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Happy Holidays and all that Jazz!

December 18, 2013

Oh the weather outside is frightful…But it’s amazing how quickly that chill in your toes goes away when you are doing something that warms your heart. This holiday season, I’ve been donating a few hours of my time to the Salvation Army. Stationed in front of Lund’s, in our turn-out gear and our ringing bells, fellow firefighter, Mark Dreyer and I are doing all we can to remind our community what the holiday season is truly about. And last night’s experience was a great one!

Though the temperature was dropping at a good clip, we greeted dozens of smiling faces as they slipped their donations in to the red kettle. Things were going pretty well…

LongLakeFire_SalvationArmy2013and they were about to get better!

I was already proud to be representing the Long Lake Fire Department and collecting so many donations from our little community. And then, from the parking lot emerged four members of the Westonka High School Madd Jazz ensemble. They were smiling, laughing and all bundled up; ready to sing carols on a chilly winter’s night.

As Mark and I gave our bells a rest, the quartet of talented high-schoolers gathered around the red kettle and started singing. Their voices and the harmony from the group painted the night sky with a warm layer of happiness. An evening that only moments ago felt frigid and dark, quickly became a sparkling, crisp, smile-making moment.

They sang holiday songs for over an hour. Every song was amazing! I found myself wearing a permanent grin while the music filled the chilly air. As patrons walked in and out of the store, they moved just a bit slower; obviously buying themselves as many seconds of wonderful music as they could before they climbed in to their vehicles and headed home. Donations to the red kettle poured in at an even more impressive rate while the kids sang their songs. It was a wonderful experience to witness and be part of.

Though the holiday season is currently closer to the new year than it is to Thanksgiving, I am happy to say I am still finding more reasons to be thankful. On this day, I am thankful for the community I live in, the friends I have found within the fire department and most of all…I am thankful for the music four high school kids created on a chilly night in Navarre.

Catch some of the Madd Jazz performers as they sing carols this holiday season at Lord Fletcher’s and at Maynards, on Lake Minnetonka!

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