This Christmas, an 82-year-old Las Vegas woman is giving family and friends the gift of song.
Helen Goldsbury recently recorded a Christmas song she wrote more than 50 years ago. She performed her song, “Christmas is Just Around the Corner,” for the first time at Lighthouse for the Blind in 1960. The Christmas benefit boasted sets from star musicians such as Duke Ellington.
Goldsbury had severe stage fright and never performed again.
“I had never sung in public before,” Goldsbury said. “My knees were shaking so bad.”
According to Goldsbury, the director of the event approached her after the show and asked if she would like to perform on his television program.
Goldsbury’s husband-to-be at the time didn’t like the idea of her becoming an entertainer. His lack of enthusiasm and her fear of performing for an audience prompted Goldsbury to decline the offer.
Goldsbury’s son, who is also musically inclined, had been listening to his mom sing the tune with her sister Kitty nearly his entire life.
Tommy Goldsbury, 50, recalls his mother approaching him about recording her song saying, “I might not be here next year.”
“Sometimes you let life get away from you,” Tommy Goldsbury said. “She just put her foot down and said that’s it.”
Helen Goldsbury’s song recalls holiday traditions like lighting the Christmas tree for the whole neighborhood to see and anxiously awaiting Santa’s arrival.
After she submitted a recording of the song to Dot Records, Goldsbury said, a spokesperson for the label told her “the song is nice and your voice is good, but Bing Crosby has the Christmas market sewn up.”
“The song is infectious,” Tommy Goldsbury said. “It’s not marginal; it’s exceptional.”
Although Goldsbury’s family and acquaintances sang the praises of her work the kind words weren’t enough to help her overcome anxiety about performing in public.
“I always felt it wasn’t meant to be,” Helen Goldsbury said. “I was such a scaredy cat; it’s like your brain just freezes.”
Even when her son turned on the video camera just days ago, Helen Goldsbury said, the nerves returned. “As soon as he started filming me I would freeze up and forget the words.”
Her nerves do not translate in the finished product, however. Goldsbury’s warm voice, accompanied by her son’s guitar, captures the joy of Christmastime.
“I don’t have half the wind I used to have,” Goldsbury said. “I’m amazed it came out as good as it did.”
Helen Goldsbury said her daughter and grandson in Florida, her granddaughter in New York, and her son, Tommy, are all very excited that she’s finally chasing her dream.
“She’s on top of the world right now,” Tommy Goldsbury says. “She’s excited for people to hear the song.”
Tommy Goldsbury says he would like to make recordings of a few more of his mother’s songs, which he is sure will turn out just as great as her first.
Helen Goldsbury would like to be an example to others who have put off pursuing their passions. “You’re never too old, and it’s never too late to fulfill a dream.”
Contact reporter Kimber Laux at email@example.com or (702) 383-0391.