Margie Holliday is blessed with An Angelic Voice
To say that Margie Holliday is blessed with one of the sweetest voices on this side of heaven is hard to believe, that is, until you hear her Christian compact disc.
If one could describe her collection of praise songs in one word, it would be ‘sweetness’ since honey seems to flow from her golden throat. What’s even harder to believe is that it took over half a century before she mustered up the courage to record.
“One day my brother Manny came to me and said, ‘the Lord has placed it in my heart to do an album for our age (group) since there’s not much out there,” Margie said during a telephone interview.
Manny is famed onda chicana/música Tejano and now Christian music recording producer Manuel Robles Guerra Jr., 74, and he was referring to the lack of calm, soothing, beautiful praise and worship music.
“‘What? You want to record me, for real?’ I answered and that’s how this project started. He selected the music and it took us two years because I was often unable to practice or record because I was working in and out-of-town. But these are songs we used to sing right out of the hymn book and people tell me that these tunes bring back such wonderful memories.”
Flashing back to her earliest influences, Margie said that as a family, she and her five siblings come from a home where her father, Manuel was Catholic and her mother, Lucia, a Christian woman. However, it was a neighbor that used to pick Manny, Rudy Guerra and her up – then Collins Garden Elementary School students — and take them to Sunday services at a Baptist Church.
“We always had music around the house because my mother sang in both Spanish and English plus played piano. She even hired a piano teacher to teach me and Manny, so his first instrument was the piano. Later, my mother, my baby sister Lucy and I sang in trio.
“In the ninth grade I took one year of choir and the teacher encouraged me because I could sing in alto, in a lower key and I had a good voice. I was even featured in a solo in class, but to actually get up in front of an audience was out because I was very shy.
“Rock’n’roll was just coming in with Elvis,” Margie said of her second musical influence. In fact she and Manny were among the first to see Elvis Presley when he performed at the Municipal Auditorium on January 15, 1956.
As students at Luther Burbank High School, Manny played drums, Margie played clarinet and later Rudy, now 69 and an evangelist, chose to play saxophone. In addition, as a member of The Creepers, Manny played at many high school proms.
Manny graduated in the Class of 1958 and Margie graduated with the Class of ’59. Shortly thereafter she was influenced by The Sunglows, a band her brother Rudy and Sunny Ozuna formed in mid-1959 and ten years later, Rudy formed Latin Breed.
“At the time we lived on Saldaña and Nogalitos streets; and the band would practice in our open garage where my sister and I would sit, watch and listen to them play,” Margie continued.
“I was about 22 and already grown up when my mom became an evangelist, went back to her roots and we all started playing piano and singing at the Free Methodist Church on South Flores.
“I was singing, but I never thought that I could record because I had no vocal training. Everything I did was by note, but my mother and my sister sang by ear and in tune. Yet I had the lead part. But they would harmonize and in doing so covered up for me since I still did not value my singing nor considered myself a singer,” Margie said of her insecurity as a vocalist.
The years passed and in 1973, she married U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Eugene A. Holliday and after his military retirement, they moved to Houston followed by the Middle East, Rhode Island and Ecuador, where she fell in love with the South American flute. It was not until 1991 that they returned home and her little brother Joe Guerra, now 54, was playing keyboards with Sunny and the Sunliners. Then she joined the praise team at Voice of Truth, followed by Ingram Hills Church of God.
On a sad note, her husband passed on in 2006 and the Godly songbird now sings at Grace San Antonio Church at 8666 Huebner Road, where Joe also plays keyboards.
Incidentally, the Holliday musical legacy continues through her son Johnny, who plays five instruments and is now in the U.S. Air Force.
As for her recently released country-tinged CD, “A Lady of God Sings,” this production includes Allison Krause’s rousing “I’ll Fly Away” in a Glenn Campbell-like arrangement; and Bill Gaither’s “He Touched Me,” as a touching, mellow tune with awesome country fiddles.
Then she picks up the tempo with the pep-rally like “Stand Up for Jesus.” Some ballads on this CD are “Without Him,” “Precious Memories,” “There is a River,” “Turn Your Eyes unto Jesus” and “His Name is Wonderful (Jesus My Lord).”
“In the Sweet By and By” is a merry, happy go-lucky, easy to sing-along-with lilt with a good old-fashioned country gospel song feeling.
“God Be with You (Until We Meet Again)” is a sweet way of saying goodbye in a ‘Sons of the Pioneers’ style as one can almost picture Margie riding off into a beautiful sunset in a sort of “Happy Trails” ending to this up-lifting spiritual CD.
If you can’t find this great Christian CD at your favorite music store, just call Amen Music at (210) 549-2851.