Sunday, September 9, 2012

How to, or not to run a family band. Verdict is still out.

Not sure why I'm neglecting the blog, but perhaps it's because we're distracted with bookings, which are coming along just great, provided we don't actually intend to go anywhere next year. Ha! Actually, we're just sending things out and haven't finished yet, let alone gotten to the "call everyone and beg" part.

Do me a favor. Don't mention to anyone that I write such things on my blog. I don't promote this blog from our official web site for a reason! I think I'm supposed to be professional. We've tried. Really. In concert as well, we try to coach the kids into acting like the other bands out there, starting up in an instant for the next song, being ready to come in on time, and everything mature and proper. Then, like in our last concert, our "professional" fiddle player drops his fancy new bow in the middle of the song, bends down to get it while singing so the audience can't hear him anymore, and publicly announces when it's over that he had to drop it because he had the "itchiest nose EVER!" 

This was shortly before his little sister came up on stage for our finale of "America the Beautiful", we all got ready to sing, and she tapped on me to let me know that she had to go to the bathroom and it couldn't wait. I dismissed her, everyone grabbed instruments, and we thought up another song to stall, while everyone roared with laughter as she ran the other way. They had a chance to laughed again when she failed to return to the stage and instead went into the back play room where she had been dancing with some other girls.

I vowed to never let that little girl run amok again after tonight's show. I have said it before, but I really, really, really mean it this time. There were about 20 kids playing on the playground, right by where we were performing, so I let her, thinking I could keep an eye on her. Bad choice. Bonked head, hyperactivity, distractions, wandering off, too tired to sing, hiccups, dancing, etc.

This was definitely worse than usual, but not the first time the whole show suffered at the hyperactivity of a 7-year-old, but I'm a slow learner. I waver between wanting to let her just be a little kid, since I'm a terrible "stage mom", and expecting her and her brother to learn some professionalism with the rest of us, because it builds character. In truth, I am far more strict when we are being paid by an organization. I tend to let more go when it's a casual show at an RV park that is simply giving us donations, while people eat, play, relax, and just socialize, but I think tonight was a little over the top even for that, and she needs some consistency to expectations. I need to get in touch with my inner tiger mom.

Then we go back to her brother, whose distractions are simply more sophisticated, like when he recently talked a sound tech into putting on the disco ball during Orange Blossom Special, prior to the show and without our knowledge, and held up the show until he got her attention and she got it running.

And yet, it would seem the audience still loves us, no matter how weird things get. I suppose it makes it easier for them to relate to us when we don't play the "look, we're perfect" game, but have fun and play good music. I sure hope so, because we could sure use more of that lovin' when we go to prepare for our 2013 season!

I reckon we'll need to make them shape up by the time they're teenagers. That stuff's not quite as cute coming from a teenager. Not that I'd know from experience. My teenagers are my gooooooood kids. Well, other than getting out of bed at noon and sitting in front of their laptops the rest of the day. Put that aside and I was such a good parent for the first 6 years of motherhood, then God laughed just like the audience later would. Thankfully, I have enough sense to laugh over it quite a bit too. Or cry. Same thing some nights.

Someday the kids will want to be in a grown-up band, and I suppose they'll start to behave when they are ready to do so. Until then, we'll just have fun.

Well, how about some pictures. 
 Spent the previous week in Clinton, IN at a great park. Have I mentioned how happy we are to be back in the Thousand Trails parks? Behind the bus is a lake, but you can't see it through the pretty flowers and cattails.
We found a pet turtle while staying there. He was our pet for about 10 minutes, then we let him go. 
 Lumps on a Sunday afternoon. Not all days need to be an adventure.
 Champagne, Illinios - Wallydocking near a Starbucks. Love!
Earlier before the show the kids went on a hayride at the park.
 Wilmington, OH. I wish we could have stayed at this park longer. It was a favorite.
 Took this picture in Batesville, IN. This was a neat park, but the family center was closed, and that made it a little more confining, but we did manage to get in some S'Mores.
Prior to our trip to Clinton we stayed at a park just across the state line in Illinois. It was a wonderful park, but without wifi and with no phone service, we only stayed 2 nights.  While we were there we toured their wonderful barn, where they hold Gospel sings and worship services, the kids watched humming birds (Sean took this picture), and enjoyed quiet time by the beautiful lake.
The Barn. Beautiful conversion inside!
The entry chair to the barn. Clever idea!

Very pretty, but I think the leaves were falling off more from drought than the coming fall. Lake was way down, and they badly needed rain.

We play a gospel show next weekend for a church up in Wisconsin, and then we head into Pennsylvania. So excited! Fall is coming and we get to head to some very beautiful country, ornery kids and all. :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Where do we go?

I can't believe it's been this long since I blogged. I haven't felt much like blogging because of slow internet and we are trying to get bookings for next spring/summer, something we're rather terrible at during the best of times, and even worse when we don't even know where we should go. Praying types who read this, if you wouldn't mind asking along with us, we'd appreciate it. I'm not one who likes to ask for "signs" - as in, "God, if you want us to go to the store today, please make a fly land on the tip of this pencil," but getting a booking for something important in an area would make for a fine sign as to where we should target our energies. There is a lot to consider. We want to get back up through Colorado, but Colorado is expensive and very far away from our other travel ideas. Plus, the kids insist we are in Missouri for Memorial Day to go to Silver Dollar City. Then there is the largest considerations, those dealing with the economy, which leads to diesel prices, food prices in other areas, wear and tear on the bus that will require some maintenance by next year, etc.

When you add the last part together, it starts to change plans when speaking from a practical sense. We don't have to do the practical thing. After all, taking off in a school bus after selling everything is not really practical, but outside of other directions, that's what we do. Our hope had been to head to the Pacific Northwest, up through Montana, Idaho, etc. Sadly, the cost of upgrading our current camping membership in order to get these properties in our system may not be the best economical move at the moment. This means, to economize, we really have to stick with the North East and the South East.

The current plan is to head up to Colorado in April, (we're already booked in Texas through March), through Kansas in late April/early May, over to the Arkansas/Missouri boarder in late May through early June, then bounce over to the Thousand Trail campgrounds in Tennessee, Kentucky, perhaps back over to the Cincinnati area, and then maybe head up to New England by late summer and early fall, before heading back down to Florida, completing the loop through to Texas. The advantage of going to some familiar areas is that we have made a few connections and will hopefully be welcome back, with perhaps a few more. I have to wonder, however, if our show will fly in an area saturated with Southern Gospel, something pretty far out of our experience. It's simply not performed much in Colorado, so it's not "in our ears" to perform authentically, and our sound doesn't match that old mountain bluegrass sound very well either. This means we'll either get weird looks, or people will find us a refreshing change. Going west may provide better results, but if east is where God wants us, then it must be the east is ready for a bit of a western sound. I suppose we'll find out!

We've had a lot of fun recently and I am overdue for a picture blog of some of our last couple of travel weeks, with a fun story or two on the side, so perhaps I'll catch up on that when we get to our next park, in Belvidere, IL!