Use Your Voice: 'Tis the Season to Reflect and Look Forward!

It's that time of year again, when I'm admittedly my most excited! I LOVE Christmas. I mean, LOVE it.

Perhaps, it's because the whole world falls into this mode of kindness and love. There's celebrating with friends and family plus glitter and sparkling things. And most of all, this year has been a wonderful time of remembering just how good the "Good News" of everything about Jesus is to us on a daily basis. I hosted my annual Christmas Tea Party once again, and enjoyed returning to emcee and perform at the International Human Rights Day event in Yonkers. This year's honorees showed the very best in the good work being done in the NYC area. I was also able to once again see one of my favorite people, recently-elected Senator Shelly Mayer at the event, in addition to a host of other wonderful people and dignitaries. I performed a very special version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" with the "Bishop of Jazz," Rio Clemente at the keyboard.

Let's not forget the annual Christmas Musical Production at First Baptist Church of Tarrytown, Go Tell It!: Sharing the Good News of Christmas, which featured several wonderful soloists and musicians, including special arrangements for harp, strings, flute and more. It was a wonderful evening of music and celebration!

Last, but certainly not least, Christmas Caroling at Cedar Manor Nursing Home, in an effort to share love, hope and cheer to many who are forgotten at this time of year. What better way to spread holiday cheer and Christ's love than caroling? On Sunday, December 16th, I will led a group who provided songs, hugs and cheer for the residents at Cedar Manor. While this season is very happy for many, it can also be very difficult for others. If you have a chance to do so before Christmas Day, I encourage you to volunteer somewhere in whatever way is meaningful for you - it feels so good, especially at this time of year.

Finally, this is also a good time to reflect on the past year and what's to come. I am looking to a 2019 filled with music, beginning with the Mozartina Salon Series in January, where I'll perform Il Tramonto, Respighi's extraordinary chamber work for Soprano and String Quartet. Then February, where I have a very special collaboration coming with an area music collective, based upon my work with Spirituals. Then comes March, where I'll once again partner with the Hudson River Museum on their upcoming exhibition. April and May bring lots of operatic performances and I look forward to sharing them with you all.

Here's to the past; we're blessed to have lived through this year. And here's to the future; may it be merry and bright for us all!

Yolanda Johnson