Bendigo-go

BendigoBendigo. One of our favorite stops on our tour in Australia hands down! In fact, if it had been located nearer the beach, we might have just stayed there and never come home.

It’s a major regional city with a population of about 100K and growing. It sits 2 hours just northwest of Melbourne. The original land owners are the Jaara people and in the 1880’s it was the hub for the gold rush. Bendigo has loads of cycling and walking trails, parklands and nature reserves. It is also the home of a La Trobe University and so the city has a youthful, artsy, festive vibe with plenty of little boutiques, cafes, and art exhibits. 

Our host family, The Vincents, have lived in Bendigo for about 5 years and are actively involved in creating connection through the arts and faith. They live common purse in a sort of Monastic community called Cornerstone. The community began 40 years ago and functions as a wonderful training ground for those interested in learning and participating in “Intentional Community.” You can learn more about Cornerstone here.

Cornerstone Community Bendigo VIC AUWe met the Vincent’s at Surrender Conference a few weeks prior. We were performing in the Salvos tent and out of the corner of my eye I saw a beautiful dark-haired woman waltz over. She stood on the edge of the tent for a bit, smiling at us and swaying to the music. Our eyes met and I knew we’d be friends. Later, I approached her and introduced myself and my family. We each shared a quick version of our story with the intention of connecting again. On the last night of the festival we caught up and she invited our family to her home in Bendigo.

We arrived to the Vincent’s darling Victorian home on the last leg of our trip. We were pretty weary by this point but excited to hear about this families commitment to community, faith and the arts. They welcomed us with one of the best hand made meals we’d had in three months.

Cornerstone Community Bendigo VIC AUDuring dinner a conversation about heritage ensued and we learned that Rose was half Mexican. We were so surprised to hear this as Australia is quite void of the Mexican culture. And, to tell you the truth, besides family, friends and our bus, it was the thing we missed most while overseas. Hearing her mother (Mexican) and fathers (Australian) love story was inspiring and although, they have lived in Australia for the last 40 years or so, we could still sense the cultural impact of her Mexican heritage.

The Old Church on the HIll Bendigo VIC AUOur day was filled with thrifting or going to Op Shops (opportunity shops) as they are called in Australia and in the evening we performed our final farewell show at The Old Church on the Hill. The former Uniting church was purchased and donated to Cornerstone Community and they use the building as a sort of community center. They host a Yarn club, and let me tell you, those folks know how to knit! In fact, they are currently in the process of creating a “Yarn Bomb” for a tram that runs through out the city. That’s a big endeavor! They also host Hip Hop dance classes, karate classes, and have a thrift store on site. They are in the process of putting together a community garden and are host to many events, including concerts.

The Old Church on The HIll Bendigo, VIC, AU After traveling over 3,000 km through out Victoria and New South Wales, performing in 35 venues over a three month period, this was the perfect last show for our family. What a joy to sing in this old historic building, that had been shown so much love by the community, to a handful of listening and attentive ears.

We invited the young Wilis, a fellow folkie muso, to delight us with a few of his beautiful  pieces. And, during our set he and his band mate, Marshall, joined us on the last song, Wayfaring Stranger.

A fitting chorus for our final song in Australia.

I’m going home to see my Saviour
I’m going home no more to roam
I’m just going over Jordan
I’m just going over home.

Until next time friends. We’ll be seeing you.

 

 

Yackandandah Folk Festival

Yachandandah Folk FestivalAustralians do folk festivals really well. They are organized but laid back, welcoming and most of all very festive! Except for a few large commercial events, the folk festivals are grass-roots, usually hosted by a town council or group of people and lots of volunteers in a town with a common desire to enrich culture and community in their rural area.

Yachandandah Folk FestivalIt was an honor to have played the Yackandandah Folk Festival and to be included in the unity that this vibrant and creative community works towards. We had three performances over the weekend, each in their unique space. It was a good learning experience for us all to take into considerations the mood, lighting and vibe of each space and offered the audience three similar but very different performances.

