By Sarah Naron
GRAPELAND – Grapeland’s newest eatery, The Station: A Gathering Place and Food Truck Corner, will be hosting a Christmas open house Friday, Dec. 22.
The event will feature live music provided by the Daniels Family, a group of members of a family that has been playing music together for just over four decades.
“In December of 1976, several members of the Daniels family and a few good friends gathered together in the old Percilla School House and put on a Christmas show,” explained Tammy Hassell-Anderson, a granddaughter of Owen Ned Daniels, the family patriarch.
Hassell-Anderson acknowledged that the gathering may have seemed to be “an unnatural endeavor” to other families, but for the Daniels bunch, “it was as normal as opening presents on Christmas morning.
“Music was always part of their environment,” she divulged. “Some family members were around during the Stamps Quartet era of singing schools and songbooks, when country churches always had a hymn book in hand and knew how to use them.”
Hassell-Anderson explained that Daniels acquired a piano for the old house and that of the four Daniels children, two learned to play it. All of the children shared the talent of singing.
“It was, however, the three sisters that found their place in church – one at the piano, the other two always behind her intoning their parts,” she said.
In addition to Sunday morning services at church, the trio performed at funerals, revivals and wedding ceremonies.
“It was from this trio and their love of music and Christmas songs and the season surrounding them that sister Frances Jordan gathered the rest of the family together and put on the first Christmas show,” Hassell-Anderson went on.
Hassell-Anderson shared fond memories of several practices held by the family leading up to the first performance.
“Aunt Frances, who had also been my second grade teacher, would have to separate the men because they wouldn’t quit talking, poking fun and laughing,” she recalled. “It was more fun than hard work.”
While members of the family are quick to admit that they are most certainly not professionals, Hassell-Anderson says that through their years of making music, they have learned “the valuable pleasure music can bring and that it can be enjoyed at all levels.”
According to Hassell-Anderson, 13 members of the Daniels family will be present to perform during the open house.
“Those dropping by will hear traditional Christmas tunes, along with a new song or two,” she divulged. “Family members will be playing keyboards, guitar, banjo, fiddle and bass on an array of selections, as well as singing.”
Hassell-Anderson added that audience members are encouraged to sing along as the family performs.
“Everyone can contribute,” she said.
Ronaldo’s Taco Truck will open at 5:30 p.m. Guests are invited to bring their dinner into The Station and eat while they listen to the family perform. Coffee, desserts, hot chocolate and wassail will be provided by the family.
For more information, please call (936)-687-4903.
The Station: A Gathering Place and Food Truck Corner is located at 519 Hwy. 19 N. in Grapeland.
Sarah Naron may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.