My Journal

Busy as a Bee!

WOW!  What a holiday season it was!   It shaped up to be a great one ! I played a variety of gigs including private parties, various open to the public parties and festivals. 


I love to get all 'blingified'and hear people laughing and having a
great time! I have met so many new people this year! I want to thank everyone who bought CDS from me and
supported me in my music career. Keep the gigs comin, and I'll keep
releasing albums! 

Time to get started on a new album which will be out later this year!

Gig next to Mountain Dew and the "Hidden Jewel"

I definitely jumped outside of my box playing my gig at Coborn’s Grocery Store for their Taste of the Holidays Celebration. Playing piano at a grocery store was definitely a first for me. I’ve never experienced playing next to the Mountain Dew display either. Since Dew is my favorite drink, it was pretty sweet! 

 

The place was jam packed with people who were shopping, eating food samples, and relaxing while I entertained them with holiday favorites from my new Christmas with Holly CD. My Christmas album was once again a hot seller!

 

The most interesting thing that went down was a couple from Madison, SD accidentally stumbled upon Coborn’s, because they had a flat tire. The woman bought all three of my albums and even knew my old fifth-grade teacher. What a great gig!

 

Then when I was done, we packed up and it was on to my next gig, which was at Kelly’s Koffee for the Comfort Keepers Open House. I definitely had my groove on, because this gig was also packed! People were chatting it up with their friends, enjoying appetizers, and of course, my music to smooth out the evening. People bought CDs to relish the memory of the night. I saw two of my teachers I had in elementary school, and a friend I’ve known since high school showed up to act as my personal assistant. Sweet!

 

My holiday season is really heating up! Having back to back gigs definitely tested my organizational skills, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute! 

Indoor Fun at Winter Fest

This weekend I played piano at The Winter Fest Event in Luverne, MN. I love the opportunity to meet new people and also to catch up with past acquaintances which included 2 of my Spanish teachers that I had in high school. Sweet!

 

Vendors sold a variety of stuff for the holidays ranging from things to decorate your home, toys, books, mittens, baked goods, and the list goes on. It was pretty sweet, because I was the only musician there. I promoted my new Christmas with Holly CD along with my other 2 albums. Overall, the day was very profitable. Count me in for next year! 

Sheriff keeps everyone in line

Kelly and I put together a night time gig to try something different. While we were setting up, the sheriff, Kelly’s husband, popped in to “keep everybody in line.” I said, “Yup, just pulled up in my tour bus.” When he looked out the window, he saw just a car. Well, close enough.  Maybe someday it will be a big bus. We definitely got a good laugh out of that one.

 

The gig was an intimate setting with both longtime fans and also newbies who enjoyed food, bling bling from The Clothier by Dawn, and of course great music. I was honored that a young boy who is taking piano lessons came to my gig and told me I was his inspiration. The audience asked me questions how each song was created from my three albums.

 

My swimming and Facebook buddies came to my gig, as did a high school friend, who was acting as my personal assistant. I would love to have one full time. Then the editor from the Pipestone Star newspaper stopped in and took pictures of me for the article on Kelly’s Koffee as a venue for aspiring musicians. All of this excitement made my gig fun! Kelly’s Koffee is a perfect venue for musicians to showcase their talent.  I can’t wait to come back and play! 

The Hidden Jewel

I played a gig at Kelly's Koffee on Sunday while people were enjoying their brunch and chatting it up with family and friends. I promoted my 3 albums, including my new release, Christmas with Holly. In between playing songs, we all cracked funny jokes and people bought my cd's. I had a blast overall! I want to thank all of my fans for coming out. You're the best! Kelly, the owner of the venue wants me to come back for another gig. This place is a hidden jewel with a unique vibe, a perfect spot to showcase my music. Sweet!

WILD WEEKEND!