One of our favorite things about festivals is that they offer us a chance to connect with other muso’s out there touring like we do. And, at Yackandandah we finally got to meet our friends The April Maze after years and years of internet friendship. What a joy to hear their journey coming together as a couple and as musicians, and their performance was breathtaking.  We meet another US traveling family/band called the Alaskan String Band, and talked shop about buses, home school and serving. There was also a fantastic youth tent with bands from around the region, one of which our son admired called The Hounds Homebound from Yackandandah. And, our favorite new find was the Good Lovelies from Canada. Their harmonies were like silk, just beautiful and reminded us of The Andrews Sisters.

A highlight was connecting with our mates, The Beez (from Berlin), who we met at the Burke and Wills festival a few years back. Thanks to our gracious host family, Fiona and Ken Jones, we enjoyed an evening meal and “after party” of jamming and sharing road warrior stories.

The Beez (From Berlin)

Hope to see you next time around YACK!

 

4th of July Family Caravan

The Blumreich family, our first community caravaner’s, joined us over the 4th of July weekend.

blumreichbus.jpgWe picked up Eric, Jodie, Emma and Clara on a Thursday in front of their house and began our trek south towards the beautiful town of Galena, IL. Our first stop Beloit, WI for the Blumreich annual family gathering. We enjoyed a potluck style meal, played yard games, sang songs and enjoyed fireworks.

The next morning we packed up and drove about three hours before pulling into the Palace Campground, which sits just outside of Galena. We discovered this little gem last summer and knew the Blumreich’s would appreciate the vintage aspect of the facility, including an old school pool with diving board and mini-golf course. Everything about the campground reminds us of camping back in the 1970’s and in a world that is constantly upgrading there is something nostalgic about that. It would be the ideal setting for most of the Chevy Chase ‘Vacation’ movies.

PalaceCampground.jpgWhen we arrived at the campground and set up three tents, one for Jodie, Eric and Clara, one for Graciana and Emma and one for John and Les (Eric’s parents). Then we all settled in for a fantastic weekend.

We enjoyed swimming, mini-golf, a trip to the city center to see all of the historical artifacts and shops. We shared meals, bon fire’s and song. We observed each other families, with the most encouraging conversations revolving around the joys and woes of parenting teen’s and pre-teens.

It’s no easy task to be a parent to any age group and it’s affirming to share our journey with other parents in order that we might know that our struggles are perfectly normal, that we aren’t the only ones going through it, and that we are not alone. Likewise, it was good for our children, specially our 16 year old’s, who sometimes believes that the grass is greener on the other side. They were both able to work through drama, share dreams and desires, and hopefully gain perspective by being in such close quarters.

thehollandsgalena.jpgOur ultimate purpose for going to Galena was to perform for the Galena Performing Arts Festival, which rounded out the weekend nicely. The concert was held in the historic Grace Episcopal church and was a fantastic setting. Seating about 80, we packed the house to over 150.

We were a little leery about how our children would transition from enjoying the lazy weekend with friends to performing, but they did a fantastic job. Funny enough, that day, I had spent quite a bit of time myself in the pool and personally couldn’t hear much during our performance with all of the water in my ears. However, everyone else picked up the slack and this one will go down as one of our favorite settings and behind the scenes moments. Including, Eric’s helpful hand in set up/tear down, Emma’s thoughtful prayer for us before our show, a tender moment when Craig introduced Graciana as our “beautiful” daughter, Banjo’s fun antics on stage, and the Malik family driving in from Mt. Vernon, IA to see us and say hello.

On our drive home, I asked Eric for constructive feedback on what it was like to travel with our family. He responded, “your future guests will have to be pretty laid back.” Ha! I know we beat to a different drum and we are thankful that the Blumreich family took the plunge to be our first caravan guests. We are thankful for their willingness to swim upstream with us merrymaking nomads. We love you Eric, Jodie, Emma and Clara.

Door County Days

DoorCounty.jpgDoor County Wisconsin means lazy beach days in Egg Harbor, visits to the local library, the FARM, Door County Candy and Ice Cream Shop, Java on Jefferson, The Whitegull Inn and the Used Book Store. Besides all of the fun little small town things to do, Door County really is one of the most beautiful places on this planet, with cliff side beaches, winding roads and fantastic hikes up and down the peninsula.

