemed to go off without a hitch.  I’m grateful for the ‘jumbo tron’ screens they have at the conference center.  That’s a huge building and we were sitting way up in the balcony….. The screens made the concert much more enjoyable.

One of my favorite parts of the evening….. And there were many…..  Was when Jane Seymour narrated the story of Good King Wenceslas.  She would tell a portion of the story in her wonderful british accent and then the choir would sing that portion of the song as well as some dancers acting some things out.  It’s amazing how much more sense the song made once it was explained that way.  Ironically, a friend of mine that is a free lance writer had just written a story that mentioned that song.  He was trying to figure out what the song had to do with Christmas….  now I know!

Though I would have loved to hear more of just the choir singing….I still loved it all.  The guest vocalist, Nathan Gunn was wonderful!  Can you imagine what it must feel like to have the Mo Tabs as your back up singers?  Holy cow!  It must be awesome!

I’m so grateful to my friend Nila foe inviting me to go with her tonight.  It brought the Christmas spirit right into my heart!  Then to be able to come out of the conference center and see the Christmas lights on Temple Square just topped it off wonderfully!  Then we ended the evening at the Lion House Pantry with some soup in a bread bowl!  Now that really warms the heart!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Another’s Happiness

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Today is a day for me to be grateful for other people’s happiness.

It started with me attending the wedding of a friend I worked with in the temple.  Her husband passed away a year or so ago.  That’s never an easy thing…. to lose a spouse.  Yet she pulled through.

Sometimes our lives are lead in directions that we don’t understand…. both the sorrowful and the good.  Chrie was blessed enough to meet someone else whom she had a lot in common, and today was married to that man.  It was such a joy to see the happiness in her face!  You could see that she knew she would have a companion to share the rest of her life with now.  She truly looked radiant.  What a blessing to witness that.

Tonight I got to sing with my friends again.  One of my favorite things to do.  It was fun to be a part of bringing happiness to others in that way.  This one was not for an Assisted Living center like the other night was…. this one was for Nila’s Ward…. the people she goes to church with.  It’s great to look out into the room and see smiling faces….. including my cute niece who came to the show.  She lives in Nila’s ward and I told her she should come…. so she did.  And I believe she enjoyed it!  More happiness!

I was grateful that I got a chance to talk to some friends that I knew in that ward tonight.  I found out that he had been taking this wonderful stuff I work with called ASEA and has seen major improvements in his health.  To the point, as he described it…. on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the worst…  he used to be at a 9 or 9.5 in pain and stiffness and now he says he’s at a 2 or lower all the time.  He was so happy for the changes he had seen over the year and I was happy to see more proof that it works!

Then…. one of the hardest things for me to do tonight was to be happy for someone else who was lucky enough to get cast in a show that I really wanted to be a part of.  I truly was happy for her…. honestly.  I’ve seen her on stage before and I know she will do a fabulous job.  I would even like to go see her play the part.  But in that happiness, comes a little disappointment that I won’t get to share the role with her, since the show is double cast….  someone else will be doing that.  And I can be happy for them…. though I may not even know them.  A little harder to be happy for them…. but none the less I can be happy!

I mean… really…. what are my choices?  It does me no good to be gloomy about it.  I try very hard to believe that there is something else I’m suppose to be doing during that time frame, so it’s better not to be doing a show right now.  I have to admit though…. when it has happened to me in the past… sometimes I don’t think I ever figured out what that reason was….  but life goes on!  It’s what we chose to make it.  Perhaps there really was something I was needed for that I just didn’t recognize at the time.

Right now I choose to be happy.  Happy for my friends who did get cast.  Happy that I was able to bring joy into others lives by entertaining them.  Happy to see someone’s health dramatically improving.  Happy for my friend who is getting a second chance to spend the rest of her life with someone new.  Happy for me because now I get to discover what it is I need to be focusing on right now!  After all….. another person’s happiness really does make me happy!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Here’s one of my very favorite quotes about Happiness.  I learned it many years ago and have never forgotten it:

Happiness is like Jam…. you can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself!

