Sipping gingerbread lattes while a song by the same name played, four women spent an early December morning reminiscing.
Drinking their coffee at the Hallmark Store in Polson, District Judge Kim Christopher chatted with family members of the late Judge C.B. McNeil, her mentor and friend.
While the women, including JoAnn McNeil, C.B.’s wife, Joni, his daughter-in-law, and Maria Williams, his granddaughter, talked with Christopher, the person behind the tune “Gingerbread Latte” came up in conversation often.
That woman, Jolie Vigen, is JoAnn and C.B.’s daughter.
Growing up in Polson, Vigen said that she was always involved with music growing up.
“My brother (Chuck) was a drummer,” she began over the phone, adding that she then got involved with drums, then she learned to play guitar.
Her mother, she noted, is also a classical pianist.
Inspiration for the cozy song came about as Vigen, who lives in Seattle, sat in a coffee shop.
“It was one of the quickest songs” she ever wrote, she said, adding it took just several days for the tune to come together.
The song is one of four originals on a Christmas album she and her friends recorded about a decade ago, she explained.
The album, titled “Another December,” includes 11 songs and came about during a window of opportunity.
As she and her friends were performing for a service around Christmas at their church, a gentleman came up to the group and said they should record a Christmas album.
The following week, after performing during a service at church once again, the same man said the same thing, but this time he had an offer.
“He would help with financing,” Vigen recalled.
Recording well-known Christmas songs, Vigen also used four of her originals, including “Gingerbread Latte.”
“It’s one of those funny things where opportunities present themselves,” she said, adding that the way events lined up, “It just kind of worked.”
While music is still a part of her life, Vigen said that at the moment, her hobbies and passions have changed.
She works as the director of sales for Discovery Education, which creates digital content for students Kindergarten through grade 12, as well as professional development for teachers and educators.
Vigen lives with her husband, Marty, and daughters Catie and Julia.
Currently, “Another December” is available for purchase at the Hallmark Store, as well as on multiple digital streaming music platforms and websites, Vigen said.