Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Annie Costumes

Costume Collage with text

Well, I think we are getting pretty close to having our costumes for Annie.  There are a lot of them.   I keep saying that once we start taking these to practices, we will look like we are moving in to the college (which we practically will be for the next couple of weeks!)

Everyone has more than one costume this year, so that has made things interesting.  Our local thrift store has been very gracious about letting us try things and donating items for the show, so that has been a blessing.

Here is a slideshow of the Prairie Family’s Annie costumes:

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Ongoing Annie Rehearsals

Getting Closer Collage with text

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Spring Break Collage with text

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Early Annie Rehearsals

Early Rehearsal Collage with text

The 2016 Annie cast has gotten a good start on rehearsals for the April production.  The last several weeks have been spent learning songs, reading lines, and blocking scenes.  Soon after returning to rehearsals after Spring Break, we will be ready to begin running whole acts (even on the stage)!  Then the real fun starts!

So now it is crunch time:  time to get the songs and lines memorized, costumes prepared, scenery and props gathered, and a million other little details to check off as the show gets closer.  Our days will be very busy, but I know we will be building memories that will last a lifetime.

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Army Field Band Collage with text

Our community was very blessed over spring break to have the United States Army Field Band perform at our local high school auditorium.  Any time a group like this comes through, our family makes our best effort to attend because they always have amazing programs.

This particular performance was really special, however, because the concert band and soldiers’ chorus invited local students to join them in performing one song.  When we were asked to consider doing this, we were very excited.  So we downloaded the sheet music that the group provided, practiced the song and waited for the special day.

We never know exactly how something like this is going to go, but I felt pretty sure that being part of the US military, this one would be handled very professionally.  And it was.  Before the concert a member of the choir came and explained to the kids exactly what would be happening and what they would need to do.  There weren’t any rehearsals, but I felt pretty confident that this would work out all right.

So we enjoyed the concert.  The band and chorus performed a variety of pieces.  We especially liked a band song entitled El Camino Real by Alfred Reed.  The kids really enjoyed it when the chorus presented several songs from musicals including Tradition from Fiddler on the Roof.  Boy, did that bring back some fun memories from the musical a couple of years ago!

This concert was a special treat for Kara, who loves all things military.  She was enraptured throughout the concert–especially when a featured soloist played a trombone piece.  (She recently began taking lessons on the trombone herself and loves it!)

The kids sang their song with the chorus, and, of course, that was pretty neat.  They all came back to their seats with big smiles.  The Army Field Band treated my kids like royalty–several times throughout the evening, they’d come ask them how they were enjoying the performance, what songs they liked, etc.  At the end of the show, they brought each of them (and me too) a personalized dog tag as a thank you for participating.  It really was a great experience–one that I know they will always remember.

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Easter Cantata


I love Easter. It puts the price my Savior paid for my salvation “front and center” and reminds me of His victory over sin and death.  For years I have talked about doing something special to honor this great day.  I’ve thought about how much time and preparations are put into celebrating Christmas, and yet in my own life, somehow Easter often goes by with little more than a few special songs sung at church.  Maybe it’s because Easter falls at a busy time of year–I don’t know, but I decided that this year would be different.

So, right after Christmas, I began to think about what to do that would really make Easter special.  At first I thought about doing something with the kids of our church, but right when I was thinking about these things, I had two or three adults approach me about the idea of doing something for everyone.  So, I decided to give it a try, and I am so glad that I did!

We decided to do Russell Mauldin’s Easter musical, “It is Finished.” This collection of songs with narrations is pretty simple to put together, and I thought it would be a good place to start.  The songs are great, and the story ties everything together well.

We started rehearsals early in the year, and people have been very faithful to come to practice.  The thing that has made this a very special experience is that the members of the group truly love the Lord, and there have been many special moments of worship as we have worked our way through this program.  I think the most precious thing is to see the children sing from their hearts–sometimes even with tears–as they sing praise to our Lord.  It has been amazing.

So, since this weekend is Palm Sunday, this will be our last week of rehearsal before our performance on Easter Sunday,March 27, during our regular worship service at 10:45.  I can’t wait–this special Resurrection Day will be one to always remember!

Cantata Collage

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We are already getting close to finishing our first year with the homeschool choir.  We will be having our last performance in April and then will take a break for the summer.  (And one of our members will be graduating!  That is exciting!)

These kids have been great to work with.  They are always respectful and put forth their best effort.  They have done a great job putting together songs in our limited rehearsal schedule, and I am very proud of them.  I hope they have enjoyed this as much as I have!

We talked a little bit about plans for next year, and the kids have several things they’d like to try.  Some ideas tossed around were adding in instruments and maybe putting together a skit or two.  I think both of those ideas might work–these kids have proven that they will reliably practice outside of our class time, and that will help make those ideas a reality.

I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know these kids–they have been a real blessing!

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This was Cosette’s first year of participating in the Northwest Kansas Piano Clinic and Multi-Keyboard Concert, and this was a really nice event for her.  Her day began by having a visiting clinician listen to her play several pieces and offer her encouragement and critique.  It’s nice to get input from a variety of people, and this particular pianist had some wonderful suggestions for Cosette to try.

Cosette also participated in three levels of the multi-keyboard concert, so she had several hours of rehearsal before the performance.  Playing in groups like this is very good for pianists because of the fellowship, but also because of the accuracy and listening required when performing with others.  The visiting conductor was very engaging, and Cosette enjoyed his groups very much.  Here is a video of one of her groups performing New Orleans Swing by Carol Matz:

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2016 Musical Try-Outs

Annie Tryout Collage with text

Here it is March 11, time for Spring Break, and I haven’t blogged since Christmas Break.  I guess that is pretty indicative of how our days are going!  Yes, things have been pretty crazy, but I am going to use these next few days while we are on break from school to try to catch up on some of our family’s news.

Shortly after Christmas, the college choral director announced that this year’s musical would be Annie.  Auditions were held in February, and the excitement of another production began.

Auditions took several weeks for this show because of the large amount of community interest in the play in addition to weather delays.  Once the auditions were finished and the cast was posted, though, the Prairie Family was very happy with the parts that were given to them!  Kara and Cosette are both servants in the Warbuck’s mansion.  In addition to their base roles, Cosette will be playing the “Star to Be” in the NYC scene, and Kara will be portraying Frances Perkins, who was the Secretary of Labor in FDR’s cabinet.  Luke is a “Hoovervillite,” a member of the President’s Cabinet, and the Sound-Effects man in the radio scene.  Dan was cast as Bert Healy, who is the radio announcer who helps Mr. Warbucks try to find Annie’s parents.  Brock got the most unusual part of all–he is Rooster Hannigan, who is the sly villain of the show who pretends to be Annie’s father for financial gain.  This role is fun for Brock because he just gets to be shady in a rather silly way.  (All three of the people portraying the bad-guys in this show are really nice kids!  lol!)  I will be playing my violin in the pit orchestra again this year, and I enjoy that a lot.

The best part about doing this show is that our community has really gotten involved this year, and that means that there are several cast members that are dear friends of ours.  It is a true joy to be able to share this wonderful experience with people who mean so much to us. This is going to be the best musical year yet!  🙂


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Christmas Eve 2015

Christmas Eve Collage

Our family has gotten to where we enjoy Christmas Eve as much as, if not more than, Christmas Day.  2015 was no exception.  We went out to eat lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, and opened our traditional “stocking” gifts (that have been put in bags for years!).  Our church had it’s second annual Christmas Eve candlelight service, and we had several people from the area visit with their families, which was really nice.  We had the kids of our church provide the special music for the evening, and they all did really well.

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