Surprise!

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I love surprises…… don’t you?  Especially when you are the giver of the surprise.

Tonight I got to participate in a fun surprise for my old Ward.  (For those who don’t know what a Ward is….. it’s the people I attended church with in the area I used to live).  One of my friends that still lives in that area was in charge of the entertainment for the Adult Ward Christmas Party.  She had already lined up a wonderful Bell Choir to come perform, but decided she wanted to add a little element of surprise.  So she called me and asked me if I would come sing Santa Baby in the middle of the Bell Choir’s performance.

We came early to set up a small sound system to try and avoid running into a lot of people before they came to the party.  Unfortunately, we did run into a few, so it wasn’t a complete surprise to everyone…. but I still think we had most of them stumped.  We stayed out of sight for most of the time, so that helped.

We set it up so that the Bell Choir would introduce a special number, and act like it was a number they were doing, and then I would come around the corner singing Santa Baby instead!

It worked out great.  The director of the Bell Choir played it very well.  She even had her choir members turn their bells so they wouldn’t make noise and act like they were starting a new song and instead my music came on from the back of the room and in I walked with my feather boa and cordless mic and headed straight for the Bishop.  He was one that had seen me there earlier and was probably suspicious that something was up…. I just don’t think he knew what!

My husband told me that as I started the song….. a few of the other men at the Bishop’s table got up and moved away from the table.  Ha ha ha……  it didn’t really matter, because my goal was to make it around the room as much as possible and play to as many men as I could in one song!

It was so much fun singing… and embarrassing for a moment….  some of my old friends and neighbors!  Too bad I couldn’t get to more of them!  If it hadn’t been such a big secret about me singing…. I could have scoped the room out before hand and seen where people were sitting that I knew.   There were a couple of people that I would have for sure gone to had I seen them!  But I still had a great time.  PLUS…. we got to eat the delicious dinner that was being served!  Now that’s a perk!

I’m grateful Denise gave me the opportunity to have fun with my old Ward tonight.  It’s so great to see people that you were neighbors with for over 20 years!  I adore and miss that ward and the people in it.  It’s always good to see them.  There are so many other neighbors in the area I would love to visit with again.  I was very blessed to have been able to raise my family during their most critical years in such a wonderful area.  I hope those that were there tonight enjoyed my surprise!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Singing for the Seniors

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Have I mentioned how much I love to sing and perform?  I probably have….. but during this Christmas season…. I have to mention it again!

I love singing with my peeps… my girls…. my friends.  We have sung together since college and if I do say so myself….. we are pretty darn good!  We blend really well together, partially because we’ve sung together so long. We don’t seem to get to sing much together except at Christmas time, and then it’s not as much as we’d like to.  (It’s called marketing folks…. and we aren’t very good at it…. that needs to change!)

I love doing Christmas shows.  Christmas music is some of my very favorite music.  Tonight we sang for my Mom’s Assisted Living center.  Those little old people we so cute and gracious.  The amazing thing was that they sat there for an hour before we went on.  Most of their entertainment starts at 6 pm, so they just come out of the dining room and and sit in the lobby till the show starts.

Unfortunately…. we weren’t scheduled to start till 6:30 pm which means most of them had been sitting an hour when we started.  I could tell some of them were very tired, but they loved us so much last year, they knew they wanted to hang around.

I’ve just gotten so I love performing for those older folks!  They really are appreciative of what you do.  We had one cute little old fellow in the back tonight that if he hadn’t been confined to a wheel chair, I think he would have come on stage and started dancing with us!   He was adorable!  After our show I went over to talk to him and he didn’t want me to leave.  He wanted to get up and dance with me, but since that wasn’t’ a good idea….. I ‘danced’ with him while he was in the wheel chair.  We decided that someone needs to start a ballroom dance team with wheel chairs!  And he wants to be on it!  He was delightful!