            The weekend was truly wild! I had three piano gigs in two days. I knew this would test my organizational skills. I kicked off with Autumn Boutique in Slayton, MN. At this event, I performed from 12:30 until 2:30, and sold CDs.  I played songs from each of my 3 albums, including material from my NEW release, Christmas with Holly. 

 

We chilled at home for a couple hours, and then it was off to the Atlas Fundraiser. This was a gala event which included an art auction where pottery and paintings sold for thousands of dollars at a crack, all for a good cause. There were other musicians too.  A cellist and an opera singer performed the song "Habernaro" from the opera Carmen. Wow, What a voice. The acoustic guitar and pop singer duo sang a song called “Vincent” themed after the Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night painting, which was also the theme of the event. I played both as an entertainer and for music needed to chill while people were bidding on the art for the silent auction and finishing their fancy deserts. I played 2 songs from each album including my arrangements of I’ll Be Home for Christmas and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. The crowd told me they were impressed both with the sound of the music box intro of I’ll Be Home for Christmas and me playing Carol of the Bells and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen at the same time during the interludes.

  

After the fundraiser I went back home and got all cleaned up, went to bed for maybe 4 hours, then at 5 in the morning got back up and was on my way to a day at the Sioux Falls Sidewalk Art Festival. I played piano and sold CDs from 8 in the morning until 5 at night. And of course, Isaiah, the boy next door who sold jewelry was my booth neighbor for the third year in a row. I told him I wore the bracelet he gave me when I played at my previous gig, the fancy fundraiser I mentioned above.  He complimented me on how beautiful my music is, and how it helps his sales. And out of the blue, he gives me a necklace to match the bracelet. So to make a long story short, the boy next door really stepped it up. Sweet!

  

After the festival was over we went out to dinner at Huhot Mongolian Grill, one of my favorite restaurants.  Afterwards, I went home, took a shower, and fell into bed.  I was beat.  All three gigs were positive and rewarding, and this whirlwind of a weekend paid off in more ways than one.

Christmas in July? Since when?

It all started with yet another art festival, this one in my home town. The vibe was different from Buffalo Days two weeks before. Instead of being trapped in my tour bus, a.k.a. my dad's truck because of a full fledged rain storm, I was out in full force with gear and rowdies in tow playing original favorites and mingling with the crowd. We all enjoyed the bright sunshine. Many fans wanted to know when I was coming out with a Christmas album. Yes peeps, it is definitely in the works! I've started working on my holiday album. The sounds of Christmas are ringing through the house. I'm creating some very unique arrangements. Sweet!

Rain Rain Go Away, Come On Back Some Other Day

That's exactly what I was thinking when I did my gig at Buffalo Days Saturday, June 6th. People bought CDs in the rain. The real highlight was sitting in my "tour bus" A.K.A. Ford F 150 listening to rock music, drinking Mountain Dew, munching on cheese curds, kettle corn, and other junk food you just don't get any other time of year except at festivals. That was much more appealing than sitting out in the wetness looking and feeling like a drown rat, and smelling like a wet dog after coming in from the downpour. After this whole extravaganza, I conclude that life is good, even in a rainstorm. Ha Ha Ha!

St. Patty's Day Kicks off to a Fabulous Start; ends with a Big Bang!

