The SA Music Scene Saves Christmas - CO LAB Magazine

Christmas is in trouble! Santa Claus has been kidnapped by greedy toy corporations — and it’s up to a rag-tag team of scrappy local musicians to follow the trail, find the blackhearts that did it, and bring children around the world…

…not really. The actual plot of this title, though, is much, much better. Because it’s real, and helping real people, and you can help it happen.

Despite being among those worst affected by the pandemic, local musicians in San Antonio have come up with a plan to save regular folks who are struggling the most. That plan hits its climax today, when San Antonio’s very own local Christmas album drops; when you buy it here, you can help save Christmas too.

After raising $1081 for the San Antonio food bank in May, Covers for a Cause is back, uniting a cast of 16 local music acts to record an album of classic Christmas covers and original songs to raise money for local residents who are hardest hit, hopefully delivering them some much-needed holiday hope.

This is where I pause and appeal to you for action.
Please, search your heart, search your couch cushions, and challenge yourself to support this. Each purchase of this album not only gifts you a one-of-a-kind collection of our heckin’ scene doing Christmas, San Antone style, it directly gifts families in need with 100% of the proceeds.
If you love music and wouldn’t blink at paying the same for cover and a couple drinks on any normal day of the year, please, do just the same, and for a better cause.

This effort is spearheaded by local notables Matt San Martin, Oscar Moreno, and Vic Garces. Together, they’re working as Other You Media, and they’ve partnered with Studio E for the final recording and production, where artists are either performing or delivering their tracks even as this is being written.

At last count, a total of 16 are anticipated, but the following are locked in:

  • Mr. Pidge – “Last X-mas”
  • Michael J and the Foxes – “Christmas Makes Me Cry”
  • HoneyBunny – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
  • Pretty Dangerous – “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight)”
  • Baldemar (feat. Galliandt) – “Puffin’ Around The Christmas Tree”
  • Cooper Greenberg – “River”
  • Werito – “Mamacita, Done Esta Santa Claus?”
  • When the Sky Sleeps – “O Holy Night”
  • Mark. – “Wrap Your Own Gifts”
  • Porridge Fist – “Well Shaken (eggnog)”
  • Diego Noyola – “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”
  • Jason Kane and the Jive – “Winter Wonderland”
  • Ani Ces – “12.23.95”
  • Planet Plum – “Christmas in My Car”
  • Andres Garcia – “Mil Años”
  • The Grasshopper Lies Heavy – “I’m So Ashamed Of Myself (On Christmas)”

Today, the album goes live on Bandcamp. Every single purchase from will go directly to Para Mi Gente, a grassroots mutual aid organization that directly benefits residents who need it immediately.

This is a bit of savvy that Matt San Martin learned from his previous Covers for a Cause foray.

“Bandcamp requires a PayPal to be set up in conjunction with an album. So, the first time I set it up for the Food Bank, the funds went to my PayPal, and then they went from my PayPal to the Food Bank,” he recalls.

“Whereas now, I’ve learned that we can just take ourselves entirely out of the equation, and we can link these smaller organizations’ PayPal directly to the album so THEY get the money in one go, without having to go through the processing fees of Bandcamp AND PayPal, you know?”

This couldn’t be more important here, as every cent will count for the families that need it. This is also exactly the same spirit with which Matt used in choosing the cause to facilitate their endeavor: making the most of every penny.

As a community aid organization, Para Mi Gente knows the neighborhood, knows who needs it most, and has no office of executives or marketing team to take a cut in-between. Oscar Moreno and Vic Garces, both knowing past hardships and the good these communities can do for themselves, are just as stalwart with this direction.

Oscar Moreno at his photography gallery in 2018. Photo by Robbie Rodgers.

“Para Mi Gente is charity unlike any other in town,” says Oscar Moreno. “I love the fact that it’s purely local as well, ran by people just like us. They do it because they love doing what they do.” He is absolutely a believer in what this small group can accomplish, and for good reason.

Over the past few months, the organization founded by Celeste Ramirez has gained steady wins its neighbors. What they may lack in numbers, they make up for in targeting and effectiveness. Last month, they collected nearly 400 pairs of shoes for those facing a cold winter outside. Last week, they raised $800 in personal donations that went directly to 8 families.

“Mutual aid has always been an important cause,” explains Vic Garces. But especially this year with everything going on, y’know? It aligns perfectly with what this project is all about.”

Vic knows too well how just how much a helping hand to the people closest can change lives for the better. Growing up, she followed her mother’s dreams across the country to pursue education. Many times when they had found their situation dangerously uncertain, when they were new faces in a town who knew none they could turn to, it was other students in the community who stepped in and provided support.

Those experiences molded her into someone who wields her voice and passion for music and art for tangible good, and needs little prompting to act.

“Now more than ever, we need to be looking out for each other, directly helping out whoever we can however we can.”

For Vic, the people-helping-people model of organizations like Para Mi Gente is not just a nice ideal, it’s a proven system with first-hand results.

“They have done so many good things for the community, like feeding the homeless, providing shoes and clothing and helping families in need, Oscar continues. “Hopefully, [Covers for a Cause] will give them more to help out the struggling families in town.”

That’s why it’s absolutely vital that we, as music fans and members of the community, do everything we can to make sure it succeeds.

We have the power to do more than just give a small one-time donation — we have the power to boost this message, spread it across the city to places it wouldn’t reach, and generate success on a scale beyond this small charity’s wildest expectations.

Let’s make it happen, fam.

Starting today, the album is up on Bandcamp under “Other You Media,” a platform Matt is hoping to develop into seeding and supporting even more altruistic musical endeavors like this one.

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“We hope that people like the music and that this album serves as a sort of document to what was going on during this time and how all these local musicians were able to come together for one important cause,” Matt says.

And he won’t stop there. Music has always been a powerful tool for change, and it looks like his heart is set, at least for a good chunk of his time, on becoming a facilitator of just that in endeavors to come.

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