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Monday, September 23, 2013

Channeling the Spirit of Professor Harold Hill

Crystal's son Andre in Kindermusik
Channeling the Spirit of Professor Harold Hill 
- Guest Post & Giveaway with Julia Asel Thomas and her first published book: Loving the Missing Link #LMLThomas

I recently saw that The Music Man was going to be on TV, and I simply had to make time to watch it. I love that movie. Now, we all know “Professor” Harold Hill was a con man trying to make a buck by selling band equipment. But in the end, it didn’t matter. What mattered was that he had the passion, charisma and persistence to convince the town that they needed a band to help their children grow up right.

In these days of music department budget cuts, I wish I could channel the spirit of that character. Somehow, the message that band is practical, positive and far-reaching for our students has been lost. If I could be Harold Hill for just a day, I would convince budget committees across the country that they would be doing their communities a great disservice by cutting funding for school music programs.

I would even have an advantage over Mr. Hill, because I have been in band and I know first-hand the powerful effect it can have on a life. Years ago, when I was a middle school student in a small town, I got the chance to join the band. My parents encouraged it strongly – my mother because she had been a trombone player in her high school band, and my father because he recognized the discipline I would acquire.

I started learning to play the bassoon that year, and my life has never been the same. Our band teacher expected us to be serious about our music, and we were. It wasn’t always easy to force myself to practice, especially when I could hear neighborhood children laughing and playing through my open window. But, I wanted to play music so badly that I trained myself to ignore those other children until after I had put in my practice time. In short, I developed discipline.

My home was brimming with a wide variety of musical influences. Having parents who appreciate music is always a good way to start. Yet, during my time in band, I was introduced to even more music than ever before. And I learned the joy of playing my unique part in the midst of a full band. When we were playing well, I felt as if I was riding on a glorious ship towards an exciting destination. It was fantastic, and that is a feeling I can recapture every time I get a chance to hear a concert band or an orchestra.

What I didn’t know then but have since learned is that learning music at an early age has a dramatic effect on the child’s overall intellect. The rhythms that regulate the band and the individual riffs that add interest are not just pretty sounds. They are also helping the children to absorb a primal understanding and solid intuition about mathematical principles. I know now that band is a serious subject that has strong implications for all of learning.

Crystal & her children at Kindermusik
The benefits of being in a band do not stop when you leave the band, either. You carry with you a strong sense of discipline, an improved intellect and an amazing way of achieving pleasure that is absolutely positive. 

If I could channel the spirit of Professor Harold Hill, I would use all his powers of persuasion to convince schools to fully fund their school bands. Since I have no psychic abilities, I will settle for sharing my feelings and experiences in band with anyone who will listen. And, of course, I will continue to incorporate these ideas and principles into my fiction as I did in my debut novel, Loving the Missing Link.

WOW! Women on Writing
A note from Crystal: Thank you to Julia for stopping with her guest post. Julia's stop and giveaway today are part of a WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour. For more information about WOW! and their tours/authors, visit their website:

Loving the Missing Link is a fabulous tale about love, success, hope and music. During the 1970's. Young Cheryl Simpson feels trapped in her small Missouri town. As her mother tries to help her find a way up and out, Cheryl begins to feel that it is all an impossible dream. She sees herself living a boring and dismal life for the rest of her days. Just at the moment when she is about to give up on happiness, she gets the opportunity to join her high school band. The band promises a connection with the world outside her town, but Cheryl does not see any future for herself in music. It is just a tool to get where she wants to go. However, Cheryl’s mother arranges for Cheryl to take private lessons with an accomplished musician, who helps her realize the beauty and awesome power of music.
Still, Cheryl feels that small-town inferiority and finds it too hard to believe that she could ever be anyone special out in the “real” world. On the eve of a music contest that could help her earn a music scholarship, Cheryl begins to panic. Scared and feeling alone, Cheryl runs off with her high school sweetheart and gets married, leaving the band behind.
During the next years, Cheryl and her husband make a life for themselves. Cheryl meets friends along the way who help guide her to becoming the woman she wants to be. She becomes interested in the arts again. All the while, Cheryl and husband Jerry face the challenges of homelessness, miscarriage and an extra-marital affair before an unexpected disaster brings Cheryl’s life crashing to the ground. Cheryl survives, with the help of her extraordinary friends and her life-long love for music.

Paperback:  190 Pages

Publisher:    CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (self-published)         Publishing (August 6, 2013)

ISBN-10:  ISBN10: 1480106240

Twitter hashtag: #LMLThomas

Loving the Missing Link is available as a print and e- book at 

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of  Loving the Missing Link, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, September 27th  at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:
Julia Asel Thomas writes stories with vivid descriptions, authentic dialogue and revealing narration. Her debut book, Loving the Missing Link, presents the engrossing and moving story of a young, small town girl who grows up, lives and loves while trying to find a balance between despair and hope.
Like the protagonist in her debut book, Loving the Missing Link, Julia Asel Thomas knows small town life. However, Julia’s experiences were quite different than Cheryl’s. Julia is the middle child of seven children and the daughter of a church organist and a business manager. Growing up in the small town of Hamilton, Missouri, Julia’s family enjoyed a reputation as a bright and interesting family. Julia thrived on the quiet and carefree life she lived in that gentle place.
When Julia was in high school, she earned a scholarship for a trip to Cali, Colombia as a foreign exchange student. The experience, although it only lasted a few brief months, had a profound influence on the rest of her life. After her time abroad, Julia realized in a very real way that, although customs may differ from culture to culture, the substance of human emotions is constant. We all need love. We all need to feel secure. We all have happy moments and sad moments. Back from Colombia, Julia become ever more interested in capturing these human emotions through music and writing.
After high school, Julia took a break before going on to college. During this time, she married her husband, Will. Will joined the Air Force, and Julia accompanied him to bases around the country, taking college classes in each town where they resided. Their two children were born in Las Vegas, Nevada, while Will was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. Married in 1976, Julia and Will are thrilled to celebrate each new anniversary and look forward to staying together for life.
Julia began writing fiction at the age of ten, when her 5th grade teacher gave her the assignment to write about “My Worst Day.” Julia took the opportunity to concoct every possible disaster a young child could face during the course of a normal day. The teacher loved her work and asked her to read it to the class. From then on, Julia wanted nothing more than to be a writer.
In 2007, Julia began earning her living by writing articles, press releases and website content for a number of clients. As she settled into a routine of working every day on her writing, the old urge to write fiction resurfaced. In 2012, Julia started with a story she had written in 1985 and continued it to create the story in Loving the Missing Link.

Find out more about this author by visiting her online:

Author blog:

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  1. Very heartwarming post, kudos to Julia Thomas for sharing her experiences so openly.

  2. Thanks so much, Bette! So glad to hear from you. Just loved your book "Spare Change," and am looking forward to reading more!

  3. Congratulations go to Bette Lee Crosby who was chosen via Rafflecopter for the giveaway of Loving the Missing Link - Congratulations BETTE!

    Check your email for details!