Updated: Nov 24, 2021
If you know me, you know that I grew up in a musical family. Actually, if you know me, it is likely that I consider you PART of my MUSICAL FAMILY.
I grew up in small town in rural Alabama. Ozark, Alabama is the county seat of Dale County and has a population of around 15,000 people. My Dad, Rev. Bill Hix was a the Minister of Music at Ozark Baptist Church. Dad organized all the music making and music education at the church. While I was growing up, this included the Adult Choir, Youth Choir, three children's choirs of various age groups, multiple handbell groups, and an instrumental ensemble. My Mom, Janice Hix, was the church organist and pianist, taught various children's choirs, played for various choirs, and taught piano lessons in our home. My younger brother Seth (excuse me...Rev. Seth Hix) and I were integral parts of all of these endeavors. We sang in every choir. We played in every handbell group, we played in the instrumental ensemble. We spent a SIGNIFICANT amount of time at church growing up. Honestly, I wouldn't have had it any other way. The sense of community that we had in this church family, especially the musical family, was something that I have always treasured and sought out in my adult life.
The majority of my most cherished childhood and teenage memories are associated with the church. I have fond memories of singing in children's choir and youth choir with my best friend JohnJohn, our other BFF Ivy Thompson, and my brother Seth. I have incredible memories of traveling across the country every summer from grade 7 through 12 with our Youth Choir. These trips with my musical family, and extended musical family (Johnjohn, David, Berto, Jason, Mike C, Boyd, Ivy, Jennifer, Melissa, Daniel, etc...etc...etc.) inspired my love of travel.
My parents (God love 'em!) transported young people from Ozark, Alabama all across North America! It boggles my mind that my parents took us from small town Alabama all the way to Windsor, Canada, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico and everywhere in between (including Washington DC, Orlando, Dallas, Carlsbad NM, Cincinnati, and New Orleans...which BTW the French Quarter was actually a bit sketchy for a HS church group).
Of course, my musical family expanded once I joined my High School band. The Pride of the Wiregrass the Carroll High School Marching Band was another significant part of my journey. (I wish I footnotes were appropriate in blog posts - I feel like I need to define Wiregrass. Yet again, I am just putting what would be a footnote in parentheses. The Wiregrass is the region of Alabama where I grew up.) Our HS band director David Bolich taught us to take "PRIDE" in everything we did musically. Again, I have amazing memories with the people I made music with. Of course, this included my brother Seth (who was second chair trumpet when I was first chair trumpet) and our other brother (from another Mother) Johnjohn. The three of us marched together, and played in concert band and jazz band together.
As I have continued my musical path, I continue to add members to my musical family. However, this blog post is long enough. I will have to add a second blog post about my expanded musical family, and the love I have for those family members in a few weeks.