September 2015

September  was still full of Boise State games, school, volleyball games, etc. She did pick up voice lessons this month and she also got her braces taken off!

This month’s performance was at the Weiser Farmers Market. We were able to set up her boot, and she was the musical performer. We owe a HUGE “thank you” to the Weiser River Resource Council, especially Jordan Edwards! She has been a big supporter of Kali. We are so lucky to have people like her helping our daughter.

Kali was able to raise $52 in donations to help with her drive for the Gary Sinise Foundation. However, Jordan and the Weiser River Resource Council gave her a large check at her performance. We were shocked, and ever so grateful for this donation! You need to read other posts to find out what amount was sent to the Gary Sinise Foundation :)

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©Kelley Branstetter

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©Kelley Branstetter

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©Kelley Branstetter

Blow is the picture of Samuel Taylor, he is one of my son’s friends. Sadly at the end of July he took his own life. He was a member of the United States Coast Guard. If you have been to one of Kali’s performances you know that she talks about PTSD and Veteran Suicide. She feels it is very important to raise awareness as there are too many of our heroes loosing their life. Kali’s grandfather also committed suicide a few years ago. She decided to put their pictures up in her booth in an effort to raise awareness, and honor the heroes that they were.

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©Kelley Branstetter

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©Kelley Branstetter

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©Kelley Branstetter

August 2015

Yes, we haven’t posted in a while, but man…it has been a busy year! I will update you on what has been going on since our last post!

AUGUST:

The week following the Wyakin Warrior check presentation, Kali performed in a local musical called “100 Years of Broadway.” Weiser is full of amazingly talented people.

August was also the start of school, and the first year of Junior High Volleyball! It was also the start of Boise State football. Kali and I are season ticket holders, so we look forward to this time of year.

Also in August we traveled up to the McCall Senior Center for a performance. This was something we had done the previous year, and decided to do it annually. My grandma (Kali’s great grandma) attends a lot of their festivities.

We’d like to thank those who came out and supported Kali. She was able to add $60 in donations to her pot for the Gary Sinise Foundation.

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©Kelley Branstetter

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Wyakin Warrior Foundation

UPDATE: WE NOW HAVE A  PICTURE!

On Tuesday, August 4, 2015 I went to a Wyakin Warrior Foundation meeting. The reason I was there, was to present them with a check for $400. That is the money I raised from generous donors during my National Oldtime Fiddle Contest performances, as well as a performance at the Boise Elks. Thank you to all of you who donated and helped me deliver my biggest check to date!

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

Interview: Megan Lynch-Chowning (my fiddle instructor)

If you’ve read my previous posts, you know a bit about my fiddle instructor Megan. We do Skype lessons once a week, and I can’t tell you enough how much I love and appreciate her! I asked her if I could do an interview for this blog, so here it is:

Me: “Where were you born?”

Megan: “Castro Valley, California- about 20 miles east of San Francisco.”

Me: “When did you start playing the fiddle?”

Megan: “October of my kindergarten year. I was four and a half years old.”

Me: “What was one of your favorite performances?”

Megan: “When I was eight years old, the fiddle group I played with stood on the side of the road in Utah and played tunes while the Olympic torch runner ran by. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life.”

Me: “At what age did you start performing?”

Megan: “I entered my first contest when I had just turned five years old. I started performing with Fiddle Kids and Co. that same year. Five was a big age for me!”

Me: “Have you won any awards?”

Megan: “I am a seven time National Champion, a 6 time California State Champion, and I’ve been the State Champion of half a dozen other states.”

Me: “Have you ever performed or played with anyone famous?”

Megan: “Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, Mel Tillis, and several other bluegrass and country legends. I’ve been so fortunate!”

Me: ” Does anyone else in your family play an instrument?”

Megan: “My mother was a fantastic piano player when she was young. But other than that, no. However, many members of my family have wonderful ears for music.”

Me: “What do you love doing that doesn’t involve music?”

Megan: “I’m a pretty bad knitter but I enjoy it. I read at least an hour every day. And I travel as much as possible.”

