KILLEEN, TX — While driving though the Walmart parking lot on Lowes Boulevard in Killeen this week, you may have heard more than just car engines and shopping carts. As a matter of fact, you probably heard a compilation of jazz music.
That’s because Makalani Jones and his three children have set up shop to perform multiple songs in exchange for a smile or a tip.
“As a single male father,” Jones said. “I’m trying to roll with the punches as best as I can and stand up on my feet and show my kids how to make it any way and be blessed any how.”
Playing music is something Jones has done for over 30 years.
“Music is the universal language, and that’s what I was able to give both my middle school and high school students in both band and choir,” he said.
Jones studied jazz at the University of New Orleans for five years. Then the student became the teacher, a music teacher that is.
He taught music and choir at various middle and high schools, but was laid off this year because of COVID-19.
“With school closing down, I was asked to go home like everybody else,” Jones admitted. “Rent was still due, car note still due, car insurance, etc. down the line.”
Those were bills he couldn’t afford to keep up with. Now, Jones and his three children are living at the Motel 6 for Christmas.
“They’re [his kids] not looking for anybody to jump down the chimney with gifts,” he said. “So, we’re using this opportunity so we all can be Santa Clause, make money and create our own Christmas.”
It’s money donated from the community that keeps his family fed and under a roof.
“I try to stay happy, because I know things can change in a short amount of time,” his son, Makalani Jones, Jr. said.
“We thank you, we need you, literally to survive at this time,” Makalani Jones, Sr. followed. “It’s crucial.”