This year, I had a blast on St. Patrick's Day! For the first time in my whole entire life, I was in the parade. Usually, it gets rained out, or not enough people show up. However, this year, we had good weather and a big crowd on our side. Because of these tough economic times, people are looking for less costly entertainment. Consequently, parades thrive. I rode in a collector's convertible with the Grand Marshal. There were balloons attached to the car, and I waved a green stuffed animal out the window as an added effect of excitement. Besides all of the loud horns from the fire truck and ambulance, candy being handed out and chit chatting, I heard some kid say, "I want that teddy bear." He was referring to the stuffed animal I was holding. Funny! All went off without a hitch UNTIL we were done with the parade and our ride was going to drop us off at the Calumet, where I had my gig. About a block from the Calumet, the convertible's engine died! What luck. So we all walked to the venue for some good irish music, traditional food and a wee bit of blarney. The gig was a spectacular event! Of course, I was wearing a shirt that said "I love Ireland." It had the Irish flag on it too. Also, I wore this necklace with an leprechaun on it, and a ponytail holder in my hair with shamrocks. Irish Bling Bling. I played a song called Mummer's Dance on my penny whistle, and then I made up some contemporary Irish pieces on the spot. For example "Green Beer and Lucky Charms" and "Fairy Dance." I wanted to make the night contemporary rather than a pity party with sad songs for fuddy duddies. The night ended with me having chicken strips and fries instead of corn beef and cabbage or sheperds' pie. Honestly, it was the best St. Patrick's Day I've ever had being irish only for a day!

First National Bank Open House, an afternoon with Holly

On Wednesday December 3rd, I played for a nice sized crowd at First National Bank. Audience members were treated to delicious peppermint ice cream with cookies and hot apple cider while they sat on comfortable chairs to take in my show. I played everything ranging from "Joy To The World" to fun stuff like "Santa Baby" and even the Charlie Brown Theme along with "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer". Because I played for 6 hours, I had to liven things up by playing medleys, putting a bunch of songs together in a random order. Some people find this strange, but I can talk to passersby while I play. There is one particular song where I have to totally concentrate on what I'm doing or I'll screw it up. And that is my "Carol Of The Bells/God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman". It's very difficult to play, because I am actually playing two songs at once, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" in my right hand and "Carol of the Bells" in my left hand with some extensive runs that can be tricky. All in all, the gig was a great success! People who I've talked to said they will remember it for a long time.

Back to Back Art Festivals a great time

My gig at the Sioux Falls Sidewalk Art Festival was totally awesome! My parents and I were in Sioux Falls by 7 in the morning ready to unload and set up my booth. After my dad set up the canopy, card table, a couple of chairs, a bench, and my keyboard, amplifier, and of course stuff needed to sell CDs, he said using the nickname he's called me since I was a kid, "Swish, my job is done, and your's is just beginning." I liked the idea of playing piano for the passers by. I sold CDs from 8 in the morning until 5 o'clock that evening. It was really cool to hear people's stories for why they wanted my albums. One lady said she was going to have her daughter who is a figure skater pick out one of my songs for her routine. Another guy who told his wife, "If you see Holly at the festival, get her new CD for me, because "Holly from the Heart" is my favorite CD in my collection." And this kills me; two ladies said they were going to play my CDs in their "garage cabana." The sun was shining most of the day. Then about 2 o'clock that afternoon it started raining. I thought I had pretty much lost my chances to sell Cds. But there were die hard festival fans, who loved the rain. It turned out; I sold 11 CDs in the rain! What a shock! I gotta talk about the boy next door. Just like last year, my neighbor was a vendor named Isaiah who was selling magnetic jewelry. While it was raining we all had some down time. He came to my booth and bought my CD after he'd been listening to my music all day. Isaiah gave me a 5 dollar tip and the most beautiful bracelet he had made. All I can say is- he's a pretty sweet boy next door! You can see us in the PHOTO GALLERY section of my website. We all said goodbye and then we went to Szechwan's my favorite Chinese place for a nice relaxing dinner. Robert, the guy who owns the place has known me since I was a kid. Both postcards I sent him for my CD Release Concerts are hanging up on his bulletin board in his restaurant. I thought that was really cool! After all the good things that happened throughout the day plus dining on Crab Rangoon and shrimp Chow Mein, I thought, "WOW, this event was a smashing success, and I hope to be back next year." Please check the PHOTO page for the Slayton Autumn Boutique put on by Slayton Women of Today. Lot's of cool stuff to buy and the grounds was decorated in a harvest motif.

