MIA……

Yep, we’ve been missing in actions!! Life has gotten in the way of our posting, and we are truly sorry! We seem to keep up on Facebook, but have a hard time coming here and updating as well! If you are on facebook, please follow us! There are links her on the website to find us!

We are going to do a bit of a review of those months (and there are many) we missed posting!

April 2016: School months are very slow as far as performances for In Harmony. School, and school activities take precedence over anything else! In April Kali filmed a commercial for the Idaho Youth Ranch “Abused Girl”. If you are interested in watching it, please search for it on YouTube. It’s very powerful!! Kali also performed in a local dinner show. It was “Old Hollywood”, Kali portrayed Lucille Ball in a skit, and sang other Old Hollywood songs with her voice group. It was a great evening!

May 2016: Another busy month! Kali got the part of “Grandmother Hood” in her middle school musical. This was the month of performances. All those early morning practices were so worth it! She did a fantastic job! This month she was also interviewed for our local news channel. She had been selected as one of KTVB Channel 7 News: Seven’s Hero!!! Her interview/performance was filmed at the Boise Veterans Home by Maggie O’Mara. We need to thank the Boise Elks for their nomination of her. As her mother, I am very proud of her and the recognition she receives. We also need to thank Maggie!! Kali was very nervous going in, but Maggie mad her feel very at ease. We love you Maggie, and thank you for this opportunity! The airing date was the week of the 4th of July!

June 2016: In June we took a family trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Kali’s older siblings and their families, as well as her grandma went. We went to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and did a covered wagon cookout with Bar T-5. I suggest you do this if you haven’t! Covered wagons, music and a dutch oven dinner! June is also the month of Weiser’s National Oldtime Fiddle Contest. This is a very buys week every year for Kali. Here she puts on several performances, and it’s where she receives most of her donations for the year.

July 2016: Kali spent July attending two camps. The first one was the Kids Mountain Music Camp in McCall, Idaho. The kids at the camp were the opening act at the Summer Music Festival in Donnelly, Idaho. She had a great time here, was a bit more advanced than the other kids, but met some wonderful new friends! After music camp Kali attended a volleyball camp at Boise State University. She learned a lot, and wants to attend another one!

August 2016: August means the start of volleyball practice, and the start of her 8th grade year…..crazy!

September 2016: September is a busy month for sporting events! Volleyball games are starting, and it’s the start of Boise State football!! We are season ticket holders, and look forward to the season every year!! This is also the month that Kali filmed her first movie!!!  She had auditioned for the lead teen girl, but was given a role as her friend. Super excited for her. She did great on her first audition (they asked if she did theatre, so she thinks this is a reason she didn’t get the lead)! We will keep everyone updated on if it gets picked up for a film festival!!

October 2016: In October Kali is finishing up volleyball. We are still going to college football games, and she had another filming this month for the movie.

November 2016: Kali has started giving fiddle lessons to her students again, and she’s started up with her acting lessons, and Glee Club. We still have Boise State games we attended, and she was invited to play her military medley for our local Veteran’s Day celebration. WE LOVE OUR VETERANS!!!

December 2016: Besides the usual lessons for her, and her students, Kali participated in our local Holiday Parade. She also was asked to perform for a local group in Boise. We got to go to the Bishop’s house for this performance, and met so many wonderful ladies! What a beautiful atmosphere!! I also surprised Kali and took her to the Egyptian Theater in Boise. Mark O’Conner Band was playing. We arrived early, so spent some time in a coffee shop across the street, where Kali got to meet Mark O’Connor! She was very excited! We had front row seats, and the concert was amazing!!!! Kali has been learning the mandolin, and Mark’s son plays…..let’s just say, she came out of that concert in awe of their performance, and very much inspired!!!

January 2017: Happy New Year!!! This year will bring us lots of surprises! Some that we can’t announce yet, but we will tell you……Kali is working on something big! We at least hope it will be big! We are hoping this is something we can continue every year if possible!! Please keep following us! We are getting this set into motion, committee members are being selected, forms are being made, ideas are floating around. Hope to make an announcement soon!!!

 

 

 

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 Foundation 🙂

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©Kelley Branstetter

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©Kelley Branstetter

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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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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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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