Weiser Classic Candy Performance #2

My final performance during this years National Oldtime Fiddle Contest was after the parade on Saturday, June 27th.

Remember that beautifully decorated tip jar I talked about in one of my earlier posts? Well, I no longer have that tip jar! Upon arriving to set up my mom (I was in the parade line-up) opened up the back part of my sissy’s car and out it fell! Yep, broke into a few large pieces and a gazillion (not really) little pieces. My tips from the week laid there in a heaping pile. Good thing the wind wasn’t blowing or they would’ve been chasing money everywhere! Keith came out and cleaned up the mess for us. They also let us borrow a candy jar to use for this performance. This is how Keith delivered it to my mom! HAHAHA! How can you not love this?!

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

I always start out my performances by telling a bit about myself. I then play a few tunes, then either tell more about what I’m doing, reading quotes, some of my favorite things, facts about myself, thanking people, etc. I’m going to let you in on some things I said on this day:

“I am the little sister of a United States Marine Veteran. There is 13 years difference between us. He is the reason I am passionate about taking care of our wounded warriors and Veterans. One of my favorite quotes is one that describes how I feel about my brother: Heroes don’t wear capes, the wear dog tags.” My brother is the true definition of hero! I’d like to introduce you to him now.” This is where it started getting emotional……

I have had breakdowns at other performances, but this was the first one my Bubba was able to attend.

I made it through the next set of songs, then spoke about my organization, including what organizations we work with. I played another set of tunes.

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

Then I said this: “Here’s another quote: “You can’t take the war out of the warrior.” If you are a family member of someone who has served, you know what this means. I do! My brother was injured during his time in Afghanistan. While you may only see a small scar above his eye…it’s deeper. PTSD and suicide affects a high percentage of our military and Veterans. Every day we lose 22 Veterans to suicide. My grandfather is part of that statistic. He was also a Marine Corps Veteran serving in Vietnam. It is time we do something to reduce those numbers and take care of them when they come home!” Yes, there was another break down during this time. My Bubba came up and comforted me. He gives the best hugs!

After this I played some more tunes, then talked about some of my favorite things. This includes my slight obsession with the band One Direction! I followed this up by playing a One Direction song called, “What Makes You Beautiful!”

After another few tunes played I took the time to thank some people. Some weren’t at that performance, so I’m going to post it here in hopes they will see that I truly appreciate them and all of their support!

“I’d like to take the time to thank some people: Patrick here at Weiser Classic Candy for all your support and allowing me to play here. Alex with Living In The News for all his support and kind words. My fiddle instructor Megan for devoting her time to teach me, and being the best instructor on the planet! My family who is all sitting over here for supporting me in everything I do. I love you all! Most of all, those of you who graciously donate your hard-working money to help support me and my cause. I really appreciate it!”

I played some more tunes (you see a pattern here?)…..

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

Then I introduced my instructor Megan. Megan is from Tennessee, and we do weekly Skype sessions. She just happened to be here for the week to compete, so I asked if she would come play a few tunes of her own, then a few with me. I have to tell you….she is the winner of this years National Oldtime Fiddle Contest Adult Division!!! So proud of her, and love her TONS!

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

Here is her and I playing some of “San Antonio Rose”. We did NOT get together at all during the week to practice, and we did NOT practice together during my Skype sessions!

I then said this: “Our flag doesn’t fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” “The American Flag is our country’s symbol for freedom, and our soldier’s fight to protect those freedoms. I personally thank each and every one of you who stood up and fought for my freedom!”

This is where I play one of my favorite songs. Megan (I thought) was putting away her fiddle, then all of a sudden I hear the most beautiful sound…..

I’m hoping to get her to record the backup piece so I can start playing it this way! Thank you Megan for jumping in and making this song even more beautiful!

I end with another quote, some more thanks and a military medley. You will have to check back for another post, which will have that video!

Until next time……….

One Of My Passions:

Is softball!

I’m pretty sure I have loved it since I was born! I mean, when you have a sister who is 15 years older than you, and it was her passion too (and I know my mom made pretty much every single game)! I’m sure I was cheering her on in the womb!

I can remember knowing a lot about the game when I started playing. So much so, I didn’t understand:

1: why we could only run one base when we could make it to the second

2: why we couldn’t keep score (I knew who won and lost)

I have always played the positions of pitcher and 1st base. While I love pitching, 1st base if my favorite position!

This year I needed some new equipment. We kept running to a certain store close by, but every time we went there, they were out of what we needed. A helmet and face mask is VERY important! After about our third trip there, and with them still not having what we needed, we drove to Nampa. My Bubba and his wife Chelsea went with us. I had my gear in hand and we were headed to the check-out stand when my Bubba pointed me into a different direction. It must have been fate! On a shelf sat the PERFECT helmet for me! I ran the plain black one back to the shelf, and scooped me up one that I wear proudly! You could say that I stood out at all of my games!

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

My Bubba put one of his Marine Corps stickers on the back for me! Thanks Bubba!


©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

©Kelley Branstetter

National Oldtime Fiddle Contest Parade

I was asked to participate in the National Oldtime Parade this year by the Weiser Farmers Market.  I’m happy to say that our float got first place in the non-profit division! It was extremely hot outside (104 to be exact), but I had a blast and would like to thank the Weiser Farmers Market for asking me to be a part of their float!




Here are a few of my favorite parts about the parade:)




Weiser Classic Candy Performance #1

My first full performance during fiddle week was on Friday, June 26, 2015 at Weiser Classic Candy. It is a local deli/ice cream/candy shop run by two amazing people! I’d like to thank Patrick and Keith for being such huge supporters of what I am doing!


This was how I set up my table for my performances at Weiser Classic Candy. NOTE: See that pretty tip jar? There is a story in my next blog about it! (It will be Weiser Classic Candy Performance #2)


Fill In Performance During National Oldtime Fiddle Contest 2015

The National Oldtime Fiddle Contest is held every year the week after Father’s Day in my hometown. We have two parks, and both are jam-packed with performances everyday. I belong to a local youth fiddle group (Squeaky Strings). We perform every single day, sometimes 2-3 times a day during this week. We were scheduled to play for an hour and a half at Memorial Park, but our show is usually only an hour, so I filled in with about a 20 minute performance. Thank you to those of you who donated during this performance, and to those Veterans who came by to talk to me! I was also asked about performing at a show in Eastern Idaho this year. Not sure we will make it this year, but we have some info so will look into maybe doing it next year.


Father’s Day 2015

The Idaho State Veteran’s Home was hosting a Father’s Day BBQ, and I was invited to play. One of the things I love about playing there is having the Veterans come up to me and tell me what branch they were in, and some other info. about themselves. I love hearing them holler after every song…..this tells me that they are enjoying themselves, and that right there is why I’m doing what I do!




It’s About That Time………

Fiddle week is fast approaching our small little town! Cross walks are painted, food vendors are staking their ground, campers are starting to move in for the week, and Kali’s life will get a bit more hectic!!! She belongs to a local youth fiddle group called “Squeaky Strings.” The group performs at various venues around town through the week, and this is always the week Kali is able to start performing on her own to raise money for this organization. This week she will be performing everyday, sometimes twice a day around town. She is also hoping to get some wonderful workshops in along the way!