The Sweet Escape Concert

My CD Release Concert was a smashing success! It was almost a full house with two tour buses in attendance! I was so excited when the doors opened to the Arts Center and I could hear the bus motors running. Someone yelled out, "Here they come!" The people just poured out of the buses into the performing Arts Center, which made the place totally packed. Concert goers were in for a real treat. Everyone loves to see the hands play the songs so my technical crew projected my hands LIVE on the back drop. This allowed everyone to have a great seat. The main focus was the songs from my Sweet Escape album with some pieces thrown in from my debut album, Holly from the Heart. The crowd went absolutely wild, and it gave me a big adrenaline rush. I was totally pumped up for this gig! At the end I played my last song called Goodbye. They gave me a standing ovation. Sweet! After the show, people joined me in the lobby for Dove chocolates, punch, and CD signing. I hope you all enjoyed chillin with me for my Sweet Escape. Now it is trip time with a friend to Oregon. Thank you all for the memories. It was truly sweet!

Unique and Original!

This describes what the attendees at the 2007 Sioux Falls Sidewalk Arts Festival were looking for. On Saturday September 8th, I set up a booth, played piano, and mingled with the crowd. My debut album started selling by 8 in the morning, and my sales didn't stop until after 5 o'clock that evening while we were taking down the booth. It was just hopping! I signed autographs on many of them. I barely had time for a quick corn dog lunch! But I'm not complaining. As festival goers walked around, enjoying the 230 exhibits, my original piano music was heard drifting in the wind down the block. The vendor next to me was selling jewelry, and he claims that my piano music definitely increased his sales. There was also a master jump rope champion who really wowed the crowd along with a booth selling marionettes. My mother bought me one as a gift. It's a tiger named Harry who is orange and black and moves by the use of strings. All in all, I had a very exciting day. When I got home, I was tired and my hands ached from playing piano for 8 hours off and on. I took some aspirin and put ice on them. I was as good as new the next day. What a great way to end the summer. For now I must turn my attention to college and hit the books.

Bold Women Event was Awesome!

The Bold Women event kicked off to a fabulous start! I gave a speech with real examples of my struggles in life. I stressed the importance of defining your goals and following your dreams. Search out and surround yourself with people that can help you achieve what you believe in. BE BOLD! Then came special music. I played pieces from my current album and previewed some new material from my up and coming one. Since some of my songs do not have names, I asked the audience for their help. There are a couple of titles I may use. Thank-you. During my second set, I just played music from a variety of artists. I definitely took requests. Then we had lunch and refreshments. For dessert each table had two double decker cakes, which were really yummy! Overall, the Elk Point Gig was fantastic, and I will remember the occasion for a long time.

Smashing Success Wedding on the Hottest Day of the Year!

Though it was the hottest day of the year, Jeff and Melissa's wedding was a smashing success. The bride and groom wanted their music unique and special. So I was free to be creative and express myself as a pianist. In their brochure, I was given credit for composing and arranging all of their wedding music. Thank you! One particular piece was written for the six bridesmaids and the flower girl to walk down the aisle. It is called SUMMER BREEZE. The song has a little bounce to symbolize the happy occasion and also to symbolize youthfulness. The piano sounded awesome! It was a refurbished Steinway Overstrung grand piano. It was given to the church with a cracked sound board. I heard it looked pretty beat up. So the piano was sent in to be repaired. A new sound board was put in and it was refinished. The end bill cost the church a hefty 18 thousand dollars to repair it. It is a high quality piano that any pianist would kill to play on. After the wedding, it was off to the reception at the Country Club. Making use of my keyboard, I played familiar favorites along with my original songs. I even previewed for those in attendance some of my new creations for my next album. I played during their cocktail and dinner hour and sold some CDs. Even though it was 97 degrees outside, there was LOVE inside.

A Grand Old Flag Day!

