For as long as I can remember, music has made me happy. I remember fondly dancing to Steely Dan in the middle of our living room with my two brothers as a young kid. And no Bryant Christmas would be complete without the Alabama Christmas album on cassette. Constantly requiring us to flip the tape long after CD’s were invited!
My love for music followed me to Virginia Tech. Some of my favorite memories from college are dance parties at Starkey’s and singing Pi Phi Queen as loud as possible with my sorority sisters at formals. You Can Pledge Pi Phi, Having the Time of Your Life. But little did I know just how much music would become a part of my life until I met Christopher in 2005.
Many of our first dates together we enjoyed live country music at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater or sitting on the back patio on Battle Road in Hampton sipping an ice cold adult beverage.
And just three short years later, I married that music man.
During our young marriage, Chris would DJ from time to time on the weekends for college friends that were getting married and whenever he needed to spend an evening away bringing the party. Chris went on to decided that he wanted to take his skill and turn it into his profession. As I have and will always continue to do, I encouraged Chris to follow what makes him happy. Life is simply too short not to do what you love. So, he turned that passion for music into his profession. I still recall that conversation when the two of us were brainstorming the company’s name. And in 2011, Music Makes You Happy Entertainment was born.
And as I sit here celebrating nine years of marriage, I could not be prouder of the businessman, father and husband he has become. What started out as playing music at high school and college parties, has turned into a successful small business that most recently played music for more than 200,000 people at the North American Sand Soccer Championship in Virginia Beach. Back in the early days of MMYH, I am not sure we could have envisioned the amazing journey and friendships along the way.
But for me (and him too!) it is more than just playing music for events. He is showing our children (Cecilia and Anthony) that if you work hard and remain kind, good things will happen. And for our family that has come true. In 2015, we opened our own shop on Holland Road in Suffolk and then went on to earn Suffolk’s Small Business of the Year in 2017. We have doubled our staff, purchased new equipment and have even started doing voiceovers! I cannot wait to see what is in store next for the Music Makes You Happy Entertainment team.
And mostly recently, music has taken on a new level of endearment for me as I have become a parent of two adorable (and rambunctious) children. Music has become an internal part of their lives as well. Like most girls her age, Cecilia enjoys dance parties in the living room and can often be heard singing in her room. I guess that makes sense as her name is Cecilia – The Patron Saint of Music. Though I wholly underestimated how many people would sing that Simon and Garfunkel song to us. And I don’t look forward to explaining those lyrics to her someday. And sweet Anthony, just enjoys being included and making others laugh. For him, the phrase dance like nobody's watching comes to mind. He couldn't care less how good at dancing he is; he is just smiling and laughing all the while.
Song lyrics have a way of capturing our innermost thoughts and feelings that we could never express otherwise. In this business, we interact with many nervous brides and grooms. And as I celebrate nine years of marriage to today to my handsome groom, I leave three pieces of advice to those young couples getting married this year, so eloquently captured in song lyrics.
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you (Humble & Kind – Tim McGraw). Marriage is hard because life is hard. Sometimes life gives you a lot to navigate and overcome. But, the journey is the reward and your success is all the more sweet when it is celebrated with the great love of your life. For me, I would never survived the storms of losing my two parents without Chris. And I am forever grateful to have him by my side for all the good and the bad.
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder (I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack). Most Americans are equipped with at least one smart device. Our cell phones keep us connected with our friends and family through text messages, social media and video chats. However, many of us have been become too dependent upon our cellular devices that we miss some of life’s important moments. We often spend time trying to capture that special event that we don’t truly experience it. Put your phone down and fully experience this crazy beautiful life. Constantly challenge yourself to do something new and adventure to places you have never been before. Those are the memories that you will remember when you are old and gray. Not what you read on social media.
And its hard to dance with the devil on your back (Shake it Out – Florence + the Machine). Bad things are going to happen and you are going to encounter bad people. However, you cannot let that prevent you from being happy and achieving your dreams. And that decision rests with you. Those situations guide and mold who you are. And you will always come out stronger on the other side. But you will never get to that other side if you don’t (in the words of Elsa), let it go!
Happy Anniversary Christopher! I love you.