Weiser Elks Performance

On March 12, 2016 I performed at the Weiser Elks dinner. This performance was doomed from the start! We had problems with people, equipment, and the performance in general. In life, you should always find something ¬†positive in a negative situation. My positive was no matter what I’m struggling with…..our military and Veterans have struggled with more! Being away from family and friends for an extended amount of time……seeing death and destruction on a daily basis…………..loosing friends/team members………living in war torn/poverty stricken areas…….struggling with demons when they return……….Yep, my bad day was nothing! God bless all of you!

A HUGE thank you to the generous donor who left a check at the bottom of my tip jar! You are amazing, and I appreciate you! Remember…..totals are revealed when we send our check off to our target organization. This will hopefully keep you coming back to my blog!!!

Gary Sinise Foundation

We are happy to say, that we sent a check to the Gary Sinise Foundation for $450! We were able to do this because of the generous donors at the following performances: McCall Senior Center, Weiser Farmers Market (this included the generous check from the Weiser River Resource Council), and the Pumpkin Palooza!!! Thank you so much to each and every one of you!!!

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 Foundationūüôā

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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!