Flag Day kicked off to an awesome start! My first gig was at the Pipestone Public Library. There were at least 60 kids and their parents who attended my FLAG DAY EXTRAVAGANZA. Attendees were treated to some patriotic music performed on my penny whistle and harmonica. Numbers included The Star Spangled Banner followed by America the Beautiful. Next I read a book called Duck for President by Doreen Cronin. How fitting and very funny! Finally, the patriotic theme continued on through an activity called "Crack the Code". This involved keen detective work! The kids received a strip of paper with 3 or 4 patriotic words in Braille. They had to figure out from a card of Braille alphabet letters what was written. And last but not least, there was time for questions. Later that evening, Diane, the guest violinist on my album collaborated with me to do another gig. This was at the Sunrise Village in Jasper, Minnesota. We played for an hour performing songs the residents know and love, but also our two songs that I composed called Night Flight and Shades of Love. This was followed by fellowship, root beer floats, and CD signing. In a nutshell, it was a Grand Old Flag Day.

Dolphins and Piano in Hawaii!

They actually do go together. I had the experience of a lifetime with the hands on dolphin encounter from Dolphin Quest at the Kahala Hotel and Resort on the island of Oahu. A grand piano was located in the lobby. I was asked to play one of my originals. I couldn't pass that up. I played Dancing in the Moonlight which is a favorite download on i-tunes. This is a great song for romance in the tropics. The beautiful sunsets and gentle breezes swaying the palm trees.

Main Street Jamboree-Where's Holly?

Yes it's true, I just about missed my second act! I'll start from the beginning. I was mingling with some of the other musicians playing in the show, getting to know them. We all had specific times to perform. With a live radio show, every minute is accounted for. I kicked off the show with a song called Dancing in the Moonlight, a pick from my current album Holly from the Heart. When it came time for intermission; a time for commercials, I went out in the lobby to sign CDs and to talk with fans. I was so preoccupied that I almost missed the second half of my gig! My mom and I heard clapping, and we were like, "Oh my god, Holly's on! She jerked my arm and we ran down this long hall that lead to the stage. I could hear him say," Where's Holly she's not at her piano?" We finally pushed many layers of stage curtain aside. I was so embarrassed. When I sat down, the host Mylan Ray playfully said, "Holly, where were you? Outside havin a smoke?" I just laughed and said, "No I was yackin with some fans and signing CDs." The crowd busted out laughing. So I thought that was definitely a funny moment worth mentioning. After all that, the next song I played was On Alki Beach, also a piece from my debut album. I told how that song was born from a trip to Seattle Washington when I visited Alki Beach. I just recently wrote my dramatic finale called The Coming of a Storm. It will be on my next album that I will put out sometime next year. Almost missing the second half of my gig is definitely something I will remember until the day I die.

Performance at the Art Center August 26, 2006

To All My Fans, My CD Release Party at the Pipestone Performing Arts has created quite the buzz around town! Those who attended were definitely in for a real treat. I started out the evening with CD signing and mingling with the crowd before the show. Then everyone gathered into the theater to hear me perform the first half of the songs on Holly from the Heart. One song from each set featured guest violinist Diane Peterson. It was Night Flight on the first, and Shades of Love for the second half. Diane really added to the loveliness of the show. My Grand Finale was a dramatical number called The Coming of a Storm. A preview from my up and coming album I am working on. I could feel the energy from the audience. They really loved it. Dan, my friend and MC told a funny story about me at the beginning of each performance. One story was about me playing tee ball and the other was of me driving his red mustang in a field. Now that was fun! There was also a funny moment on stage. After I performed My Paradise on my last set, I meant to say "Now everyone can meet me out in the lobby for CD signing, heart shaped cookies and mints." But what actually came out instead of lobby was "library". I understand why I did that though. It was because of my tour in the month of July-Catch the Beat at the Library and it probably hadn't gotten out of my head yet. Two songs showed my hands projected on the back drop so the audience could watch me work my magic. For the Finale my banner with my name across it appeared onto the backdrop as an element of surprise. Ninety tea lights were lit on a rod iron screen setting behind the piano. It gave the WOW factor. The lighting crew Debbie Bullis and Peg Lange chose a color to reflect the mood for each song. There was aqua blue, green, yellow and red flooding the back drop. Rose petals were scattered on the stage floor around the 7' Conservatory Yamaha Grand Piano. Stunning! Overall, the crowd was very lively throughout both shows. A bunch of people not only clapped, but I heard some people cheering and even whistling at me. It was exhilarating and definitely pumped me up! In closing, I want to thank all of my fans who came out and supported me. You're awesome! If you didn't know already; I like that word a lot. This CD Release Party is something I will definitely remember for the rest of my life. Your friend, Holly