Wow! I found out that there ARE groups that doing dancing in wheelchairs! Awesome!

Many of the other residents expressed their thanks to us too.  The little man we brought up on stage for Santa Baby had to tell a joke or two before we started the song and then came over afterwards to tell us more jokes!  So cute.  George, the man in the wheelchair, reminded me a little of my Dad with his cheerful happy attitude.  My Dad was a joker right up to the end.  Thanks for making me think of him George!

I’m grateful we have another chance to perform this coming Saturday during the Christmas season.  I just wish we had more shows!  I swear….. next year I’m going to market us and get some real ‘gigs’.  This used to be the time of year when we would have 15 or more performances in December.  Not that I want to be that busy now….. but 4 or 5 more would be ideal!  (Anyone looking for some great entertainment??) <grin>

I’m grateful for this Christmas season and for being able to share my talents with a few people.  I feel blessed to have that opportunity.  It’s something that I hope I can continue to do well into old age!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

 

I don’t know if this will work…. and it’s not a Christmas song…. but here’s me and my girls singing a Wilson Phillips song that was posted on my Facebook page.  I hope the link works.  You’ll have to copy and paste….  These were recorded during a live performance at the Mirage Hotel in the 90’s…. but I think we still sound this good or better singing together.

Here’s another one:

This is probably one of our tightest standards we do….

Karaoke Tracks

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No…. I’m not a Karaoke person…. not in the traditional way anyway!  I don’t go to Karaoke clubs and sing.  I’m not really into that.  I did sing for the Karaoke contest on the cruise we went on a few years ago…. but I don’t do Karaoke clubs.  Not that I might not enjoy it…. I’ve just never tried, and most of the places that do that are not the kind of atmosphere I want to be around all night.  But I am very grateful for Karaoke tracks!

I’m a performer.  Have been a good portion of my life.  I’ve been blessed to be able to perform with some college friends for the last…..  (ahem)…. 30 or so years.  I remember when Karaoke tracks started being made available to the public.  They were first referred to as minus one tracks, or minus tracks, meaning the track was without or minus the lead vocal.  That was before the oriental name Karaoke started to stick.  They weren’t very available in the USA for a while.  Luckily…. I was on a DOD tour (similar to a USO tour, just sponsored by a different department) when Karaoke tracks started to become popular, so we bought a few over seas.  I guess that’s the first time I even knew they were available.

Prior to Karaoke tracks, most of my performing days have been with live music…. which is really fun… I actually prefer it!  But that can’t always happen.  So when Karaoke tracks started to become more popular, my friends and I started doing  a few ‘gigs’ without the band because we didn’t have to charge as much.  Though we still love to perform with live music…. we are still doing shows with minus tracks.

Thankfully those tracks allow us to perform as often as we can.  Which, actually as of late, has not been as much as we would like!  There are so many performing groups out there that you really have to advertise today to make yourself known.  One of these days I will talk my friends into stopping long enough to get a head shot photo of us taken so we can at least start a Facebook fan page!

Thanks to Karaoke tracks, I made a Christmas album a few years ago.  It was just for fun and I did it for my parents.  However… it has become popular with many of my friends and family.  It’s not available on iTunes because I’ve never cleared the rights to use the tracks.  Someday I will do that.

In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy performing to Karaoke tracks with my friends and even occasionally by myself!  I’m grateful for those opportunities to do so!  My friends and I have two shows coming up in the next 10 days!  I’m excited to sing with them and to get into the Christmas spirit by doing so!!

Do you love singing to Karaoke tracks?

I am Grateful!  How are You?

(Come back to this post in a day or so and I will have posted a youtube video of one of my Christmas songs….. I just need to make it first!)

In the meantime….. I guess I can post this one I did this summer for a….. contest!!!