BrummelCottage.jpgEvery summer we make our pilgrimage back to this area to enjoy the beach, friends and to perform. This year is no exception. We arrived Thursday evening for a weekend of welcome from family and friends. Our first stop was the Brummel Cottage, where we enjoyed the respite of the water at this uniquely designed home. We also had time to take in a concert at Woodwalk Gallery, where we saw our friends Buddy Mondlock, Katie Dahl and Jeanne Kuhns perform. Followed by a lovely evening of conversation over drinks.

We are looking forward to performing in the county over the next two weeks. For all our local Kinfolk you can The Hollands! at:

July 3 – 3-5PM Sister Bay Concert in the Park

July 8- 6-8PM Ephraim Concert in the Park

July 12- 5-7PM Bailey’s Harbor Concert in the Park

July 14 – The Gordon Lodge

Summer isn’t really summer until we’ve seen our Door County Days.

Beachwalkdoorcounty.jpg

Team Holland and Outback Consulting


It’s been a trying and testing 10 days. The emotional transition of Virtual School started one day after we returned from our 8 week tour. Our final days of working (9-5 job) were finishing up and we found out our health insurance failed and the research to take care of a skin cancer issue are back on the table. To top it all off, there is a bus sitting in our yard that needs immediate attention. Needless to say, we didn’t sleep much this week.

All hands on deck! With the help of our children and a friends we find ourselves in the final stages of demo.

It’s been a huge learning curve as we are really shooting in the dark, trying to learn as much as possible to meet our deadline of Oct. 12, 2011. From what we’ve read it will be nearly impossible, as most of the folks who we are gleaning wisdom from, say it will take 6 month minimum, up to 3 years to convert our bus. Oh well! We’re always up for a challenge and with the help and support of our FIRST SPONSOR and friend, Marc Brummel of Outback Consulting and Brummel Architectural Group, we now have a plan!

We’ve been stretched beyond recognition regarding our need to always be in control but that doesn’t mean there isn’t suppose to be a plan. And, sitting down with Marc was a breath of fresh air. Offering his mad skills and innovative talents, we were able to dream, weave & create a real live working model of our home. It is a true gift and we are so thankful to have this vision to share with you. Here you go… have a look at our new home. (of course we are open to the plan changing but this is a start) 

We’ve been asked what our needs are and up until now, we really didn’t know?Having a plan has helped us sort it all out. So, Here is a list of tangibles:

  • Helping hands: Help hanging sheet metal mid-week. Next week help from Welders, Electricians, Plumbers. Contact Craig if you have a bit of time/talent to offer. 920.883.6874
  • Meals– Any help with meals these next two weeks would be so appreciated.
  • Rental referrals- Our lower, 2 bedroom apt. is for rent starting anytime after Oct. 1. $750, includes ALL utilities, parking and a shared laundry, yard space. (no smoking, no pets)
  • Support- Our fundraiser is this weekend. Sept 17. 8-4pm is our donations sale. All of our belonging will be available, give what you can. 5-8pm; Potluck/Concert ($10 suggested donation) Our dear friends, The Unfortunate, from Chicago, will be joining in the fun. We will be set up to take credit card, cash or check. Also, our PAYPAL link has not been working but if you go to www.paypal.com and use janahollandmusic@yahoo.com to route the donation too it will make it our way just fine. Otherwise checks can be sent to: 732 S. Clay St. Green Bay, WI 54301
  • Here is a list of basic Systems we need to raise funds for (est): Heating System: $400, Electrical System: $2000, Plumbing System: $1200, RV Windows, $1000,
  • * These items are luxury items that would facilitate a more comfortable or economical ride: Generator: $7500, Air Units: $1500,  Veggie Oil System: $5000, Solar Panels: $1500
  •  Basic interior needs:  1/4 in plywood, 2×4’s, Flooring: tile, cork board, wood. RV toilet, Fridge, RV stove/oven.

Thanks for joining the team.