Pool Party Happenings!

The CD Release Pool Party was a smashing success! It was 85 degrees and mostly sunny. Luckily the weather man was wrong. It didn't rain until the next day. The air was filled with the smell of grilled meat on a stick. We "smoked" 2 blenders and used 200 pounds of ice serving up delicious tropical drinks (Dreamsicles) for all. That can happen when you have over 100 people attending. I signed alot of autographs too. The kids swam in the pool while the adults were chillin out with me. Check out the tropical flower in my hair that my Aunt Mary bought me. Beautiful. I played songs from my album as well as requests for famous cover songs. It was hard to stump me since I know over 1000 songs. I played everything from Rock, Jazz, Pop, Oldies, Country,and even Reggae. Those who attended definitely got in on a special treat. My "Roadie" took lots of pictures and they are posted on my website for my fans to view. I want to thank all of you who came out and supported me as a new artist. My party at the "Jurrens Resort" was really a blast, and I will remember it for years to come.

Rest and Leisure

I am taking a little time off before the next round of piano engagements kick into gear. Long awaited sleeping in and going lap swimming. Also I'm taking in the local Crazy Days. Next week I'm seeing Heart in concert at the Sioux Empire Fair. I will hate to see summer end.

Spin Off

Dear fans, I have some exciting news! After my show in Marshall MN, I was offered and I accepted a job at Southwest Minnesota State University. I will be conducting three workshops on the art of composing music October 17 for The Young Artist Conference. 700 kids, grades K-8 attended last year.The title of my program is Feel The Beat By Holly featuring The Art of Composing, Instrument Demonstrations of pennywhistle and harmonica, and Audience Participation with various instruments. One job spins off another!

Thoughts from the Tour

I'm halfway through my Catch The Beat tour! I want to thank everybody for being so supportive of me as a new artist. Everyone seems to love my instrument demonstrations. Hearing a harmonica and a penny whistle is something that most people don't get to hear every day. Also, people have enjoyed my explanation of Braille books. For example the half inch print version of a magazine and the 6 volumnes of braille more than a foot high that I must read, plus books on tape, and other library resources available to the blind. My tour has gone very well so far, and in my opinion I have established a great fan base. I hope to tour to many more exciting places in my lifetime and perform for fans in many different venues for years to come.

Pick a Song

Dear Fans, From the 14 songs on my new album, I need to pick one track to submit for radio play. Will you listen and pick your favorite? Let me know by writing your comments in the Guestbook or drop me a line at holly@hollysmusic.com in the Contact link. I can't wait! Holly

Last Minute Trouble

I found out my sustain pedal has an electrical short in the cord. I had to quickly order a new one and have it shipped to my house so it would be here in time for my library tour in July. That really scared me.

Catchy Sayings

At the Recording Studio in Golden Valley, there was a plaque on the wall that read. "There are three types of people, those who MAKE things happen, those who WATCH things happen, and those who WONDER WHAT happened!" Which one are you? Another read In God We Trust. All others pay cash!

My New Stress Reliever

When I was reading the pamplet from the company that did my graphic art for the CD jacket and the manufacturing, there was a slogan that I loved. It said, "I'm the musician, just make me look good!" I'm sure I'll be saying that in the future.

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