Me: “Who are your musical influences?”

Megan: “I was influenced by all of the classic country artists like Ray Price, Bob Wills, George Jones, Mel Tillis, Patsy Cline – all the wonderful singers who played with great fiddle players! Of course I always listened to awesome fiddlers and still do. I love Bruce Molsky, the late Dick Barrett, Texas Shorty, Alison Krauss, I could list a million!”

Me: “What are your favorite foods?”

Megan: “Nashville style hot chicken, fresh picked vegetables, and just about every kind of gelato you can imagine.”

Me: “Where is your favorite vacation spot?”

Megan: “I love England – London, all the small coastal towns, all of it.”

Me: “Do you collect anything?”

Megan: “I try not to collect things, I get nervous around clutter. But over the years many people have given me fiddle playing figurines of all shapes and sizes so I guess I collect those!”

Me: “What are your hobbies?”

Megan: ” I love reading of all sorts. And playing with Winston, the best dog on the planet.”

Thank you Megan for allowing me to share a bit of you with everyone else!

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

Above: Megan and I at Bluegrass Camp 2014

Below: Megan teaching at Bluegrass Camp 2014

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

Military Medley

This video gets its own post!

Had a really hard time loading this thing! Have worked on it for two days! I could not get it to work to add to the Veterans 4th of July performance post, so here it is:

God Bless all of our military past and present!

4th of July 2015

In Harmony hopes that everyone had an eventful, but safe 4th of July!

We spent the afternoon of the 4th at the Veterans Home in Boise. Kali played an hour session there again. It was during lunch time, and the Elks were there serving root beer floats, so there were quite a few people there. Kali’s Bubba went with us, and his friends Jay and Patty met us there. Jay was in the Marine Corps with Kenneth from the start, then moved to Idaho after he got out. It is good for them to have each other!

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

One of the things we love about playing there are those who constantly come up to Kali to talk to her. There are always new ones, but there are three that do it every single time. One gentleman even goes back to his room and comes back with a printed song he thinks would be good for her to hear. It’s so cute! I was told yesterday that he tells everyone, “It takes a lot of courage for someone her age to get up and play in front of a lot of people.” He is right! She is very courageous! Something she has in common with all those Veterans! Then we have another one who has told us growing up they had a family band, and his brother was a fiddle player, so he loves listening to her.

(Here are a few of the new people)

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

(Here’s is the sweet man who gives Kali printed songs)

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

(Here is the one who had a family band growing up)

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

As we looked into the crowd before and during her performance, we noticed one of our regulars was missing. This got us a bit nervous, as he told us at the Father’s Day performance he would come see us. After the performance was done Kali noticed him! We picked up most of her stuff, then headed to him. We introduced him to Kenneth, Jay and Patty. I then felt I needed to let him know how drawn we are to him. This is the sweetest  guy! He talked to us the longest the day of Kali’s first performance. We left that day talking about him, and still talk about him a year later! I talked to the event coordinator that we work with about him. She confirmed what we already knew…he is one of the most genuine people here. Kali told her she wanted to adopt him, and bring him home with her. She doesn’t have any grandpa’s that are alive, and I know she’s thinking he would make the perfect “adopted grandpa!” We found out he doesn’t have family close by, so we have made a decision to write him letters, and visit him. Don’t be surprised if you see another article in our local internet news, “Living In The News” by Kali, about her newly “adopted grandpa Roy!”

Here they are together!

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

We’d like to leave you with a quote Kali used during this performance. One that we think people in this country have forgotten about:

“What is a Veteran? A Veteran, whether active duty, discharged, retired or reserved is someone who at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including his life.” That my friends is called HONOR!

Tip Update:

We promised you that we’d give you the final tally with what we raised, but……we’ve extended our fundraising until the end of July!! Please go to the “FAQ” tab above, then click on the link under “Where do I donate.”

We will be headed down to present them with our money in August, this is why we went ahead and extended it. That means, we can’t tell you our final total!!

Sorry :(